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Residents blast city leaders for fire at vacant West Hollywood home

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Residents blast city leaders for fire at vacant West Hollywood home

Residents in a West Hollywood neighborhood are demanding answers and action from city officials after a massive fire on Thanksgiving Night destroyed a vacant home that’s been the subject of repeated complaints about squatters and trespassers.  

The dilapidated and vacant home on North Sierra Bonita Avenue, which is surrounded by apartment buildings, erupted in flames on Nov. 23 jarring neighbors from gatherings with their loved ones.  

Fortunately, fire officials said no one was injured during the blaze, and while the fire has sent shockwaves through the nearby community, some of the residents tell KTLA that the property was a public safety hazard waiting to happen and that’s why they’re fuming.  

At a West Hollywood City Council meeting on Monday, many residents were speaking their minds.  

“The landlord did not secure his property,” one speaker said.  

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“I wish that WeHoans who ask the city for help could actually get it,” another told the council.  

Neighbors say they’ve been complaining about trespassing, suspicious activity, garbage and debris piling up at the vacant house for more than a year, even telling city leaders they feared a fire could break out. 

Just weeks later, that’s what happened.  

  • Residents outraged after vacant home in West Hollywood burns on Thanksgiving
  • Residents outraged after vacant home in West Hollywood burns on Thanksgiving

“It’s literally like we’ve been held hostage by this one developer that has several properties in the area that are not being taken care of, they’re not being developed,” Stefanie LaHart told KTLA’s Chris Wolfe.  

LaHart, who started a website chronicling the vacant property before, during and after the fire, said the Thanksgiving Night blaze damaged a nearby apartment building, displacing two people who live next door, adding that she’s thankful the disaster wasn’t worse.  

“We’ve been calling for help and begging for help and nobody’s doing anything,” LaHart explained.  

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City leaders said they are doing something and listening to residents. One councilmember wants to review the history of complaints and the ensuing government response.  

Others want to be quickly informed of all the enforcement tools and authority at their disposal.  

“The city installed and is paying directly for 24-hour security with our Block-by-Block Ambassadors to be out there,” West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tem John Erickson told KTLA. “We’re also reassessing all of our vacant properties.”  

Officials added that they are working with both neighbors of these types of properties and the landlords. 

The city council plans to reinstate a “problem properties task force,” combining public safety, public information and code enforcement personnel. There was also discussion about the ability to declare vacant property a “public nuisance” and place a lien on it, among other measures.  

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In the meantime, the vacant property on North Sierra Bonita, sometimes referred to by neighbors as the “hell house,” has been red tagged and should be demolished soon.  

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Los Angeles, Ca

LAPD arrests 14 in retail theft blitz operations

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LAPD arrests 14 in retail theft blitz operations

Theft has continued to be a major issue for retailers in L.A. County, but the Los Angeles Police Department is stepping up its efforts to catch thieves in the act.

Recent retail theft bliz operations by the LAPD led to 14 arrests in downtown Los Angeles. Authorities targeted two locations in the past week, leading to the apprehension of multiple suspects.

The first occurred Feb. 29 at a retailer in the 600 block of South Broadway, where four suspects were arrested. They have been identified as:

  • 19-year-old Kristyanna Banuelos
  • 23-year-old Amayla Sutton
  • 35-year-old Vaneza Quioro
  • 38-year-old Mario Moreno

Then, on March 1, officers conducted a bliz at the FIGat7th Plaza, located in the area of 7th Street and Figuerora Street. Ten suspects were arrested, including three juveniles, whose identities are being withheld.

  • 25-year-old Valeria Vazquez-Zuniga
  • 32-year-old Alondra Leon
  • 38-year-old Darion Moore
  • 48-year-old Leila Vavalette
  • 53-year-old Edna Ordonez-Escobar
  • 53-year-old Quincy Davis
  • 54-year-old Augustus Evans

LAPD says several of the suspects were eligible for cite and release under the L.A. County felony an misdemeanor bail schedule, while others had outstanding warrants.

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Los Angeles, Ca

2 men shot outside Los Angeles neighborhood sports bar

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2 men shot outside Los Angeles neighborhood sports bar

Two men were shot, including one fatally, outside of a sports bar in the Vermont Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles Sunday night.

The shooting was reported at West 120th and South Figueroa streets near the El Diamante Sports Bar shortly before 10 p.m.

Arriving officers located two male shooting victims, transporting one of them to a hospital in critical condition, Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Bennett said.

Police responded to a shooting in the Vermont Vista neighborhood on March 3, 2024. (KTLA)

The second victim was pronounced dead at the scene, Bennett said. No information regarding the victim’s age or identity was released.

A motive for the shooting was still under investigation.

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“There’s a sports bar that’s a little bit south of the intersection. It’s unknown what happened inside the bar prior to this,” Bennett said.

Video showed several bullet casings on the ground and a white tent covering the deceased victim as homicide detectives investigated the scene.

Investigators did not provide any information regarding the gunman or gunmen.

Bennett asked anyone with information to contact homicide detectives at 323-786-5100.

KTLA’s Nancy Fontan contributed to this report.    

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Los Angeles, Ca

3 arrested, multiple vehicles impounded in Glendale for street racing

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3 arrested, multiple vehicles impounded in Glendale for street racing

The Glendale Police Department made 3 arrests during a recent one-night street racing and speed enforcement operation.

Officers also impounded multiple vehicles and handed out more than a dozen citations at the car meet-up on Saturday.

Glendale PD says it saw multiple instances of reckless driving, speeding, illegal modifications to vehicles, and some people carrying weapons at the meet-up.

No further details about the individuals who were arrested have been released.

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