Homeless encampment fire spreads to Highland Park strip mall, destroying 2 businesses

An investigation was underway in Los Angeles' Highland Park neighborhood after a fire at a homeless encampment spread to a strip mall and destroyed businesses early Wednesday morning, fire authorities said.

Officials with the Los Angeles Fire Department said the fire started just after 2 a.m. on Avenue 61 and Figueroa Street. Firefighters at the scene said it appeared the fire started on the sidewalk where a homeless encampment was located.

"Somebody came to the fire station and rang the doorbell," LAFD Capt. Eddie Marez said. "We started off with a rubbish fire…and from there, the fire extended to the building."

Los Angeles City firefighters said when they arrived, the fire was raging and a row of various items such as tents, shopping carts and furniture were burning.

A flyer posted near the scene from the city of Los Angeles notified encampment residents the area was set to be cleared at 6 a.m. Wednesday and they were to remove their belongings. 

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A furniture staging company and a second business were destroyed in the blaze.

The fire has been knocked down and arson investigators were at the scene.