• AFP-JIJI

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A fire suspected to have been started deliberately Wednesday in a high-rise residential block in Los Angeles injured eight people, including a baby, and prompted a massive response by firefighters.

Earlier reports had said several people had jumped from the 25-story Barrington Plaza in the west of the city but authorities later clarified that was not the case.

“No one jumped, there are no fatalities,” deputy fire chief Armando Hogan told reporters. “Two people contemplated jumping but we told them to stay where they were.”

Los Angeles Fire Department said the blaze was “suspicious” and one person had been taken into custody as arson investigators were called in.

Hogan said eight people were injured, including a three-month-old, mostly from smoke inhalation. Six people were taken to hospital, including one person who was in grave condition.

“The herculean effort by the members of the Los Angeles Department was incredible,” he added, noting that 355 firefighters had responded along with four helicopters.

Officials said the wind-driven blaze broke out shortly after 8:30 a.m. (1630 GMT) on the sixth floor of the building.

Television footage showed flames and smoke billowing from one floor and a helicopter hoisting some of the residents from the rooftop to safety.

One man clinging from a window was rescued by firefighters on a ladder.

Hogan said the fire was knocked down shortly before 10:00 a.m. and crews were searching each floor for possible victims.

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