LOS ANGELES - Investigators combed through the debris of an East Los Angeles auto shop searching for clues to the cause of a fire that left two people dead and two with critical burns, fire officials said.
Firefighters dispatched shortly after 6:30 a.m. Monday found flames and smoke pouring from the industrial building, fire spokesman Devin Gales said.
Firefighters were not immediately summoned to fight the blaze by people at the site, fire Capt. Jaime Moore said.
"When this fire initially broke out, they tried to extinguish the fire using a garden hose and they delayed the 911 response because of their activities," Moore said.
He did not say who made that decision.
Firefighters had to stay outside the building and surround it to prevent the blaze from spreading, Gales said. It took 124 firefighters more than an hour to douse the blaze.
The cause was under investigation.
Two bodies were found inside the building. Two other men were in critical condition.
A 61-year-old man who may have been sleeping in the building had first- and second-degree burns over 40 percent of his body, Gales said. A second man had burns on about 20 percent of his body.
The blaze left scorched vehicles and singed metal sidings. Signage on the building read Gamez Auto Center and offered tires, radiators, mufflers, glass and other auto repair.