Echo Park street hit by second car fire*


A car parked on Portia Street in Echo Park burst into flame early this morning a week after an SUV caught fire down the block.

Firefighters quickly put out today’s blaze, which was reported at about 2 a.m. in the 1300 block of Portia.  The cause of the fire was unknown but Capt. Armando Valencia with LAFD Station No. 20 told residents at the scene that the blaze appeared “suspicious.”

Some residents fear that the two vehicles were intentionally set on fire. In addition, several recycling and trash bins and mattresses have also been found burned on Portia and nearby streets in recent weeks. LAPD Senior Lead Officer Gina Chovan, however, told The Eastsider on Monday that the fire department did not view last week’s vehicle fire as an act of arson. While residents have seen scorched trash bins and mattresses, no reports have been filed with the fire or police departments, she said.

Portia Street residents expressed concern and frustration after once again being awakened in the middle of the night to find a car engulfed in flames.

Eli Glad said he heard a couple of booms and went out into the street to find  a Chevy Cavalier, owned by a friend who was staying with him, “fully ignited.”

Another resident said he was awakened by the sound of two booms and raised voices. “I thought it was a gunshot,” said the man, who saw smoke and embers when he looked out his window. He also said he saw a car traveling  in reverse down the street but it’s not clear if the occupants of the vehicle were involved with the fire or had simply been driving by.

“What can we do?,” asked one resident concerned about the potential for more fires.  But Valencia said that without a witness, it would be hard to catch the person involved if the fires had been set intentionally.

*Update:  Senior Lead Officer Chovan said that the fire department today assigned an arson investigator to look into the Echo Park fires.  Anyone who sees evidence of trash, mattress or any other fire is asked to report it to the police or the fire department.



  1. it;s probably the group of strung out portland white boys who continue to live in the park at scott just below portia. they are an entitled group of 19 year old idiots who yell at women and children walking in the park. the cops have run them out a couple times but they keep coming back (again entitlement). they have set numerous fires in the park and are serious pack rats with trash everywhere. the jackasses need to go back home to their mom’s house. if you walk down scott and turn on the fire road and look up their is all of their shit everywhere. from scott to academy and then back the other way behind the barlow cabins.

    • Echo Park resident

      Charlie! You need to call LAPD and LAFD as soon as possible and let them know these kids might be responsible!

      • i have called them three times in the last month. if more people call maybe we will get a patrol in the park once a month (one can only dream)

        • Charliep, I have not encountered white, 19 year-olds, in the area you mentioned but I have been calling regularly on the homeless encampments you described. The police have removed them a number of times but the camps return. A few months ago, two early mornings on the fire road between Scott and Douglas Street, where some of these homeless encampments have been located, I witnessed a 20-something hispanic man lighting pieces of cardboard on fire. When he saw me, he quickly put it out. There were a number of small fires in this area. All of this was documented and the police, Rec and Parks, and the council office were all notified. I hope the perpetrator is caught quickly!

  2. Yes, and lots of other transients around Scott and the park, sleeping there on a regular basis, trash accumulation. Shopping carts parked regularly around Scott and the park in the morning meaning people are sleeping in the park at night. “Canners” working the recycling bins constantly around here.

    I call the police often in EP, open liquor, drug use and noisy people hanging in and around cars a lot. Call the police anytime you see a suspicious person and especially if their openly drinking, drugs, etc.

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