Fire on Fairfax × Fountain fuels fear and frustration

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Residents are outraged after a fire erupted at a vacant property on the corner of Fountain and Fairfax in West Hollywood, which neighbors blame on squatters.

The blaze, which consumed the property at 7909 Fountain Ave. on June 28, has intensified concerns among neighbors who have long complained about the frequent break-ins and safety risks posed by the abandoned buildings.

The property is currently caught in a prolonged legal battle, with the owners fighting against the city’s proposal to develop an affordable housing project on the site.

The city’s Planning Commission approved a proposed five-story co-living apartment building on the property in September 2021.

As of July 2, 2024, the property was boarded up again after the latest fire.

On Tuesday, code enforcement officers supervised the reboarding of the home. The June 28 fire is being investigated as a case of arson.

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A similar fire broke out in November 2023 at a home on North Sierra Bonita which was plagued by break-ins and suspected drug activity. It was was demolished in January.

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Uron
Uron
10 days ago

All of these types of properties should be leveled and paved over while they wait for funding or other things. This includes the faring disasters.

Urban blight is not an answer.

dave
dave
10 days ago
Reply to  Uron

100% agree. City Council and City Staff should make any approval that once they receive approval any structure that is to be demolished for construction must immediately proceed or the property must be secured 24/7 to prevent these events to continue to happen.

I have noticed that a Block by Block ambassador has been assigned to this private development property. Why isn’t the developer responsible for securing the property?

Kevin
Kevin
10 days ago
Reply to  Uron

Ok, so who pays in this case.? This is a privately owned building and property in litigation due to a lawsuit by neighbors.

Dan Harrington-Tyrell
Dan Harrington-Tyrell
9 days ago
Reply to  Kevin

Litigation does not prevent the owner from liability. The owner still maintains liability and property insurance and is responsible for maintenance of the building. The property would be owned by an LLC owner developer that is in litigation, they still are required to maintain the property.

S. J. Harker
S. J. Harker
8 days ago
Reply to  Kevin

Several people in comments here have said “lawsuit by neighbors” making this sound like “how DARE the neighbors SUE”. However, I believe it is the other property owners who sued. Someone protecting their assets. Does anyone know exactly who the Plaintiffs are?

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
10 days ago

keep us safe? our city is too busy worrying about what we eat, getting our food delivery robots decorated, the pronouns that we used to describe ourselves, making sure that Lime has ample scooters blocking the sidewalk for easy access for riders. They can’t worry about fires or unhoused people doing drugs, or disabled and older adults being in jeopardy every time they try to take a walk, or people walking down the street and being robbed at gunpoint! No, they’re very very busy!

Last edited 10 days ago by Mikie Friedman
KoWeho
KoWeho
10 days ago
Reply to  Mikie Friedman

Mikie, this is not a city-owned building or lot. It is privately owned and in litigation because the neighbors are fighting the approved project. It is up to the owner or the neighbors (the ones suing) to report squatters, record code violations, etc. You always just want to blame the city for everything.

dave
dave
10 days ago
Reply to  KoWeho

Than why now is a city providing a Block by Block ambassador now to this private site? I agree that this is private property and the developer should be held responsible for securing the property. Unless the city staff and council mandate any developer have 24/7 security than the property must be demolished as soon as a property is approved.

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
10 days ago
Reply to  KoWeho

even if this is a private property in legal limbo, if people are in danger,, the city should be VERY CONCERNED above all their other priorities and step in and take some action to protect them! I agree that it was a good idea to send Block by Block in there to guard the property 24/7. It’s the least they could do! and then they should send the bill to the developer. It is a property within the city boundaries and its citizens are in danger! as you said previously, the owner or the neighbors should report it to the… Read more »

Dan Harrington-Tyrell
Dan Harrington-Tyrell
9 days ago
Reply to  KoWeho

The City is aware of nuisance properties and is slow in acting . Litigation, abandoned, vacant, bankruptcy are all deflections. The City was not responsive enough to the complaint, the proof is that there was a fire, the second fire of a property in 7 months.

S. J. Harker
S. J. Harker
8 days ago
Reply to  KoWeho

The neighbors HAVE reported the issues to the the police, the fire department and to Code Compliance at the city, repeatedly for well over a year and so far the only thing that has happened was the place was set ablaze. The day after the fire last week someone was photographed leaving that building; still hanging out there.

Deja vu
Deja vu
10 days ago

PLEASE GET FACTS STRAIGHT! This is NOT A CITY OWNED AFFORDABLE Housing project! THIS IS A PRIVATE developer/for profit, building co-living spaces with a few Staye mandated AFFORDABLE units. This building has been problematic way before a lawsuit to change this development into something that actually is more suitable to the lot size and neighborhood!

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
10 days ago
Reply to  Deja vu

A development that has realistic parking, particularly as you won’t be able to park on Fountain once those bike lanes are installed.

Todd
Todd
10 days ago

Probably time to demolish this disaster, for the good of the community. Then the legal drama can continue but at least the residents won’t have to worry about it constantly. Ugh.

JF1
JF1
10 days ago

Danny Rivas needs to go. Our Code Compliance division needs to be completely overhauled. They are useless. So many residents complain of inaction and unenforced of our code. It’s causing seriously dangerous situations. It should have never gotten to this point.

Last edited 10 days ago by JF1
Steve Martin
Steve Martin
10 days ago

Once again the residents are faced with the dangers of an abandoned building that will never be restored or repaired yet the obvious option of demolition of a nuisance property is apparently not on the City’s agenda.

KoWeho
KoWeho
10 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Steve, please remember that this is not an abandoned building. The owner has an approved project that the neighbors have filed a suit against. The owner should not do anything to this structure until the dispute is resolved. If squatters move in, the owner or the neighbors should alert the city.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
10 days ago
Reply to  KoWeho

The only issue I have is that the owner is maintaining what is legally called an “attractive nuisance”, in that these empty buildings invite homeless and squatters that create a host of issues including potential fires.

Dan Harrington-Tyrell
Dan Harrington-Tyrell
9 days ago
Reply to  KoWeho

Litigation does not prevent the owner from liability. The owner still maintains liability and property insurance and is responsible for maintenance of the building. The property would be owned by an LLC owner developer that is in litigation, they still are required to maintain the property.

S. J. Harker
S. J. Harker
8 days ago
Reply to  KoWeho

EVERYONE has REPEATEDLY alert all the “authorities”. I personally made a report to the Sheriff LAST OCTOBER and I don’t even live in the neighborhood.

resident
resident
10 days ago

I caught a homeless man lighting fires outside my building on Kings Road last Saturday afternoon. He looked completely filthy and insane. Went away before help could arrive.

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