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Firefighter Hurt Battling Chatsworth Commercial Blaze

Daily News

May 26, 2011

A firefighter was injured early Tuesday battling an intense blaze that destroyed most of an import business housed in a commercial building in Chatsworth, officials said.

Firefighters responded to an alarm at 12:15 a.m. and arrived to find flames shooting through the roof of Bey-Berk International in the 9600 block of Cozycroft Avenue. By the time co-owner Kurken Berksanlar arrived about a half-hour later, nearly 120 firefighters were at the scene.

“I couldn’t believe it. It was a very, very intense fire,” Berksanlar said later Tuesday, as he surveyed the charred rubble of his business. “I’m in a daze right now.”

An unidentified firefighter suffered “potentially debilitating” second-degree burns to his chest and hands, officials said. He was treated at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital and released.

Berksanlar and his partner, Serop Beylerian, huddled with insurance adjusters and other officials Tuesday morning as firefighters bulldozed the rubble from the warehouse.

The two have run the business for 31 years and plan to keep it going.

“Our intention is to rebuild the business,” Berksanlar said. “We’re going to try to recover as much as possible. I’m down … but we started with nothing so we can start with nothing again.”

The company imports items like clocks, housewares, weather stations and picture frames that are sold to upscale retailers.

The fire destroyed the roof and interior of two units of the 30-by-160-square-foot industrial building.

“We tried to save as much of the business as we could,” said LAFD Battalion Chief Robert Willcox. “We were able to get some computers (out) last night.” — Click here to see more photos.

Arson investigator Joe Sanchez said the blaze likely started in the northeast section of the warehouse in a work area.

“It’s probably going to be an undetermined cause at the end of the day,” he said.

Two adjacent businesses — Le Gymnastics Club and A&S Finishing — sustained water and smoke damage.

A&S owner Scott Horton said he learned of the fire while watching the morning news on television. He arrived to find that his work area was pretty much untouched, save for the lingering smell of smoke.

“We were really lucky and we’re happy about that,” he said.

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