Residents displaced by Hollywood apartment fire scramble to find shelter after Red Cross aid ends

"The whole experience is like a bad nightmare," said one resident.

Leo Stallworth Image
Saturday, July 22, 2023
Residents displaced by Hollywood fire scramble to find shelter
Dozens of residents who were displaced due to a massive apartment fire in Hollywood last week have to find another place to stay after their Red Cross assistance ended.

HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Dozens of residents, many of whom are senior citizens, were displaced after a large fire ripped through two apartment buildings in Hollywood last week.

Many of them have been staying at a makeshift shelter set up by the American Red Cross but on Friday, they were told the shelter was shutting down.

"The whole experience is like a bad nightmare," said resident Andrew Cusimano.

Cusimano said during the fire, he immediately grabbed his dog and ran out of his apartment as heavy smoke engulfed the building on Hollywood Boulevard, located just a few miles from the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

"The smoke did get to me," he said. "It hasn't so far caused issues."

Other residents who were displaced include SAG-AFTRA members, who are currently on strike.

"Right now, I'm just trying to pick up the pieces," said one member. "I'm going to stay on the picket lines."

The shelter closed after it ensured the displaced residents could head to homeless shelters or somewhere else for housing. The Red Cross helped Cusimano find a new apartment, but he said the rent is too steep.

Displaced residents said in addition to feeling hopeless, they are outraged, claiming their apartment building was in such disrepair, not even the smoke detectors sounded off when the fire broke out.

"Each apartment had a smoke detector by the entrance doorway of each apartment, and the smoke detectors did not go off," said Cusimano.

With an uncertain future ahead, some residents broke down.

"I love these people and I'm very worried about them," said one resident who held back tears.

Eyewitness News asked the apartment manager about the residents' claims regarding the building's smoke detectors, but he did not issue a comment.