A fire in a 25-storey apartment building in Los Angeles has left one critically injured and driven desperate residents to brave narrow ledges to escape the fire.

The fire, which started on the sixth floor of the building on West Wilshire Boulevard, was "well developed" according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Video posted to Twitter shows a man attempting to flee the flames by climbing along a narrow ledge on the sixth floor, as fire crews rush to the scene.

The man was contemplating jumping before firefighters talked him out of it and pulled him to safety.

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Fire officials report that eight people are injured, including a 3-month-old.

Officials said early reports that some people may have jumped were not true. A helicopter crew member on the roof helped attach each person to line and they were hoisted into the hovering chopper one by one. At one point firefighters lifted a small white dog into the helicopter.

LAFD Deputy Chief Armando Hogan said crews were continuing to search each floor for victims.

"The herculean effort by the members of the Los Angeles Fire Department was incredible," Hogan told the Los Angeles Times.

A helicopter was called in to hoist people off the roof of the apartment building following a fire on the sixth floor. Photo / via AP
A helicopter was called in to hoist people off the roof of the apartment building following a fire on the sixth floor. Photo / via AP

Hogan said the fire was put out shortly before 10 a.m., about 90 minutes after firefighters responded. Two people were taken to hospitals and six others had smoke inhalation, he said.

Hogan said the cause of the fire is under investigation, with firefighters looking into the possibility it was deliberately set. "Arson is on the scene doing an investigation," he said.

Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas added, "It is suspicious right now."

There were early reports that some people had jumped from the building after flames began raging through the sixth floor, but Hogan said that wasn't true.

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He said one man was hanging onto the edge of the building contemplating jumping when firefighters managed to reach him and talk him out of it, then pull him to safety.

Firefighters respond to a fire at a residential building in Los Angeles today as smoke rose from the sixth floor. Photo / AP
Firefighters respond to a fire at a residential building in Los Angeles today as smoke rose from the sixth floor. Photo / AP

With the flames doused firefighters were going through the building's 25 floors to check on occupants. "Right now we're doing a floor-to-floor search to make sure people are OK," Hogan said.

A fire also broke out at the Barrington Plaza high-rise in 2013, injuring several people and displacing more than 100, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Fire officials said then that the building was not equipped with a sprinkler system, the newspaper reported. It was built in 1961 and wasn't required to have one under state regulations saying buildings taller than 75 feet include such fire-suppression systems unless granted an exemption.

- Additional reporting, Associated Press