LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A vacant million-dollar Craftsman home in the Westlake District was damaged by a fire early Monday that may have been started by squatters.

The fire was first reported at about 1 a.m. at 182 S. Virgil Ave. Firefighters arrived to find flames shooting out of the converted attic, which was heavily damaged.

(credit: Sergio Banegas Jr.)

“It was mostly up in the attic, coming down on the sides. After a while, the fire got worse, bigger,” neighbor Sergio Banegas Jr. said. “It was kind of crazy.”

Boarded-up windows made it hard to see the flames at first, but firefighters forced entry and had it out within half an hour. No injuries were reported.

The two-story home was built in the 1920s and is valued at $1.3 million. But because it’s been vacant for a while, it’s become a problem in the neighborhood.

Neighbors say immediately after the fire, homeless people streamed out of the home. Firefighters say there was evidence people had been staying in the house, but it’s not immediately clear how the fire started.


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