Saturday night fire damages Echo Park duplex

By Jesús Sanchez

I have covered numerous fires as the publisher and author of The Eastsider but never one involving my own property. Late Saturday night, however, fire broke out in the Echo Park duplex I own near the corner of Echo Park and Morton avenues. No one was injured in the blaze, which started shortly before midnight near a floor furnace. But the apartment (pictured above) where the fire started sustained heavy fire, smoke and water damage. The other unit sustained smoke damage  No one was home in the unit where the fire began; the tenant of the other unit got out unharmed (I live in a house around the corner). Morton Avenue was blocked for more than an hour as fire units put out and cleaned up after the blaze.

It was the second furnace fire of the night in Echo Park. Firefighters said they were returning from extinguishing a residential blaze involving a wall heater when they detected smoke near Echo Park and Morton, according to one firefighter.

Firefighters were not the only ones quick to respond to the blaze. A representative from a company specializing in repairing fire damage arrived less than an hour after the fire began to offer his company’s services.  This morning, an independent insurance adjuster called offering to meet before I met with my insurance company’s adjuster.  A second contractor stopped by before 8 A.M. to drop off his business card and a third left a phone message.  What a mess.


  1. I’ve been through two house fires (seriously bad luck!) and it’s amazing how quickly the fire chasers descend. Once the adrenaline of everything calms down, the only thing that becomes important is that no one was hurt. Good luck through the next few months – in the end you’ll have a good cocktail story to tell 🙂

  2. Jesus,

    I echo Lindsey, the important thing is that neither you, your family, nor anyone in the involved unit was hurt. Now you can deal with the physical rebuilding, which will be a headache, but without the cloud of someone having been injured. Good luck, sorry to hear of the misfortune.

  3. Aw, I’m so sorry. Glad no one was hurt. In due time, you’ll rebuild something better – and we’ll be in the nabe forum to give our opinions. Take care of you and a speedy return to better days for you and your tenants.

  4. Oh no! Jesus, I’m so sorry to hear this. I’m working with a great project manager on my remodel– if you’d like her information, let me know. I also really like my contractor– which I think is a rare thing to be able to say. Happy to pass on any info I’ve got. Good luck!

  5. SO sorry Jesus.

  6. So sorry Jesus. I saw the trucks and I was wondering what was going on.

  7. Glad you’re okay man. I was watching this unfold from my roof across the street. There was so much smoke that it obscured the downtown skyline.

  8. So sorry to hear you now have to manage getting your cute duplex back together again. Wishes to you for a speedy and painless rebuild.

  9. Hello Jesus,

    Sorry about the fire but glad no one was hurt. I know too well what this experience is like. Back in 2001 we had a house fire. The next morning, there was group of adjusters, restorers, contractors, etc. at our door (they pick up on fires by way of listening on scanners) jostling for chance to offer their services. The physical “recovery” from that event took well over a year and a half and was an adventure in itself. However, the pictures, family heirlooms, etc., that disappeared in the blaze are what hurt the most. Still, we are deeply grateful that, in the end, life was spared. Do thoroughly screen any of these companies catering to your situation and be careful in signing contracts with them. I ended having to retain an attorney to settle a dispute with one of these independent adjusters and the contractors they employed (although a good, qualified one can be helpful in dealing with your insurer). Take care.

  10. Sorry to hear of, and see you loss. Let me know if I can help.

  11. So sorry to hear this Jesus. Best of luck dealing with the re-building.

  12. The LAPD was actually also very quick to respond–it was a police officer who was driving by who first noticed the flames coming from the roof, pounded on my door and yelled at me to get out because there was a fire next door (and presumably called the fire department), since they arrived minutes after. If he wasn’t so quick, I probably would have slept as the fire continued to blaze through the attic from the next unit to mine…

  13. watch out for the scammers, we lived on Baxter St when a kitchen fire broke out.. within minutes the scammers were at the door so be carefull on who you talk to.. glad everyone is safe..

  14. So sorry to hear of your tragedy, Jesus, but as everyone said, it’s fortunate that no one was injured. Amazing those ‘ambulance chasers’ abound, though. And kudos to the LAFD & LAPD!

  15. Oh no! How surreal for you to have covered these kind of things for years and now to be covering a place that you own. I am sorry to hear about this, Jesus. So glad your tenants were not hurt. Hang in there and watch out for the vultures…

  16. Jesus, I’m sorry to hear about the fire, and glad that no one was hurt. I hope it’s repaired quickly.

  17. We had a major house fire 9 years ago. We experienced the same thing. Claims adjusters literally falling over themselves trying to be the first ones to give us a business card.

    I think the first thing to do is try to work with your insurance company as far as possible, but get educated as quickly as you can as to your coverage. Also, get an independent estimate on reconstruction costs, like from the contractor who you select (not just the claims adjuster hired by the insurance company).

  18. I hope the tenants are going to be covered.

  19. Sad to hear, but glad that no one was hurt. Good thing that you have insurance. In Angelino Heights we had a fire quite a few years ago, and there were at least 4 to 5 properties that burned. Only one person didn’t have insurance, and his property is the only one that hasn’t been repaired. I wish that I could help him, but I have never seen the owner. Good luck to you in the future! Hopefully you will be able to fix your property quickly.

  20. I am also sorry to hear about your loss. I do work for one of those “scammers” as we’ve been called and this is an unfortunate label that a reputable company must deal with due to the nature of our business. A Public Insurance Adjuster is regulated by the Department of Insurance of California and licensed and bonded and can only solicit from 8am to 6pm–I would say 80% of the firms are reputable and will undoubtedly get more money in the settlement than if you were to go it alone. The contractors sadly are in bed with a few of these firms and are not regulated by the same rules and can run the streets whenever they want, especially right after the fire in the middle of the night. This gives a bad taste in the mouth to homeowners/neighbors when a Public Adjuster approaches. Like any important decision in your life, please do due-diligence and check out companies and talk to references. There are bad apples in any business , including your friendly insurance company–they are a business and try to cut costs on your claim–if it weren’t true, i wouldn’t have a job and there wouldn’t be a Public Insurance Adjusting industry as an alternative. Please do your homework and I pray you no one has to deal with the tragedy of a fire loss in the future. Make sure you have good coverage and update your policy with your agent–they make mistakes all the time and I see hundreds of families a year left with nothing.

  21. I’m glad everyone’s OK but terrible news. I hope it all works out. And, needless to say once again, great reporting.

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