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Cell phone video shows troublesome vacant home catching on fire

Vacant home bursts into flames, yards away from West Hollywood houses
Vacant home bursts into flames, yards away from West Hollywood houses 02:38

A neighbor captured the moments flames shot out of a troublesome vacant home on Thanksgiving Day in West Hollywood.

The fire was yards away from Stefanie LaHart's house. She's reported the worrisome property to the developer and city — even going so far as to document the piles of trash, people trespassing and others living inside — but to no avail. Days before the fire, LaHart asked one of the developer's contacts to remove the empty, dilapidated house. 

"Three days before this happened I said 'Please get somebody out here,'" she recalled. "Somethings going to happen and sure enough for Thanksgiving, we are all at our respective homes and get emergency text messages the place is on fire."

LaHart said the now boarded-up home has taken her neighborhood hostage. A city employed a security guard on Wednesday and positioned him inside the gates of the property. 

Neighbor Olga Cross said the noise from the transients on the property has kept her 2-year-old son awake at night. The destructive fire blew out her apartment windows too. 

"I would love if the city take possession of this place and destroy this place," Cross said. "We would not have this terrible situation anymore."

LaHart and other tenants pay thousands of dollars in rent. They said this is no way to continue to live. 

"We are afraid to be in our houses and we are afraid to leave our house," LaHart said. "We have pets and children."

Like the neighbors, KCAL News did not receive the developer's response. In one instance, we were hung up on without an answer. The numbers listed by the developer have been disconnected. An email bounced back. 

The city said there is an active code enforcement investigation, but there is no timeline for when it will be fixed.

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