For many returning to Los Angeles from winter holidays or for those attempting to ring in the new year this past weekend, things were quite bittersweet. We spent time away in the desert, to come home to hear, “There has been a rash of fires all over your neighborhood.” It sounded like a joke, really, and like something that happened in Gotham City–not Los Angeles. You slowly started to realize that everything that was happening is really happening and that you just walked in on a big, frightening mess. We spent all yesterday scanning the news and, while walking to lunch yesterday, patrolled our neighborhood to see if there was anything suspicious running amok.
Living near Runyon Canyon, we were a little concerned. All Sunday and Monday, firetrucks were heard racing down the street every thirty minutes as helicopters seemed permanently positioned overhead. In the most striking event, we went for a walk down Fuller from Hollywood down to Fountain, to see about ten police cars stop traffic, zooming down Sunset Boulevard over the speed limit past Fuller to a circling helicopter above Vista or Gardner. We walked past the shops on South Sunset, between Poinsettia and Fuller, where there was police tape, police officers, and security roaming the sidewalk and congregating behind the building. We just thought it was some rallying point for the officers when, really, this was where the arsonist, Harry Burkhart, lived (according to KTLA).
Of course, the alleged arsonist has been captured and will appear before a judge tomorrow. We are at ease–but, that does not mean that it is over, though. Thankfully, nothing has happened since yesterday and we can all rest a little easier; however, be on the lookout and, if you see something, say something. The best way to get the word out is online: Tweet, Facebook–whatever you have to do to the expand the scope of your cry. The best people to contact are on Twitter and they are the LA Times, KPCC, Weho Daily, and–most importantly–Arson Watch LA, the Twitter backed by the LASD, LAPD, LAFD, LACoFD, and ATF task force on the subject. And, really, this is the biggest help, as the LA Times has stated and our very own Timothy Ragan affirmed (and was even quoted in the aforementioned article!).
Thus, keep your phones near you, your porch and carport lights on, your car doors secured, and make sure your neighbors do the same. If any weirdness is occurring, send out a message and call 911. Be sure to follow the interactive map for any news, which we hope there is no news. The main offender seems to have been taken down and no dumbasses have decided to copycat it. Let’s hope it stays that way.