A suspicious early-morning fire Wednesday consumed a two-story building under construction and damaged a nearby office building, causing a total of about $800,000 in damage, authorities said.
No one was injured in the 3:45 a.m. blaze, which reduced to steel and ashes the unfinished office building in the 400 block of West Garvey Avenue, Fire Chief Allen McComb said. Traces of a flammable liquid were found at the site, officials said Wednesday afternoon.
About 20 guests at a nearby motel were evacuated for about two hours while firefighters from Monterey Park, Alhambra and Los Angeles County battled the blaze.
Electricity was out briefly in a small area near the fire.
McComb said a police officer on patrol passed by the site about 3:30 a.m. and noticed nothing unusual. Shortly afterward, the building was fully engulfed in flames. "A fire (started by accident) doesn't gain headway that rapidly," McComb said. Arson investigators were at the scene Wednesday.
The fire spread to the wood-shingle roof and siding of an adjacent office building, damaging some computers inside. Both buildings are owned by Kam Sang Co. Inc.
The intense heat from the blaze melted gas station signs across the street and blistered paint and blew out the windows of cars parked nearby, McComb said.
It was the second fire in one week at the site, McComb said.
On May 1, a worker, Juesto Caudillo, sustained first- and second-degree burns to his face after lighting a match in the underground parking structure of the new building. Caudillo struck the match to illuminate a concrete drainage system and a flammable substance--probably gasoline leaking from automobiles--flashed and caught fire, McComb said.