The City Council unanimously passed an emergency motion Wednesday calling on the Department of Building and Safety to expedite permit reviews for property owners trying to rebuild carports and buildings damaged by the series of more than 50 arson fires over the New Year weekend.
City Councilman Tom LaBonge, whose district was hit hardest by the fires, introduced the motion. It was seconded by Councilman Paul Koretz, whose district was also impacted.
Councilmen Eric Garcetti's and Paul Krekorian's districts were also affected.
"It's a shock when you're a victim of a crime," LaBonge said. "People were not expecting it. It's not like there was a rain storm, and mud came out of the mountains. This was an attack."
and remains in custody without bail in downtown Los Angeles on suspicion of arson in connection with the fires set beginning early Thursday at 53 locations, mostly in Hollywood and West Hollywood but also in North Hollywood, Burbank and Sunland.
In many instances, fires that started in carports raced to adjoining apartment buildings. The property damage resulting from the fires has been estimated at $3 million. One firefighter and a civilian suffered relatively minor injuries.
Building and Safety spokesman Dave Lara said the department plans to do all it can to speed up review of permit requests. He said he also expects property owners to request existing building records in order to file claims with insurance companies.
"And when it comes time for the inspection process, we'll try to help them with that as well," Lara said.