Downtown LA fire burns Little Tokyo Art Complex, prompting lawsuit

11 people are filing a lawsuit after they say the fire at the Little Tokyo Art Complex burned years of their work and supplies.
The Little Tokyo Art Complex had a fire a year ago that burned many artists' studios.

"As an artist whose work revolves around identity, I felt like 15 years of my life was erased in an instant," said artist Emily Eunnuri Lee Dobbs.

The artists say the fire erased years of their work and supplies.

"I came with the intention and I rented the studio space with the intention of making a lot of work and taking ownership of my space just like every artist does, right? For an artist, every brush stroke matters,"
said artist Jesse Fregozo.

Now, 11 artists who had spaces on the second and third floor of the building are coming forward to file a lawsuit against the building's owner, L for Lofts LLC, and Wilfred Yang, an agent.

"We filed the lawsuit in part to investigate why it exactly started. What we do know is that there was a major fire, maybe it started with an explosion early in the morning of the day of the fire. About 150 firefighters from the LAFD came out there and the fire basically burned through the entire building from the first to the third floor," said attorney Cyrus Shahriari.

Shahriari says if the building had certain fire prevention measures, the severity of the fire may have been different. At this time there isn't a specific dollar amount for the lawsuit.

"We're talking about tens and really hundreds of thousands of dollars in actual supplies that were lost for my clients," Shahriari said.

He says in their complaint, they mention a previous fire outside the building and he also says some of his clients raised specific concerns to the owners of building about fire measures.

Now, his clients say they're pushing forward but it hasn't been easy.

"You know when you're an immigrant you come and you start over all the time and I had to start over," said artist Hedy Torres.

We reached out to Yang for a comment but haven't heard back.

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