Southern California -- this just in

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

Hollywood arson spree: Ruin, wreckage at Jim Morrison's former home

December 30, 2011 |  1:06 pm

 Hours after an arson fire damaged the former home of Jim Morrison early Friday morning, the smell of smoke still hung heavy in the air.

A woman, identified by neighbors as the current owner, was seen moving some belongings and several bags of trash from the badly burned home at 8021 Rothdell Trail to a nearby truck. 

Firefighters first received reports of a car fire at 2:38 a.m. By the time they arrived, flames had destroyed a Mazda Miata and damaged a Ford Expedition, officials said. The fire then spread to a balcony near where the cars were parked and to other parts of the house, they said. 

Sandy Gendel, who owns Pace restaurant a few yards from the blaze, said he heard the sounds of explosions. He said he later learned it was the tires popping from the extreme heat.

Police are investigating the blaze as one in a string of deliberately-set vehicle fires in West Hollywood and Hollywood overnight. 

Residents in this canyon community are accustomed to the threat of wildfire, so when a bright orange glow was seen coming from the home, they sprung into action.  Neighbors went door to door, screaming for sleeping residents to evacuate. 

Kelly Smith, 24, and her boyfriend, Kelly Stevens, 25, said they were asleep when the commotion jolted them awake. The couple left through a side door but returned to grab a some personal belongings. Their home was not damaged.

Smith said they retrieved a laptop and a cheap "New Jersey mall ring" her grandmother gave her in the third grade.

"It wasn't traumatic, but it was sad," she said.

The shell of the burned cars remained outside Morrison's former home Friday morning, resembling junkyard scraps. Nearby, a large sign notified neighbors and passersby that the area is under 24-hour surveillance

Authorities said video security cameras may provide clues to solving the rash of arsons.


Officials seek tips after string of blazes

Hollywood arson fires: LAPD on alert after string of 19 incidents

Hollywood arson spree: Cars make easy fire targets, expert says

-- Ari Bloomekatz and Angel Jennings