Venice lady loses residence, canine in hearth as neighbors query if rising homeless encampments accountable

VENICE, LOS ANGELES (KABC) – A house in Venice was destroyed and a dog was killed in a fire early Wednesday morning.

While the cause is still being investigated, neighbors are hinting at growing homeless camps in the area, including one near the house.

The fire was reported at 3:55 a.m. in the one-story bungalow on Clubhouse Avenue. According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, it took 26 firefighters 18 minutes to extinguish the flames.

The neighbors described the tormenting scene and the efforts to save the dog trapped in it.

“We heard breaking glass and people screaming in the alley,” neighbor Francesca Padilla told ABC7. “I also heard our neighbour’s dog whimper. We knew immediately that something was wrong.”

At least one neighbor used a scooter to try to tear down a wall and rescue the dog, which could scream inside, the Venice Current reported. He couldn’t get through and soon the dog’s noises stopped.

Neighbors say there has been a growing presence of homeless camps in the area. The woman who lives in the burning house, a doctor who was working at the time, was known to have had multiple confrontations over the homeless who trespassed her property.

“Anyone who lives in this neighborhood knows that this was just a pyramid scheme,” said Padilla. “We lived in a really unsafe camp in front of our house, right across from an elementary school my children go to.”

A GoFundMe was launched to help the woman who lost her home and dog.

The fire could have been arson. Firefighters told local reporters they believe someone threw something over the fence. Residents believe the recent homeless incidents have paid off.

Residents say that no resources are being made available for those living on the streets and offers of help are inexplicably turned down.

“Two weeks ago I actually volunteered 20 beds for this camp, and I offered it to our city council office, and they actually turned it down and said no,” said neighbor Heidi Roberts, who is also the founder of Haaven Collaborative Housing is.

“He hung up before he could give a reason,” added Roberts.

Councilor Mike Bonin represents the area. Eyewitness News reached Bonin’s office but heard none of it.

The neighbors told ABC7 they had repeatedly complained to the city about the growing camps and found they were on the side of an elementary school. They said the city offered little help.

“I have email chains, not even a week ago. Mike Bonin is in. I warned them I said this was an escalating situation,” said Padilla. “Something is wrong in this neighborhood. It’s a public safety and health issue. Something has to be done before someone is injured. And before something really tragic happens.”

“Now guess what just happened less than a week later.”

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