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Major LA fires hit rush-hour

Two raging fires in Los Angeles destroyed a massive residential complex under construction, heavily damaged a building undergoing renovations and snarled up rush-hour traffic while raining ash over a large area.

More than 250 firefighters fought a city centre blaze that was sparked at a large construction site at around 1.20am local time, Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas said.

Flames visible for miles consumed the seven-storey wood-framed structure and damaged two adjacent high-rises before being brought under control within 90 minutes.

"The radiant heat was strong enough to burst windows in one building next door," Battalion Chief Joseph Castro said.

Three floors of that adjacent building were damaged by fire and several other floors sustained water damage. The building, which houses city offices, was closed for the day.

Embers spewed from the fire landed across a freeway, igniting brush and charring a traffic sign.

Portions of US Route 101 and Interstate 110 were shut down for a time over fears that debris might fall into lanes. The northbound 110 remained closed after sunrise, as commuter traffic backed up for miles.

No injuries were reported at the burned structure, which was planned to be a residential building. The site was still smouldering by mid-morning and the city centre was littered with ash.

Shortly after 4am local time, another large fire was reported at a mixed-use building about two miles to the west.

More than 100 firefighters from multiple agencies responded and had the flames under control in less than two hours, according to Chief Deputy Mario D Rueda.

There were no indications the two incidents were connected, Mr Terrazas said.

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