Taxpayers Could Be Held Accountable If Fires Are Traced Back To Homeless

Photo: Getty Images.

NBC4 Investigative Reporter Eric Leonard has been looking into the state's wildfire prevention efforts for the past few months, and we've been sharing his findings on air as they're reported.

In a report that aired Thursday night, the NBC4 I-Team discovered that taxpayers could be held accountable if any new brush fires are traced back to homeless encampments.

(Garcetti previously claimed that the city can not arrest any homeless living and cooking in fire zones, unless they have 'no trespassing' signs put up. Buy one and send it to City Hall here.)

Attorney Brian Kabateck said that due to civil liability, and the fact that the city has a list of homeless camp sites, if a brush fire ignites at a mapped-out encampment, then tax payers could be held accountable for the damages.

"For the mayor simply to say, we're just going to know where they are, and track them and keep them, that just isn't enough, and it's going to end up leading to liability for the city," Kabateck, who's also the president of the LA Bar Association said. "They know the danger exists, and they're not enforcing the laws."

But Mayor Yoga Pants Garcetti said that he's not worried about that risk.

"Look, I'd rather know where folks are, and on high fire risk days, we now have a policy to go out there and ask people to, to get out of those places," he said. "My mind is to make sure that we know where these areas are."

See the full report on NBC 4.

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