A multiple-alarm fire broke out at the Redondo Pacific apartments in South Redondo Beach on Saturday morning, causing heavy damage to the five-unit building.
The fire, which started shortly after 11 a.m., moved through the second floor of the unit and also spread into the attic of the apartment complex located at 710 N. Prospect Ave., authorities said.
"We had to pull the ceiling down in the other units to put hoses up to fight the fire," said Division Chief Steve Hyink. Firefighters also used chainsaws to cut holes in the roof while they battled the blaze.
Units from the Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Torrance, Manhattan Beach and Los Angeles County fire departments responded to the scene, and the fire was put out at about noon, according to Hyink.
Hyink said wind gusts slowed efforts to put out the fire.
"We would put it out over here, and it would pop up over there," Hyink said. "We chased it around for awhile. It's hard to tell where it's burning" until the smoke has dissipated.
None of the residents was injured. A firefighter was treated at the scene for minor injuries stemming from an electrical shock, Hyink said.
Three cats reportedly were left behind in the building. Firefighters found the bodies of two cats in one of the apartments, Hyink said.
The source of the fire is still under investigation, and the extent of the damage has not yet been determined. Hyink said the fire "appears to be accidental."
Family members of the residents in the unit where the fire started said it looked like the blaze began on the electric stove, which they said was "really old."
Southern California Edison cut the power to the building, and other utilities were also turned off, Hyink said. Because of this and the damage to the units, the building "will be uninhabitable for the next several days at least," Hyink said.
The displaced residents of the five units met with the Red Cross and were allowed back into their units to retrieve items before they left. Afterward, the building's locks were changed and portions were boarded up to keep people out.