- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—A fire at the Pasadena Courthouse sparked by oil-soaked rags forced officials to close parts of the courthouse through Tuesday and send some cases to Boyle Heights and downtown Los Angeles, authorities said.

Firefighters responded about 1:30 a.m. Monday to a fire alarm on the third floor of the Los Angeles County courthouse on Walnut Avenue, said Lisa Derderian, a Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman.

When firefighters arrived, they battled flames and discovered containers of hazardous materials, including wood varnish, nearby, she said. The fire was extinguished within minutes. Soon after, firefighters from Burbank and Glendale’s hazardous materials team were called to the scene to investigate.

Officials later said the fire started when oil-soaked rags spontaneously ignited. Similar fires have recently occurred at area businesses and homes, according to the fire department.

A firefighter was treated at the scene when he became sick after inhaling chemicals, Derderian said.

Investigators canvassed the burn area Monday while parts of the courthouse, which serves several hundred people each day, were shut down.

Criminal matters with defendants already in custody were transferred to the 11th floor of the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center downtown, according to a court spokeswoman.

Juvenile cases with minors already in detention facilities were sent to the Eastlake Juvenile Courthouse in Boyle Heights, court officials said.

Civil, family law and criminal cases in which the suspect is not in custody were held in the Pasadena Courthouse’s west wing, officials said.

The modified case assignments will remain in effect through Tuesday, court officials said.

The clerk’s office is expected to remain open, and traffic cases are also expected to be heard as scheduled, officials said.

Times staff writer Matt Hamilton contributed to this report.


10:02 p.m.: This article is updated with new information about the fire.

This article was first published at 6:36 a.m.


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