Police raided a vacant Hollywood building early Wednesday morning, detaining dozens of people who had been illegally living there.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, officers executing a search warrant at the building, located at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Cosmo Street, found 62 adults and four minors in the building, along with “guns and drugs.”
A tweet from the department shows images from inside the building, where occupants were apparently sleeping on cots and air mattresses, with access to basic electronic appliances.
City Attorney Mike Feuer said the building posed a “public safety threat,” and compared it to the Ghost Ship in Oakland, a warehouse which was operating as an unpermitted art gallery and venue until a fire broke out in 2016, killing 36 people.
“Our office continues to work to prevent a tragedy like the Oakland Ghost Ship fire from happening here,” said Feuer.
In collaboration with @lapdmetro SWAT Team, @LAPDHollywood served a search warrant this morning in #Hollywood. Multiple felony suspects arrested, illegal firearms & narcotics seized. We are constantly striving to improve quality of life & reduce crime in #Hollywood#CA. pic.twitter.com/di56xU8WG2
— LAPD HOLLYWOOD DIV. (@LAPDHollywood) September 13, 2018
Los Angeles officials began cracking down on warehouses and commercial buildings being used as illegal dwellings two years ago, shortly after the fire.
According to the Los Angeles Times, some occupants of the Hollywood Boulevard building had been paying up to $400 to live there—though it’s not yet clear who was collecting the money.
The city attorney last week filed 25 criminal charges related to building and fire code violations against property owner Mehdi Boulour, and could eventually file more, according to spokesperson Frank Mateljan.
The charges indicate that electrical wiring had been illegally installed within the building and that safety devices like fire extinguishers and smoke detectors were absent.
Boulour’s company, Denley Investments, owns several properties along the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Until earlier this year, the structure had housed the iO West comedy theater, which closed in February after 20 years in business. In 2015, the city revoked permits for a nightclub that had also operated in the building.
- After Oakland warehouse fire, LA to crack down on unpermitted dwellings [Curbed LA]
- In warehouse crackdown, LA says it wants to protect tenants [Curbed LA]
- City will pay relocation expenses for tenants evicted from unsafe buildings in DTLA [Curbed LA]