Los Angeles: A 19-year-old French citizen died on Friday after being gravely injured in a fire that broke out in a high-rise apartment building in Los Angeles, California, this week, authorities said. While the coroner's office identified him as Jeremy Bru of France, no other details or the exact cause of death were determined.
Bru was a foreign exchange student, KCBS-TV reported. He was among the 11 people who were being treated after the fire -- that took place on January 29 at a multi-story building on Wilshire Boulevard -- mostly for smoke inhalation. Seven of them, including a 3-month-old child and a man in critical condition, were sent to hospitals.
Two firefighters also received minor burns as they scrambled to reach the apartment where the blaze began, said fire Captain Erik Scott.
In some dramatic rescues, helicopter crews plucked 15 people from the roof and a ladder was used to save a man who clung to the outside of the building as flames raged in nearby apartments. The fire displaced 339 residents, and some wondered why the management company did not install sprinklers after another destructive blaze seven years ago.
"After the 2013 fire it shouldn't take another tragedy to get sprinklers into older buildings that are exempt from retrofitting rules," said City Councilman Mike Bonin on Thursday. "But it did," he added.
Bonin introduced a council motion on Friday to seek an ordinance that would require sprinklers in residential buildings built more than 50 years ago. It is an issue that officials in other US cities have grappled with in recent years.
Honolulu passed regulations requiring stricter safety rules for buildings with 10 floors or more after a fire raged through a 35-story condominium in 2017, killing four people. It was built in 1971, before the city required condos to have a sprinkler system.
The Los Angeles City Council has considered expanding the sprinkler requirement for years, but they petered out in committee, Bonin said. Previously, the effort faced objections from building owners who said the fixes would be too expensive and would drive up rents.
This time, council members are committed to getting the law passed, and they have the backing of building owners and tenants' groups, Bonin said. He said officials hope to find federal grants to cover the installation costs, but if not, he wants to see management companies pick up the tab.