Mop-up work to continue overnight on fire at Rancho Los Amigos hospital campus in Downey

A map shows the location of the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey.
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Firefighters from several Los Angeles County agencies battled a two-alarm fire at the site of an L.A. County public rehabilitation hospital in Downey on Wednesday night.

Authorities received multiple calls around 6:17 p.m. reporting a fire in a single-story, abandoned commercial building on the south side of the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, which was once known as the Los Angeles County Poor Farm, said Doug Ulibarri, a spokesman for the Downey Fire Department.

Units called to the 12000 block of Erickson Avenue found the building engulfed in widespread flames, with fire coming from its roof, Ulibarri said, and firefighters from the Downey, L.A. County, Montebello, La Habra Heights and Compton fire departments battled the blaze through the night.


Jeremy Stafford, a dispatch supervisor with the L.A. County Fire Department, said his agency got the call for assistance at 6:31 p.m. and confirmed the incident was a two-alarm fire.

Simultaneous fires destroyed two vacant buildings at the 129-year-old Rancho Los Amigos Rehabilitation Center campus in Downey early Monday, authorities said.

June 26, 2017

Crews remained on scene as of 10:30 p.m. mopping up hot spots, according to an operator with the Downey Fire Department, who said he expected firefighting efforts to continue throughout the night.

What caused the fire wasn’t known late Wednesday.

In June 2017, simultaneous fires destroyed two vacant buildings at the campus. An abandoned two-story house near Erickson Avenue and Consuelo Street was fully engulfed in flames, and as crews battled the blaze, a second fire broke out in a 50-by-50-foot commercial building to the southeast.

Four months earlier, a fire broke out in an abandoned building near Dahlia Avenue and Consuelo Street in a structure near the center’s south side.

The sprawling Rancho Los Amigos campus opened in 1888 as the Los Angeles County Poor Farm, which offered ranch work and medical care to disabled, ill, elderly and homeless people.

It was eventually renamed Rancho Los Amigos and operated as a hospital for chronic illnesses until the 1950s, when a polio epidemic turned it into a rehabilitation center.


The property’s more than 200 acres are split by Imperial Highway. The Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, a county-run hospital specializing in spinal injuries and stroke rehabilitation, is on the north side, and several former Poor Farm structures are on the so-called south campus.