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Arson Investigator: 'We May Have an Idea' What Caused Barrington Plaza High-Rise Fire

Residents have reportedly complained about electrical problems in the 240-unit building, which was built in 1961 and was not equipped with a sprinkler system, a fire department official says.

By City News Service

The primary local investigator of the Oct. 18 Barrington Plaza fire that critically injured two people, including a young girl, said Wednesday he is hoping to announce the cause next week.

The blaze in the landmark 25-story building at Wilshire Boulevard and Barrington Avenue near Brentwood occurred on the 11th floor, and temporarily resulted in the evacuation of more than 50 units.

Mario Newte, of the Los Angeles Fire Department's arson unit, said he is waiting for word from forensic investigators at the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

"The cause is undetermined," he said, "although we may have an idea."

He said at this point he is not going to reveal what that "idea" may be -- not until the federal investigators weigh in with their results.

Earlier, Newte had ruled out arson as the cause of the fire at Barrington Plaza, 11740 Wilshire Blvd. It broke out about 11:45 a.m. that Friday, causing millions of dollars damage and temporarily displacing 100-150 residents.

Residents have reportedly complained about electrical problems in the 240-unit building, which was built in 1961 and was not equipped with a sprinkler system, a fire department official said.

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