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People Remain Trapped in Palomar Hotel Fire

Aired August 16, 2001 - 07:53   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Live to Hollywood, California, where a rescue operation is under way in a Hollywood apartment building. We were just watching as firefighters entered the building there. It - they are looking for people who are still missing. Firefighters do believe that people are still trapped inside the Palomar Hotel at Santa Monica and Western. So far, one woman has been confirmed dead. She jumped to her death as she panicked while firefighters were trying to raise a 35-foot ladder to rescue her.

Eyewitnesses say that there was an explosion at about 3:41 a.m. Pacific time and that shortly thereafter, flames raced through the building. It prevented them from going down the stairs. They had to escape from an exterior ladder. One firefighter - at least - actually a couple of firefighters, at least, have been injured. They fell through a stairwell that was on fire.

But once again, as you look at these pictures right now live in Hollywood, there are people, firefighters believe, still trapped inside. An eyewitness giving an interview to our affiliate KABC, he said that as he was scrambling down the stairs, they did manage to spot a family to try to - try to help them and they said -- he said that he saw a dead child in the apartment building.

The fire department is saying that this fire is suspicious. A very sudden explosion and fire which engulfed a three to four story apartment building. Another eyewitness said that there are three floors in that building and 12 to 16 apartments on each floor. So many people still unaccounted for.

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