Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

LAPD probes substandard construction in blaze that killed firefighter

GlenallenAn investigation into a fire last week at a Hollywood Hills home that killed an L.A. firefighter is focusing on questions about substandard construction and possible permit violations.

The investigation is being handed by the Los Angeles Police Department's Robbery-Homicide Division as well as the Fire Department's arson team and the Department of Building and Safety.

Sources told The Times that there is no evidence that the fire was intentionally set, but investigators are trying to determine whether the recently rebuilt house was constructed properly and in a sound and legal manner.

The 12,500-square-foot home in the 1500 block of North Viewsite Drive is surrounded by crime tape, with a police cruiser is parked in front to bar access to the property without police permission and supervision.

Firefighter Glenn Allen, 61, died last Friday of injuries he sustained when a water-soaked ceiling collapsed during a Feb. 16 blaze. Investigators believe the ceiling filled with water when the plastic pipe connected to a sprinkler system melted.

David Lara, a spokesman for the city's Building and Safety Department, said last week that investigators hoped to have preliminary findings this week on whether design and construction issues might have had anything to do with the ceiling's collapse.

It's unclear what that department found.

The home was intended for use in a reality show for German TV starring Heidi Klum in a knockoff of "America's Next Top Model."


Hollywood Hills mansion where firefighter died declared a crime scene

-- Andrew Blankstein and Howard Blume

Photo: Firefighter Glenn Allen. Credit: LAFD

Comments () | Archives (4)

The Building Inspector's report when the modifications were made should prove interesting.

If there was a bad call on the midfications, the charge will be involuntary manslaughter or manslaughter if the inspector should of know the neglect he was signing off.

This was a terrible trajedyt and my heart goes out to the brave firefighter who lost his life and those who were injured. However, the fire was an accident. I don't see why anybody should be charged with a crime. A house fire is inherently dangerous and the firefighters are well aware of the risks of trying to put it out. Even if the modification was illegal, who was to say the illegal modification caused the death?

Was there prohibited plastic pipe supplying water to the fire sprinkler system? If so, the house may be in violation of the building code.
Did this contribute to the conditions resulting in fatal injury to the firefighter?
If that can be proven then responsibility may lie with several people.
We are talking about "negligence" on the part of individuals who had knowledge or should have had knowledge of the prohibited plastic pipe.
Criminal negligence charges could be in store against contractors, inspectors, etc.

I will step out onto a loose limb here and offer a speculation.

This is about more than some plastic water pipe. Yellow tape means we have a crime scene investigation. L.A.F.D. lost a member of the family and will make darned sure it wasn't for the wrong reason.

My guess is a crime much graver than negligence is under investigation behind the yellow tape. Determination of that crime is separate from the question of building code violations. A firefighter was killed in the course of responding to that fire. If any person or persons facilitated the initiation of that fire under California law we have a Capital Murder case on our hands.

Any person who by their relation to the property might have a motive, financial or other, in torching that house is being looked at. And listened to.
Right now.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: