The Beverly Hills Fire Department is investigating the causes of two heavy fires that engulfed a pair of Beverly Hills residences on the morning of Feb. 3.
Neither fire caused any injuries to firefighters or civilians, according to Beverly Hills Public Information Manager Lauren Santillana.
The cause for both fires was still under investigation as of press time, according to Santillana, who provided detailed summaries of the incidents for the Courier.
At approximately 4:30 a.m. on Feb. 3, firefighters responded to a “heavy fire” at a “large two-story” property at 1003 Elden Way, a single-family home located north of Sunset Boulevard.
When firefighters arrived at the 5,000-square-foot property, flames were raging from the roof as well as from multiple openings at the home, which was described by a neighbor as undergoing renovation for the past year.
Arriving while it was still dark out, firefighters took “defensive action to contain the fire to the structure of origin and protect exposures,” preventing another fire from starting outside the house, the summary said. There were at least two fire department pickup trucks on the scene as well as multiple fire trucks. Firefighters attached hoses to their truck and laid the hoses along the quiet, residential street. The hoses sprayed water onto the home, which sits behind a gate. Yellow caution taped sealed the entrance of the home off from passersby.
The fire left “significant damage to the entire structure,” leaving much of the home blackened by the flames. As smoke billowed from the roof of the structure, authorities evacuated five nearby homes as a safety precaution, though none of the neighboring homes were in danger or suffered any damage.
Around 10:50 a.m. on that same Friday, firefighters responded to a separate blaze at 201 S. Swall Drive, a single-story, single-family residence near Charleville and Robertson Boulevards. Fire crews found the home’s attached garage ablaze in flames. The fire also reached an adjacent vehicle.
Fire crews arriving in the flats of Beverly Hills disembarked from their rig and readied several large hoses, which were used to extinguish the flames. Authorities’ response included making an “aggressive attack on the fire in the garage.” They found light smoke in the home and evacuated residents. They checked the attic to determine if the fire had spread to that area of the home, the report said.
The fire resulted in “significant damage to the garage and the exposed vehicle,” the summary said.
Los Angeles Fire Department and Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighters aided Beverly Hills fire crews that responded to the house fires. In both incidents, fewer than five minutes elapsed between the time of alarm and the arrival of the first responding unit on scene.
The Beverly Hills Fire Department routinely works in coordination with city and county firefighters in responding to local fires.
Joshua Johnston, the caretaker of the Virginia Robinson Gardens, lives two homes away from 1008 Elden Way. Early Friday morning, he was awoken by the commotion caused by the fire. When he went outside, he was shocked by what he saw.
“It was basically a torch coming out of the center of the home, straight up,” Johnston told the Courier.
The blaze, he said, was “large and uncontrollable,” lasting more than two hours. The fire began around 4 a.m., and the street did not reopen until around 11:30 a.m. Additionally, fire crews spent the next two nights at the property, “smoldering everything,” he said.
Johnson has lived in Beverly Hills for nearly 10 years. He’s long relied on the city’s emergency response services, always feeling safer knowing they were there ready to serve the city.
This situation, he said, proved no different.
“Beverly Hills Fire Department, they were on top of it,” Johnston said. “As always, there were top-notch emergency services by the fire department and anyone else involved. I’m always impressed by them. As the caretaker of the property here, I’ve had to call the city, and with their response time and professionalism, I can see why Beverly Hills is one of the best cities in the world.”