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Residents angry after fire breaks out in occupied house in West Hollywood

A fire in a vacant house in West Hollywood has infuriated residents as squatters are suspected of being the arsonists.

The house at 7909 Fountain Avenue caught fire on June 28. Neighbors complained of constant break-ins by squatters, as many felt the house posed a safety hazard to residents.


“I've seen these windows boarded up more times than I can count,” said Spencer Morgan, a neighbor. “Every time these boards are torn down, [by trespassers]”Just this morning I have video evidence of a homeless person wandering around the property.”

“This is about the third time now,” said a neighbor who saw a fire in his home. “It's very dangerous. It seems like the owners don't care about the impression they make on the neighborhood or the safety of the neighbors.”

The house is reportedly embroiled in a years-long legal battle in which property owners are fighting the city's plans to build a public housing complex on the site.

Residents are dismayed after a major fire broke out on June 28, 2024, in a West Hollywood home they say was occupied by squatters.
Residents are dismayed after a major fire broke out in a West Hollywood home they say was occupied by squatters on June 28, 2024. (KTLA)
Workers barricade a house in West Hollywood on July 2, 2024, after complaints of constant squatters breaking in. (KTLA)
Workers barricade a house in West Hollywood on July 2, 2024, after complaints of constant squatters breaking in. (KTLA)
A West Hollywood home is still boarded up on July 2, 2024, after a large fire broke out and there were complaints of constant squatters entering the home. (KTLA)
A West Hollywood home is still boarded up on July 2, 2024, after a large fire broke out and there were complaints of constant squatters entering the home. (KTLA)
Residents are dismayed after a major fire broke out on June 28, 2024, in a West Hollywood home they say was occupied by squatters.
A West Hollywood home is still boarded up on July 2, 2024, after a large fire broke out and there were complaints of constant squatters entering the home. (KTLA)
Residents are dismayed after a major fire broke out on June 28, 2024, in a West Hollywood home they say was occupied by squatters.
A West Hollywood home is still boarded up on July 2, 2024, after a large fire broke out and there were complaints of constant squatters entering the home. (KTLA)

“I mean, what does that have to do with the owner taking care of the property and making sure it is safe for the neighbors?” responded one resident when he heard that the house is involved in a legal dispute.

Another neighbor, however, seemed frustrated with the situation but believed the homeowner's hands were tied.

“He should protect the property, but to what extent?” the neighbor asked. “What should he do? He can't tear it down. The city won't let him. The neighbors complain about him. What's a landlord supposed to do? What's his fault?”

Meanwhile, many residents said they felt unsafe and were afraid that someone might get hurt or worse, as the vacant house continued to attract squatters and vandals.

“It's only a matter of time before one of our buildings catches fire or endangers other people's safety,” Morgan said. “I want to urge the mayor to address this issue, take responsibility and demand the demolition of this building. Our safety is more important than [whatever else] it happens.”

There is a security guard stationed in front of the house, but neighbors say that is not enough to keep vandals and intruders away.

KTLA has reached out to the West Hollywood Mayor's office and is awaiting a response.

Law enforcement officers were on site Tuesday to oversee efforts to reseal the home. The fire, which broke out on June 28, is being investigated as arson.

The house has been compared to another West Hollywood home in the 1000 block of North Sierra Bonita Avenue, which suffered a large fire in November 2023, while experiencing constant break-ins by squatters and reports that it was being used as an alleged drug den. That home was eventually demolished in January.