Firestorm: Southland – West Hollywood, Universal City Walk, Pasadena and USC in Flames. Witnesses: “Explosions.”

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Fire departments across the county received several 911 calls that structures throughout four Southland neighborhoods were on fire. The cause and death toll are currently unknown.

LA County Fire Chief Darrin Rossby said the fires, as of noon, were still not contained.

“This will be the costliest disaster in Southern California History since the 1933 earthquake in Long Beach. We expect to lose more than 200 structures, including homes, businesses, warehouses, schools,” Rossby said at a Noon press conference today.

“We are coordinating with local fire departments and hope to have each fire contained by tomorrow morning,” Rossby continued.

When asked the cause of so many fires, Rossby said, “Right now, speculation is unhelpful. We’re concentrating on containing the fires and preserving life. Fire Marshals from around the county will figure out who started it, if it was indeed man-made. But we’ll be looking at all possibilities. But, yes, arson investigators are already on-scene.”

Abigale Swanson, a long-time West Hollywood resident, was awakened at around 5:30 this morning.

“I heard a loud boom. It woke me up. [It] shook my windows. Then I heard men shouting and firecrackers. Maybe guns,” Swanson said.

“I called 911, but I was put on hold! When I finally talked to someone, she said they’d got many calls all around. That’s when I noticed the flames from next door. It’s a abandoned house. A real eyesore. Mable told me the bank owned it. Something about back taxes,” Swanson said.

Chief Rossby estimates that another 100 to 200 structures will be lost before the fires are contained.

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