LOS ANGELES - A Studio City couple became the victims of suspected arson, but they say they have not been able to file a report with the Los Angeles Police Department nor the Los Angeles City Fire Department.
The incident happened Friday at around 10 p.m. at their home on Wrightwood Lane. David and Stacy Wilde said they had family over for dinner that evening.
"I said, ‘Let me walk you out.’ So we walked out through these doors and got halfway through the yard and he said, ‘There's smoke coming up,’ and I said, 'What?' We opened the door and we looked into the backseat of the car and the car was on fire and smoke was coming out through the windows and ceiling and I said, ‘We gotta call the fire department.’ In minutes, the car was in flames and at the same time, I heard this woman screaming from the street that the car was on fire," said David.
The couple's home surveillance video shows flames illuminating through the opaque front doors that blocked the entrance to the home. The car was destroyed and the fire left thousands of dollars in damage.
David called the Los Angeles City Fire Department.
"I just got on the phone and called the fire department and then I took another look to see what was going on and it was bad. The flames were like 15 feet high in the air and I could see the car was finished," said David.
Stacy and David said a group of neighbors stepped in to help put out the flames with water hoses.
"Really, they're the angels who really got the fire out," said Stacy.
Stacy said fire officials arrived at their home about 15 minutes after the incident, and deemed it arson. However, the officials did not take a report.
"We love LA. We came here from the east coast and it was a dream to be here in the business and this is our dream. We love it here and that's why we wanted to get our story out. Things happen. It's crazy times in the big city so it's not so much the incident [itself]. The incident happens, we understand that. It's the fact that the fire department didn't take the report, which is odd and the whole time I was on the phone with police," said Stacy.
Stacy detailed her phone call with LAPD.
"You call the police and they ask if you are mortally wounded. I said no, and boom, before I got the no out, I'm on an answering machine, and I'm in the loop and it took 45 minutes for a dispatcher to pick up the phone and I told them what happened and they said, that's not our jurisdiction," said Stacy.
Stacy said she was told to contact LAFD's Risk Management Department, and police gave her an incident number to give to LAFD.
"I get up the next day to call the fire department, and it goes straight to voicemail, and says, ‘Due to the COVID emergency, we are closed, please file online.’ OK, fair enough. I go online and online has a different story and this is where I get a little suspicious. The story is due to budgetary constraints, we are closed indefinitely. There is absolutely nobody to report it to," said Stacy.
Stacy said she started calling a series of numbers of police officers within the department, and all of their voicemail boxes were full.
"The fact that something like this happens and could endanger a community to this extent and it's unreportable. We don't know what to do. I want them [officials] to tell us what to do. I want somebody to call. I want someone on the city council, Paul Krekorian, to call me," said Stacy.
FOX 11 contacted LAPD and LAPD officials said normally LAFD would alert the police and either their officers or LAFD would send their own team to investigate further.
LAFD officials told FOX 11 they don't normally conduct arson investigations for car fires without injuries, and added those incidents are normally handled by insurance after the fact unless there's solid evidence like a clear photo of a suspect in the case. In that case, there's a possibility an investigation would be started. However, LAFD said their arson department is small, and doesn't normally handle cases like that of the Wilde's.
FOX 11 contacted Krekorian's office for comment late Monday evening and has not yet received a response.
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