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Illegal and Unsafe Housing Evacuated

Friday, June 21, 2019

Thank you to KTLA 5 for the footage.

 

VERMONT-SLAUSON - Fire Inspectors led an evacuation due to illegal and unsafe habitation of a single-story building zoned for commercial use. LAFD Firefighters, LAPD, Department of Building and Safety, and a Councilmember were some of the team on scene supporting the operation.

Multiple agencies gatherered near the intersection of W 57th Street and S Hoover Street at approximately 7:00 a.m. on Friday morning to assist the Los Angeles Fire Department's Fire Prevention Bureau in evacuating a building with unsafe living conditions. One week prior, fire inspectors working at a nearby address were notified by a concerned neighbor of the conditions inside of the structure. The 5,606 square foot building - a single-story structure zoned for commercial use that had been modified illegally - was being used in a residential capacity. Several fire and life safety hazards were found inside and it was unsafe for the conditions to continue. Cockroach and rat infestations, along with open flames and hot plates, were found inside. There were no fire protection systems (sprinklers/smoke detectors). All utilities were off (water, gas, and electricity), but electricity was being brough in illegally with multiple extension cords from other sources. This building was known to have repeated gang and criminal activities, and possibly even human trafficking.

Sixteen people were notified of their evacuation, but there were reports of many more living there that were not present to receive the news (as many as fifty total). After these former residents were evacuated, having retrieved their valuables, the Department of Building and Safety acquired an emergency board-up order to seal the building, hoping to prevent re-entry. While not all of these individuals agreed with their own removal, all persons inside the structure left peacefully, with no arrest or injury. With assistance from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), these families were rehoused almost immediately. LAHSA remained on scene throughout the day and into the evening to wait to provide additional housing for those who came home later to find they were unable to enter.

Ultimately, the safety of the families residing in the structure was the top priority. We always prefer to prevent an emergency before it happens, rather than mitigate one after it starts.

 

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