Fire at vacant Westlake building spreads to apartments, displaces several residents

Firefighters use a hose to spray water onto a burning building
Firefighters battle a fire that started at a vacant home early Monday in the 200 block of South Reno Street in Westlake.

A fire that started in a vacant house spread to two nearby apartment buildings in Westlake on Monday morning, leaving residents from 20 units without a home, according to authorities.

The fire was reported about 1 a.m. at 245 Reno St., the Los Angeles Fire Department said. Emergency officials found a two-story house engulfed in flames, and the fire spread to two neighboring apartment buildings on both sides of the house.

It took 73 minutes for more than 150 firefighters to put out the fires. One person was treated for smoke inhalation.


The fire displaced residents from 20 apartments that were damaged, according to LAFD Capt. Erik Scott. The American Red Cross has been called in to assist the families.

“What made this fire difficult was how close it was to the two apartment buildings and how fast the flames spread to the adjacent buildings,” Scott said.

The catastrophic magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Turkey a week ago should be a warning to Californians.

Feb. 13, 2023

Residents from the apartment buildings huddled outside in their pajamas or wrapped in blankets, according to video from OnScene.TV. Firefighters doused the burning home as the flames lapped at the side of an apartment building.

Resident Blanca Martinez said she heard from her neighbors that a person may have been living in the vacant house before the fire started. Martinez told OnScene.TV that she woke up to her neighbors starting to head outside to flee the flames.

“I’m so scared,” Martinez said. “I’m crying.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation, and arson investigators are on the scene, authorities said. K-9 units were brought out of an abundance of caution to determine whether there were any people trapped in the buildings, but officials did not find anyone, Scott said.

LAFD Capt. Cody Weireter said there was also a gas leak at the scene while firefighters were responding to the fire.


Firefighters remain on the scene to assist SoCalGas crews in restoring natural gas to one of the adjacent apartment buildings, which includes over 60 units.

The apartment building to the south of the vacant building is uninhabitable, authorities said.