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    HomeNewsHell House Part 2? Fire Breaks Out at Another Squatter House in...

    Hell House Part 2? Fire Breaks Out at Another Squatter House in WeHo

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    A fire broke out at an empty property at 7909 Fountain Ave in West Hollywood on Friday, June 28, drawing comparisons to the Hell House fire at Sierra Bonita last year. According to witnesses, it took firefighters about an hour to put out the flames this past weekend. Investigators left the scene at around 1 a.m. and returned later that morning to further investigate.

    “I have seen people sleeping on the roof, fights break out in the middle of the night at the property, the boarded windows being broken off, and the building broken into,” next-door neighbor Spencer Morgan told WEHO TIMES. “Surrounding neighbors are very upset. And this smoke has now made it so toxic for those of us living around the building. It’s been a hot spot for squatters and the city refuses to demolish.”

    Fire at 1301 Fairfax property – Photo courtesy of Spencer Morgan
    Fire at 1301 Fairfax property – Photo courtesy of Spencer Morgan

    Spencer says he has been a West Hollywood resident for four years and has lived next door to the empty property for about two and a half years. He says the city of West Hollywood has placed Block by Block security ambassadors outside the building to keep squatters from returning following the most recent fire. He was able to confirm a previous fire on April 22, 2024, but does not have information on the third fire he says happened at the same location sometime last year. “The squatters are not one specific couple,” he added. “I have witnessed at least 20 different people entering and exiting the building over my two years—all appear to be drug users and unhoused people who have used the property to do drugs. I have seen needles and crack pipes around the property.”

    Fire at 1301 Fairfax property – Photo courtesy of Spencer Morgan

    Neighbors are comparing the situation on the corner of Fountain Avenue and Fairfax Avenue to the “Hell House” at 1030 N. Sierra Bonita Avenue, where a massive fire broke out on Thanksgiving night last year, putting neighbors in danger and resulting in one neighboring apartment complex suffering structural damage. The fire destroyed portions of both the front house and the back structure on the property. Block by Block security ambassadors were stationed at the empty house after local residents complained that the property was attracting trespassers and being used as an alleged drug den. The house was eventually demolished on January 4, 2024.

    Fire at 1301 Fairfax property – Photo courtesy of Spencer Morgan
    Fire at 1301 Fairfax property – Photo courtesy of Spencer Morgan
    Fire at 1301 Fairfax property – Photo courtesy of Spencer Morgan

    The property at the corner of Fountain Avenue and Fairfax Avenue is pending demolition to make way for the first-ever approved purpose-built co-living development in West Hollywood. On September 2, 2021, the West Hollywood Planning Commission narrowly approved the co-living proposal. This project will add 18 units, including 73 co-living bedrooms, and 32 parking spaces at the northwest corner of Fairfax and Fountain avenues. Critics argue that the project will exacerbate existing issues with density, traffic, and parking in the area.

    West Hollywood Mayor John Erickson tells WEHO TIMES the situation at Fountain and Fairfax is different from what happened at Sierra Bonita, due to one property being caught up in litigation while the property at Sierra Bonita stood empty due to a bankruptcy during the pandemic. “The city has revamped our vacant property rules and regulations fairly aggressively over the last year and a half,” said Mayor Erickson. “This property is a victim to a lawsuit that resulted in a neighbor wanting to stop a housing project that was duly approved two-plus years ago. And so the neighbors that are now dealing with the results of a fire are doing so because of a frivolous lawsuit that has been rejected at every level, over letting the person who owns that property build affordable housing and housing for the city on that corner.”

    Mayor Erickson added that the city is working on not only moving projects forward that are approved, but also fighting back against frivolous lawsuits by anti-housing advocates that want to stop any type of progress of the city, and therefore put other residents at risk by fires.

    Mayor Erickson has also reached out to South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) to make sure fire residue isn’t lingering in the air and further hurting residents.

    According to a representative a City Hall, the fire is being investigated as arson.

    “My landlord contacted the Neighborhood and Business Safety Division Manager for WeHo Community Safety Dept.,” said Spencer. “She said the owners and surrounding neighbors are also joining in, putting pressure on the city to ask for its demolition.”

