PACOIMA (CBSLA) — Reisdents of a Pacoima neighborhood are speaking out Saturday following the second fire to hit a vacant home there in the past few mopnths.
No injuries were reported following either blaze.
Neighbor say the homeless have been camping out inside the home, and they aren’t sure if the fires are being started by accident or intentionally but they want the city to fix the problem. They say the situation has gotten out of hand and is no longer just a visual problem but a potentially dangerous one.
“It concerns me this property has been empty so long and no one has done anything about it,” says neighbor Oreatha Joseph.
She has lived in the neighborhood for more than 60 years. She said the neighbor who lived in the home past away about five years ago and the residence has been vacant ever since, not counting the homeless.
“The homeless keep moving in and moving in and it’s really dangerous,” she says.
According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, the call about the latest fire came in shortly after 2 a.m. When firefighters arrived on the scene, they found a single-family home in the 13100 block of W. Eustace Street in flames. Firefighters were able to put the fire out in under 20 minutes and conducted a preliminary search of the building, but did not find anyone inside.
LAFD said a partial roof collapse left significant debris inside the vacant, boarded 1950s structure.
The official cause of the fire was not immediately known. but CBS 2/KCAL 9’s Joy Benedict spoke to neighbors who are convinced the homeless are responsible.
They say a fire in the same house, which has been abandoned the past couple of years, happened about a month ago as a result of the homeless getting into the abandoned property.
“The homeless in the back had been camping in this house and then we laughed because we said they burned down what they had as shelter,” neighbor Gene Sena told Benedict, “Apparently the homeless got in there and burned it down again.”