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High winds give scare to Echo Park residents in 100-year-old home

December 1, 2011 | 11:15 am

On Altivo Way at the top of Echo Park, Barbara Lempel and her neighbor Javier Fuentes-Leon on Thursday morning surveyed the night's damage, including an uprooted tree that had smashed onto another neighbor's deck.

Lempel and her husband were kept awake most of the night by banging doors and windows in their 1911, teal-colored wooden hilltop house, once home to singer Marilyn Horne and director John Houston, she said. They lost a window and got up to a house full of leaves and broken glass, she said.

"My husband and I were scared; my house is 100 years old and I was afraid it would blow away," said the 37-year-old high school teacher. Her fear was heightened as she gazed across Elysian Valley at Mount Washington and Occidental College, blackened by a power outage but with a small fire lighting up the campus.

Fuentes-Leon, a 43-year-old filmmaker, said the ridgetop street was often windy, but he had never seen anything like Wednesday night's lashing in his 13 years living in Echo Park. "Not this intense, not this long," he said. He and Lempel commiserated that more winds are apparently in store for this evening. Lempel found one small comfort though.

"Look at the hawks," she said watching two birds ride the air currents above the hill. "They're enjoying it."


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California windstorm: Widespread damage, more wind coming

-- Gale Holland in Echo Park