    If you see something, say something. Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. If you see something, say something. Anyone with information can also drop a tip at https://www.lacrimestoppers.org.

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    Paulo Murillo
    Paulo Murillohttps://wehotimes.com
    Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, which include the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, where he covered breaking news and local events in West Hollywood. He can be reached at [email protected]

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    Tom
    Tom
    Offline
    14 days ago

    So I guess it’s not that the building isn’t secured from transients burning the neighborhood down, it’s those mean old neighbors standing in the way of progress. Guess they just deserve to fry,

    Jennie
    Jennie
    Offline
    15 days ago

    The mayor’s comments were extremely biased .
    West Hollywood city council, and government although a small town is corrupt. Building all of these new modern horrid buildings, tearing down old historic structures allowing contractors and developers to put up properties that look like prisons. This city is nothing like what it was in the ’80s when it was a small town in a big city, and a haven for people to come and live a happy, good life.

    Kevin
    Kevin
    Offline
    Reply to  Jennie
    14 days ago

    Of course weho is not like it was in the 80’s, that was almost a half a century ago. Also, builders remedy is a state mandate that allows builders to supersede local zoning laws. The city can do nothing about a proposed building if it meets the state affordable housing mandate.

    Last edited 14 days ago by Kevin
    Cy Husain
    Cy Husain
    Offline
    Reply to  Jennie
    12 days ago

    Yes and, the anonymous posters in the comments section are just shining examples of objectivity and open minded virtue❗
      :wpds_lol: 

    Cy Husain
    Cy Husain
    Offline
    15 days ago

    Just to be clear, I DON’T have any information about this fire beyond what I have recently read online about this incident. What’s apparent is that the local wealthy NIMBYs have the MOST to gain by this fire with the poor unhoused neighbors the most to lose BUT, the poor unhoused neighbors are the ones being blamed. Reactionaries always seem to engage in ‘victim blaming‘ with a great deal of certitude no matter how irrational.

    Andrew Solomon
    Andrew Solomon
    Offline
    15 days ago

    This is a NIMBY fire.

    That site has already been entitled for a new apartment building, but a neighbor filed a lawsuit because they didn’t want a new apartment building in their neighborhood. The city can’t touch it now because the neighbor has successfully tied it up in litigation. So now 2 years later we get squatters and fires.

    Natasha
    Natasha
    Offline
    Reply to  Andrew Solomon
    15 days ago

    You have proof? I didn’t think so. Shame on those pesky lawyers for filing law suits. I’m sure you know the type.

    Cy Husain
    Cy Husain
    Offline
    Reply to  Natasha
    14 days ago

    It’s NOT the lawyers who file a lawsuit, it’s the plaintiff or claimant a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant’s actions who file the lawsuit.

    Natasha
    Natasha
    Offline
    Reply to  Cy Husain
    13 days ago

    Are you claiming that lawyers do not file lawsuits on behalf of plaintiffs or clients? Where did you go to law school?

    Cy Husain
    Cy Husain
    Offline
    Reply to  Natasha
    12 days ago

    It’s NOT required to use a California lawyer to sue someone in Los Angeles County but, having legal representation familiar with California law & local court procedures in how it applies to your case is always beneficial. Guessing you didn’t go to law school❓

    S. J. Harker
    S. J. Harker
    Offline
    Reply to  Andrew Solomon
    15 days ago

    To reduce this to a NIMBY complaint is absurd. The neighbors didn’t want THIS PARTICULAR building and I think it is naive to state that. The neighboring owner has every right to file suit against the developer. There were many issues (under parked, entrances on Fairfax and on Fountain, etc.) with that development which were brought up in the Appeal, which was rejected. This development had some affordable units but is mostly a for-profit venture. The lawsuit didn’t CAUSE the squatters. There have been squatters there for a couple of years now. The fact that the building was not secured… Read more »

    P S
    P S
    Offline
    Reply to  S. J. Harker
    14 days ago

    Of course the condescending mayor has to get a bitchy quote in about the the residents who live near this mess. Just leave it at what the city is doing / should of done.

    Alan Strasburg
    Alan Strasburg
    Offline
    Reply to  P S
    14 days ago

    Bitchy and snarky are his stock-in-trade. He uses it to great effect in his disdain and disrespect for residents.

