A musician was killed when a stubborn fire broke out Thursday night at a Hollywood recording studio, inside a building that also contained a marijuana grow op.
The fire was reported at 5:42 p.m. at the two-story apartment building on the 6600 block of West Lexington Avenue in Hollywood.
While searching the building, Los Angeles Fire Department crews found a dead man inside. He was identified on Friday as 26-year-old musician Nathan Avery Edwards, who went by the name Avery Drift.
“I would have risked my life to save his too,” Edwards’ friend Jonathan Wellman said. “Inspiring, motivating, he was young, promising [and] He was a good friend.”
Two other people were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, but were not hospitalized.
“I went home to walk my dog, and I came back, and…sorry,” said Justin Barnett, an emotional DJ and producer, whose music studio was one of many destroyed in the blaze. .
Media personality Sharon Osbourne, wife of Ozzy Osbourne, posted on Instagram that her daughter, Aimee Osbourne, was working with a producer in one of the recording rooms when the fire broke out, but the two got away escaped.
“It is truly heartbreaking that someone lost their life today in this fire and we send our prayers to this person and their family,” Osbourne wrote.
The compartmentalized layout of the recording studio—composed of several small recording rooms with thick soundproofing material in the walls—made gunfights difficult for the crews.
“The studios were soundproof, so it’s thick walls, extra insulation, double dry wall and thick windows that trap all the heat and smoke, making it a very hot firefight. and intense,” LAFD captain Erik Scott said. “Our firefighters were beaten, but they were relentless and put out the flames.”
The fire was brought under control in 51 minutes, according to firefighters.
“The scary thing is that it could have happened to any of us,” Barnett said. “Especially producers and engineers. We put so many hours into it. It’s very common to take a nap between sessions.”
Although the cause remains unclear, after extinguishing the fire, firefighters discovered a suspected marijuana grow on the second floor of the building, firefighters said.
LAFD is investigating whether growing marijuana was legal and whether it caused the fire.
The fire department confirmed that the century-old building had no sprinklers. Some smoke alarms were found, but it is not clear that they worked.
Barnett said he just moved into his studio a few weeks ago. He admits that he did not closely analyze the building’s security records.
“You kind of do visual checks. I almost never think I walk by and say, ‘Is this sprinkler working? Is this a fire? I did not do it. I will for sure now,” Barnett said.
James Davis, who was in the building with Wellman and Edwards, said he rushed to grab their electrical equipment shortly after spotting smoke.
“I tied my shirt over my face, I had too much inspiration and I took 10 more steps and the guy running right there said to me, ‘Come on, it’s over. Let’s get out of here,” Davis said.