Barrington Plaza resident takes legal action
By Sam Catanzaro
A tenant of a Brentwood-area high-rise that caught fire last week has filed suit alleging that the building’s owner was negligent.
According to the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), on January 29 a fire was reported at 8:37 a.m. on the 7th floor of a 25-story residential high-rise complex know as Barrington Plaza located at 11740 Wilshire Boulevard.
Two firefighters sustained injuries battling the fire. According to Scott, they suffered minor burns and were treated and transported to a local hospital.
The LAFD treated 11 civilian patients. Seven were transported to a local hospital – including a 3-month-old child – while four were treated and released on the scene. One 19-year-old male died from smoke inhalation and burns.
Following the fire, a tenant filed a suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleging that the company that owns the building, Douglas Emmett Inc., was negligent in failing to install sprinklers and perform other fire safety improvements.
“For years, tenants of Barrington Plaza Apartments have pleaded, warned and fought with Douglas Emmett … about a seemingly straightforward issue: Barrington Plaza is unacceptably, illegally and fatally unsafe from fires,” reads the suit brought on behalf of tenant Charles Agozino and asks the court to permit a class action.
Brentwood News contacted Douglas Emmett for comment but the company could not immediately be reached.
According to the LAFD, high rises in the City of Los Angeles are inspected annually. Barrington Plaza was last inspected in June 2019 and was up to code, says Scott.
The 25-story building had no sprinklers, even though the same building burned almost seven years ago.
Barrington Plaza is one of 55 non-sprinkler-ed high-rises in LA. All of these were built prior to 1974 and therefore the LAFD says they are not required to have sprinklers.
Councilmember Mike Bonin, who represents the area, has introduced legislation to LA City Council that would require older residential high rises to be retrofitted to have sprinklers and other fire safety precautions.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.