More than 300 firefighters in Los Angeles have been battling a large blaze on the sixth floor of a high-rise residential building – as at least one person was seen clinging to the side of the block.
There were reports some people had been forced to jump from windows and balconies to escape the flames and thick black smoke in the 25-storey structure.
However, authorities later clarified that two people had contemplated leaping before being rescued by fire officials.
Images and footage from the scene showed a man holding on to the side of the building and a large inflatable crash mat on the ground.
Eight people were hurt in the blaze, including an eight-month-old baby. Most of the injuries were related to smoke inhalation and one person was critically ill.
Several people were rescued from the building’s roof by firefighters in helicopters that hovered above in windy conditions.
They were then hoisted to safety as were at least two dogs.
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Emergency services received reports of the fire shortly after 8.30am at Barrington Plaza in the 11700 block of Wilshire Boulevard in the Sawtelle neighbourhood.
“We have rarely done rooftop evacuations,” said fire chief Ralph Terrazas.
“It’s a valuable resource for our helicopters. They worked effectively. Very successful.”
Witness Ken Sax was quoted by NBC News as saying: “I saw helicopters trying to save some lives on the rooftop. It was a pretty wild, chaotic environment.
“There were people on the balconies, people on the top of the roof, there was fire burning from one side of the building.”
An earlier tweet from the Californian city’s fire department said: “PRELIM: 25 story residential high-rise with well-developed fire on the 6th floor. Persons (number undetermined) have reportedly jumped from that or nearby floors.”