December 8, 2014 6:33 AM EST

Hundreds of firefighters battled to contain a huge fire at an under-construction apartment complex in downtown Los Angeles early Monday. Flames and smoke from the blaze dominated the city skyline and officials told commuters to brace for a messy morning as the Harbor Freeway was closed in both directions.

David Ortiz, public information officer for the Los Angeles Fire Department, said at 3 a.m. local time (6 a.m. ET) that 250 firefighters were on scene and predicted the incident would not be over for “at least three to four hours.” He added: “The fire is very hot right now because the building was under construction and very open. The commute will be very difficult.”

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