LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A commercial building in South Los Angeles where about 40 people allegedly were living illegally was evacuated today, and authorities were working to arrange for temporary housing for those displaced.
Police and fire department personnel, along with other city officials, went to the 800 block of West 57th Street at about 6:45 a.m., said Nicholas Prange of the Los Angeles Fire Department. City officials also went to the scene.
The LAFD's Fire Prevention Bureau was investigating building code violations involving “illegal habitation” of the structure, Prange said. No injuries were reported.
LAFD Capt. Branden Silverman said the building was not zoned for housing.
“There is a lot of excessive storage, a lot of trash,” Silverman told ABC7 at the scene. “There is no running water, electricity, gas -- just not suitable for living. In fact, this building was never designed to be lived in; it is actually zoned for commercial occupancy.
“So, it doesn't even have the fire protection systems that are (required to be) in place for someone to be living in,” Silverman said. “So obviously our biggest concern all the time is the safety of all the residents of Los Angeles.”
Silverman said authorities were working to arrange for temporary housing for the people evacuated from the building.
“As far as this morning, we know that 16 people have been officially notified that they will not be able to return to this ... building to live in,” Silverman said. “They will be able to retrieve their belongings.”
Other people returning to the building who may not be aware of the evacuations will be notified that they will not be allowed to live there, and will also be offered assistance, Silverman said.
“Just disgust, just horror,” Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price told reporters at the scene. “That's why when we found out about it, we put together a task force -- not just to investigate but to get these folks out and get them in a safe place to live. ... Inhumane, trash, debris, no one should be living in those kinds of conditions.”