VENICE (CBSLA) – Amid calls from residents to clean up Venice, the Los Angeles Fire Department is using a new rapid response vehicle to patrol the city.
Residents said they do not feel safe in Venice after a series of fires started near homeless camps, including one that killed a family dog.
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The new vehicle will respond to medical emergencies and small fires. Wednesday night, CBSLA got an exclusive ride-along in it.
It has been a week since FR-9 started its new route. It is a fully-equipped paramedic unit with a 150-gallon water tank. Because of its size, it can get to smaller fires or medical emergencies in the camps quicker than a larger engine.
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Residents on social media have been expressing their outrage by showing videos and pictures of tents, homes, and commercial buildings burning around Venice.
“I want to reduce that anxiety and the best way to do that is to do something so I’m not going to get into a finger-pointing on anything,” said Deputy Chief Armando Hogan, LAFD commander of Operations West Bureau. “And if people are uncomfortable, let’s see what we can do in the LAFD to add some comfort to it so at least they know we’re out there.”
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LAFD confirmed that in the past three years fires involving the homeless have tripled. More than half of all fire calls in LA so far in 2021 involve the homeless population.