    Andrew Solomon
    Andrew Solomon
    Offline
    Reply to  Alan Strasburg
    13 days ago

    Good to see you back in action Alan! I was worried you were gone after we hadn’t heard you in a while over on the other site. Hope everyone has a great 4th of July!

    Alan Strasburg
    Alan Strasburg
    Offline
    Reply to  S. J. Harker
    14 days ago

    Thank you for always seeing the big picture and analyzing the nuance inherent in these matters. It’s sad to see elected and appointed officials engage in the childish “look at what you get” mentality and resorting to the intellectually lazy moniker of NIMBY (name calling!) in attempt to silence critics. The new narrative in this town is to bend over and take poorly planned and problematic (referencing the multiple issues you mentioned) as fait accompli. The last time I checked, people in this country still have access to courts and the remedies that can be granted and imposed by courts.… Read more »

    Weho artist
    Weho artist
    Offline
    Reply to  Alan Strasburg
    13 days ago

    intellectually lazy moniker of NIMBY”

    Yeah you don’t like it because you’re an old out of touch NIMBY yourself, Alan. You’ve outlived your glory days and you’re dead set on making it miserable for everyone living in this city.

    Any attempt at telling the truth is “an attempt to silence critics” according to you. Critics of what? A bogus lawsuit that we all know will fail?

    You engage in the name-calling yourself. Maybe it’s time to stop with the hypocritical holier than thou attitude.

    Andrew Solomon
    Andrew Solomon
    Offline
    Reply to  S. J. Harker
    14 days ago

    Thanks for the congrats on the new position Steph!

    S. J. Harker
    S. J. Harker
    Offline
    Reply to  Andrew Solomon
    11 days ago

    Sure Andy

    Reading Rainbow
    Reading Rainbow
    Offline
    15 days ago

    Saw a Block by Block kiosk with an umbrella set up on a private property at the corner of Fairfax and Fountain. Another is at Veteran’s Park on SMB. They should change the name from Block by Block (BBB) to Vagrant Blocker Bureau (VBB)

    Last edited 15 days ago by Reading Rainbow
    Cy Husain
    Cy Husain
    Offline
    Reply to  Reading Rainbow
    15 days ago

    They are a private security company for hire and, the people who hire them tend to be wealthy real estate moguls who DON’T care for the rights of the unhoused.

    S. J. Harker
    S. J. Harker
    Offline
    Reply to  Cy Husain
    15 days ago

    The city hired Block by Block not wealthy Real Estate moguls. The unhoused do not have the right to break into private property

    Cy Husain
    Cy Husain
    Offline
    Reply to  S. J. Harker
    14 days ago

    If you look at their other contracts, they are mainly private sector and NOT with the city. “The unhoused do not have the right to break into private property❓” More or less the historical precedent of western imperialism on indigenous lands pilgrim❗

    Enough!
    Enough!
    Offline
    15 days ago

    We have a hoarder in our neighborhood which has been reported to Code Compliance many times. They do nothing.

    Cy Husain
    Cy Husain
    Offline
    Reply to  Enough!
    14 days ago

    Yes and, beverly hells is loaded with genocidal war criminals cited by the International Criminal Court reported to Federal law enforcement numerous times. They do nothing❗

    angry gay pope
    angry gay pope
    Offline
    15 days ago

    Homeless people fires are what destroyed more than one building in LA like the Pan Pacific Auditorium (Xanadu).

    Austin
    Austin
    Offline
    16 days ago

    I’ve heard and seen so many horrible stories about this abandoned building. The city needs to step in and protect the residents of West Hollywood. This is unacceptable!

    Kevin
    Kevin
    Offline
    Reply to  Austin
    15 days ago

    The building is in litigation. A new project was approved, but a neighbor filed a lawsuit, so this is what you get.

    :dpb
    :dpb
    Offline
    16 days ago

    Where was Danny Riva, Public Satety Commissioner? Oh that’s right. No where to be found, for six months. This wasn’t glad-handing or a photo op. Public Safety commissioner? Really. Useless. Dude needs to resign.

    John Ryan
    John Ryan
    Offline
    Reply to  :dpb
    15 days ago

    100 per cent!

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