Community rallies to help residents displaced by massive condo building fire in Lomita

A nearby church has even offered to pay for hotel rooms for the next two weeks.

ByTim Caputo KABC logo
Tuesday, April 2, 2024
Community helps residents displaced by condo building fire in Lomita
A nearby church has even offered to pay for hotel rooms for the next two weeks.

LOMITA, Calif. (KABC) -- Days after a massive fire ripped through a Lomita condominium building, dozens of displaced residents are looking for a new place to call home.

Thankfully, their neighbors have quickly stepped in to help.

Destructive fire over Easter weekend

The fire was reported at 6:42 p.m. Saturday at the building in the 2100 block of Palos Verdes Drive North. It spread quickly, damaging all 25 units of the building.

Now, 30 people now have nowhere to live. Some of them lost everything they owned, but a selfless group of neighbors has already taken action.

"I don't know what they need but I've got blankets, and I've got sheets and I've got clothes," said Leticia Lomeli, who took time to donate many items.

With a truck full of clothes, Sabrina Stephens and her family showed up to the San Pedro Elks Lodge on Cumbre Drive Monday, donating practically everything but the shirts off their backs.

"I feel really bad for all those people," she said. "If something happened to me, I would hope people would be like, 'Hey, let me help them.' So I brought all the stuff from my kids, from the community ... we're going to get stuff from my husband's family tomorrow in L.A. We told them about it, so they're going to donate stuff, too."

The Elks Lodge said it would be accepting clothes, blankets and toiletries all week.

"We had a call [Sunday] that they were wanting to do a drive, to get clothing or whatever the people need that were left destitute out of their homes," said San Pedro Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler Kim White. "Of course, we said yes. We serve the community."

Church helps pay for hotel rooms

Meanwhile, the Rolling Hills Covenant Church, which sits on the other side of some hedges of the condo building, is also stepping up.

The fire caused the church to lose its power, a seemingly major setback during the busy Easter weekend. But not only did services continue, the church shifted its focus, showing love for their neighbors by paying for hotel rooms for those in need for the next two weeks.

On Monday night, 13 rooms were occupied.

Fourteen condos were destroyed in Saturday's fire with the remaining 11 sustaining anywhere from minor to major damage. No injuries were reported, but dozens of lives did change in an instant.

It's exactly why people wasted no time giving whatever they could, hoping it makes even a small difference.

"Are you kidding me? Losing everything you have? ... It just touched my heart," said Lomeli.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.