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East Los Angeles housing construction site ravaged by fire

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A five-story apartment complex that was to provide housing for low-income veterans was ravaged by fire early Wednesday, just months before it was scheduled to open.

Some 150 Los Angeles County firefighters were dispatched to the blaze before dawn. The first to arrive around 1 a.m. found it fully engulfed in flames, according to Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman Sean Ferguson.

The cause was not immediately known, but Ferguson said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies have detained a male juvenile for questioning.

Nobody was injured. However, residents of a nearby apartment building had to be evacuated and a 1920s-era theater that now houses a Dollar Store was badly damaged, Ferguson said.

At one point, the burning building’s scaffolding collapsed, and Ferguson said that made extinguishing the fire difficult. Firefighters were still dousing hot spots more than eight hours after it erupted.

“This is a stubborn fire due to the barrier that the scaffolding presents to us,” he said.

The building was planned as a 61-unit apartment complex mainly for low-income veterans and was scheduled to open later this year, Ferguson said. Construction on it began more than a year ago.

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