Long Beach firefighters knock down morning house fire

Long Beach firefighters knocked down a house fire near 11th Street and Loma Avenue on Sunday morning within minutes of arriving, according to fire officials.

Thirty firefighters responded to reports of a house fire with heavy smoke and fire coming through the attic around 8:40 a.m. Sunday, according to spokesperson Jack Crabtree. The fire damaged multiple rooms and the attic, but it was knocked down in five minutes, Crabtree said.

No injuries were reported.

According to neighbors, the elderly owner of the home died several months ago and the house has been vacant ever since. One neighbor, who identified herself as Karen and lives on the ground floor of an adjacent apartment building, said other neighbors pulled out hoses to douse the home before firefighters arrived.

As the neighbors tended to the fire, Karen said an unknown, disheveled woman was attempting to enter the house despite the visible flames. The woman fled on foot when firefighters arrived, Karen said.

Another neighbor, Jonathan Franco, said he woke up in the middle of the night to what he thought was the sound of a window breaking next door. Franco said it is common for people who are homeless to go into the backyard of the home.

Karen and her mother Maggie also said there have been issues at the house, even before the owner died. Maggie said she and other neighbors have called police multiple times over drug use and small fires in the backyard.

“We felt like this was going to happen eventually,” Karen said.

Both neighbors said they were worried the fire would spread to their building, with Karen noting their unit is only separated from the house by a narrow driveway and a bush.

Fire investigators are on the scene looking into the cause of the blaze, Crabtree said.

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Brandon Richardson is a business reporter, covering everything from real estate and healthcare to the airport and port to city hall and the economy. He is a Long Beach native who has been with the Business Journal since graduating from Long Beach City College in spring 2016 with an associate’s degree in journalism. He is an avid record collector and concert goer.