Two dead in Echo Park apartment fire

mapTwo people were killed and 25 were left homeless after fire ripped through an Echo Park apartment house shortly after midnight , according to L.A. Now.  An elderly female and a man in his 20s were found dead inside in the building in the 1000 block of Bonnie Brae Street.

Deputy Fire Chief Mario Rueda told LoudLabs News that at least one person jumped from the second floor of the burning 11-unit apartment building that was fully involved in flames when firefighters arrived.  Investigators were looking at the possibility the fire may have been arson related and were using dogs to search for substances that may have been used to start the fire, according to a City New Service reported in the Daily News.

“An entire floor disappeared in a matter of 3 minutes,” said Benjamin McCormick, who shot a video of the fire  from his apartment balcony several blocks away. “It seems that the firefighters realized that the fate of the building was a forgone conclusion, because they stopped trying to combat the blaze directly, and trained their hoses on the neighboring properties instead.”


  1. Any confirmation to the report that accelerant may have been used? RIP to those who passed and best wishes to those who lost their home.

  2. How can we help those who lost their homes with donations, clothes, etc? Who or what organization is coordinating that?

  3. I think due to RSO regulations, the landlord is somehow still responsible for providing them housing.. As awful As that sounds

  4. Echo Park resident

    We heard the sirens last night and figured something was happening nearby. Hopefully this loss prompts a city-wide investigation into these very illegal multi-unit dwellings. A 100 year old single family home is only meant to house one family — not hold 11 apartments.

  5. I’m willing to be corrected, but neither of the two articles linked (LA Times and Daily News, including the KTLA video) says this. I don’t live nearby, so I don’t have firsthand knowledge, but the building does not look much like a converted house. What did I miss?

    • Perhaps the original poster was mistaken about the source, but they are right. The Eastsider follow up says this:

      “The department was also reviewing to see if the structure was in compliance with building and fire codes, said LAFD spokesman Jamie Moore said. The century-old home was originally built as a four-bedroom house but had been carved up into 11 apartments, some as small as only 200-square-feet without bathrooms or kitchens, he said.”

  6. My friend actually lived in those apartment structures …..while the house in the back is the original Victorian that caught fire, there are two other structures in the front separate from the back house. I believe each structure had about 3-4 apartments per building and they were pretty large actually, Thats what they meant about 11 apartments collectively. I dont know if they were up to code, but despite the outside looking a little shabby they were really quite nice and I was considering moving into the huge 1 bedroom next to my friend since they were reasonably priced for that part of Echo Park. I believe though that all old buildings though will have some sort of fire risk, but this apparently was a fire set intentionally not because it was some sort of shoddy electrical work. My condolences to those who lost their loved ones and their home. The people that lived there were just really nice families and the cutest nun which Im sure some have seen walking around the neighborhood.

    • It appears the home itself was carved up into tenement-like apartments without kitchens, etc. That fact came from a fire department statement. Your friend’s apartment in the front building might be tolerable, but the old home sounds anything but.

      I wonder if the house had any original features left? If so, that’s a shame — but it looks to have been stuccoed and gutted decades ago. Hopefully we find out what happened.

  7. i teach at sandra cisneros learning academy where 7 of the victims attend school. please donate to this link: http://www.gofundme.com/5r9vw4. our office manager set up this site to raise money for the 5 families at our school that live in this complex.

    we are trying to raise at least $500 / family that faced this tragedy. they are in need of clothes and other necessities. feel free to share this link with others who are looking to help!

  8. bonnie brea resident

    I live in a carved up victorian further up the street and this makes me very nervous. I was saddened and frightened to hear that two people lost their lives. This is the second victorian on the street to go up in less than a year. They seem to be tinder boxes so they burn very quickly. Should the fire department start to inspect similar structures in the area for fire safety?

  9. Ok were do i start !!
    First the original owner died years ago, i believe they are banked owned now.
    My father managed those buildings from 1977 to 1999. An it is in my beliefe that if my father was still thier everybody would have made it out. Those building have an interesting story behind it, that many people may not know. Only the people that lived there around those years know.
    And if it really was set intentionally they need to look into the name of “Mercedes Posada”.

    The building is originally a Hotel converted in to small single apartments.
    2 nd floor had 5 apartments , 1st floor had 6 aprtments. 1 apartment outside and a little small house in the back . Wene my father was their the metal bars were able to be open from the inside like they are supposed too. My father was very sad wene we herd the news especially knowing that one of the people he new passed away. For those who lived in those years know who i am an who my father was.
    Rest in peace Rosa Amaya

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