Residents share concerns with charred home in West Hollywood; say homeless using it as 'drug den'

"We are affectionately calling it the hell house now," said one resident. "It has its own nickname."

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Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Residents share concerns with charred home in West Hollywood
Residents say homeless people have been using the building as a "drug den" and are demanding answers from the city on what's being done to stop it.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- Angry residents demanded answers at the West Hollywood City Council meeting Monday night over a vacant home that burned down Thanksgiving night.

The fire broke out at the home on N Sierra Bonita in West Hollywood's eastside.

Homeless people reportedly used it as a drug den for months, and residents say even after the fire, the charred remains are, once again, being used for the same purpose.

"We are affectionately calling it the hell house now. It has its own nickname," said West Hollywood resident Stefanie Lahart, who lives on the same street as the troubled home.

Lahart and other residents expressed their issues, saying they've been dealing with them for more than a year.

"People were coming in trespassing in the house, and we would hear screaming and yelling and fighting," said Lahart. "Neighbors were threatened all the time."

Dan Harrington-Tyrell, another West Hollywood resident, said homeless people are camping out on the property doing drugs.

Photos obtained by ABC7 show the property covered in trash and pieces of scattered furniture. They also show what's left of the burned and battered space

Several councilmembers said the structure has been red-tagged and said the city is taking more steps to further deal with the property. A block-by-block security ambassador now sits outside the property 24 hours a day, paid by the city of West Hollywood, but neighbors say that's not enough.

"I've lived in this neighborhood for 30 years, and to be a victim of this is terrifying," said Lahart. "I never had that experience in my life, to feel so powerless, and to feel like I could die tonight and nobody cared."

Councilmembers say they are in touch with the property developer, FMB Development, saying there's more action needed for the structure to be boarded up.

"It needs to be torn down," said Harrington-Tyrell. "The property needs to be completely leveled, and it needs to be some sort of fencing put up."

Eyewitness News reached out to the property owner but has not received a response.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.