Fire destroys North Hollywood homeless shelter

Fire displaces 21 residents of the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission

An overnight fire at a North Hollywood pallet yard quickly spread and destroyed an adjacent homeless shelter, displacing 21 residents, officials said Saturday.

Firefighters arrived at the scene at Okote Pallets Inc. in the 13000 block of Saticoy Street at 12:25 Saturday morning to find "heavy fire" at the yard, said Erik Scott of the Los Angeles Fire Department. A corrugated metal building in the center of the area was engulfed in flames, threatening other buildings in the area, including the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission.

Within three minutes of firefighters arriving on the scene the shelter was also engulfed in flames, Scott said. It took 137 firefighters about 90 minutes to extinguish the blaze.

One firefighter, a captain, was injured and taken to a nearby hospital in fair condition.

Scott could not specify how many buildings were involved in the fire or the cost of the damage to those structures, which he called significant. But he said the fire department's response prevented spread of the flames and saved nearby property.

"Even though it caused significant damage, if it wasn't for the firefighters three times the damage would have been lost," Scott said, adding that the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Mission representatives did not return phone calls Saturday. Scott said the Red Cross has stepped in to assist shelter residents.

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eryn.brown@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATerynbrown

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