Fire ripped through a series of small shelters built to house homeless veterans Friday. The shelters were located on the campus of the Veterans Administration in West Los Angeles.
The fire broke out just after midnight, according to KNBC.
Panic spread along with the flames, as some residents tried to fight the fire using fire extinguishers while others ran from the blaze.
BREAKING: The West LA VA area where #homeless #veterans live in 140 temporary tiny homes caught on #fire this morning. According to a source, no one is injured. About a dozen units are fully destroyed. This is a developing story. pic.twitter.com/1y0KkKkIWP
— Catalina Villegas (@CatalinaOffcl) September 9, 2022
“It just kept getting worse and worse,” veteran Dolores Ramos said according to KTTV.
When the flames were done, 11 shelters that had been temporary housing for formerly homeless veterans were destroyed and four others were damaged, according to the Los Angeles Times, citing the Los Angeles Fire Department.
“We don’t know how we’re going to sleep tonight. We don’t know how we’re going to eat in the morning,” Army veteran Preston Scott said, according to KTTV.
Rob Reynolds, a volunteer with the veteran advocacy group AMVETS and also a veteran, responded after a resident called him.
“As I was coming up, I saw it starting to spread to the other tiny homes, and we got in to make sure everyone was accounted for,” Reynolds said.
Fire destroys 11 tiny homes that housed homeless veterans at West L.A. Veterans Affairs campus https://t.co/2zozRFjobM
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) September 9, 2022
“It’s really unfortunate. I can’t believe this. We just want to make sure that all of them are taken care of,” Reynolds said. “This property is intended to be a home for veterans. They shouldn’t even be in tiny homes. They should be in buildings with sprinkler systems.”
The group of tiny homes was created after the VA cleared a camp of homeless veterans who were living near the VA campus.
Fire destroys 11 tiny homes, damages 4 others at Veterans Affairs campus in West Los Angeles https://t.co/JsGDv4qoNt
— usa share news (@usasharenews) September 10, 2022
The village is part of the Care, Treatment and Rehabilitative Services program, which was created due to a federal class-action lawsuit against the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and the VA. The suit said homeless veterans with severe mental disabilities were discriminated against.
As part of the, the VA promised to build 1,200 housing units, but progress to reach that goal has been slow.
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