160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card “The ironic thing is that we’re expecting to get our final permits today,” Brown said. Firefighters believe transients have been using the vacant building for shelter during cold nights. At least two others were likely in the building when the fire started just after 7 a.m., Markota said, but they scattered before firefighters arrived. More than 90 firefighters fought the blaze, extinguishing the flames in about 30 minutes, Fire Department spokesman Ron Myers said. A preliminary investigation shows that the fire likely started with a candle, which could have been knocked over by a person or the wind, Markota said. “This time of year, we have a lot of candle fires,” Markota said. The building sustained more than $100,000 in damage, but officials are considering the damage minor because the building was slated for demolition anyway, Markota said. — Josh Kleinbaum, (818) 546-3669 [email protected] VAN NUYS — A disabled homeless man spending the night in a vacant building in Van Nuys died early today in a fire that probably began when a candle fell over, officials said. The unidentified man, who had braces on his legs, crawled to a window of the building in the 7000 block of Hayvenhurst Avenue, attempting to get away from the flames, but security bars blocked his escape, Battalion Chief Dick Markota said. “We could not get in there to do a rapid search” when we arrived on the scene, Markota said. “We had to fight our way into the building. When we finally knocked the fire down, we realized we had a body there. He was already expired. It’s terrible.” The building has been vacant for months, said Mike Brown, the building’s owner. Brown planned to raze the structure for a new commercial project at the site.