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South LA Family Says Homeless To Blame For Fire That Damaged Home

SOUTH LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A fire damaged a home in South Los Angeles last night, and the family who lived there are saying a nearby homeless encampment may be to blame.

tent city
Tents belonging to homeless people line the street behind the Perez family home. (CBSLA)

The fire was first reported Thursday evening around 5:30 p.m. It took firefighters roughly half an hour to extinguish what started as a rubbish fire in the alley and spread to two other structures, including the Perez home. The Perez family said they saw a homeless man running soon after the fire started.

"They were like screaming, 'Get out, your house is on fire, please get out'," 14-year-old Dayana Perez said.

The family said they have called 311 about the tent city multiple times in the last two months worried that something like this would happen in the home where Dayana lived with her parents and two siblings, but for now she's staying with her aunt Ana Saquil. Her parents are camping in the home's yard — hoping to protect what's left after the fire.

"It could have happened at night, you know, and they're life would have been in danger," Saquil said. "And all we would have had would be like, 'Sorry, sorry for your loss.'"

The mayor's office said it arranged temporary housing for the family, and a spokesman said the office is committed to getting people off the streets to keep roads clean, passable and safe.

But for Dayana and her family, the damage has already been done.

"Seeing your mom cry, she was crying a lot," she said. "It's sad, it's really sad."

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