Fire erupts at SoHo; parking structure raise concerns on safety

Interim City Manager reported 50 occupants evacuated, and no injuries

The Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACFD) responded to a kitchen fire that broke out at SoHo House restaurant on Friday, Feb. 12, around 5 p.m.

According to city officials and members of the community, the fire department was able to respond to the incident; however, the parking lot made it difficult to access and extinguish the fire quickly.

Interim City Manager Steve McClary gave the city report during the City Council meeting on Feb. 14 and had building staff inspect the structure and said there was significant damage made.

“I saw the extreme number of emergency vehicles that responded to that, and yes, it was quite a large fire,” McClary said.

McClary said there were 50 occupants that were evacuated and no injuries reported.

“I want to thank the fire department for their tremendous response to get that under control,” McClary said. “I also want to thank the speakers who raised some concerns; we will be looking into that.”

Councilmember Karen Farrer said she drove by minutes before the fire happened and said the parking at SoHo house is concerning.

“The parking, not being able to get in there, is a concern, and on a Friday night, what else would we expect?” Farrer said. “I’m not sure how we’re going to deal with that, but it’s a dangerous situation.”

Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner witnessed the fire across his retail store and said the fire department response was timely; however, the parking made it difficult for Sheriff’s and LAFD to get to the fire inside the property. 

“What I witnessed was a difficult situation for both the fire service and the event; the sheriff had to deal with [the management] because the parking lot was overburdened by patrons,” Wagner said. “The response was there; they were timely, they had to use the ladder unit from 125 to service the roof on the SoHo house for the fire there because the parking lot was too full.”

Wagner said the fire was located in the roof between the ceiling and the HVAC unit.

“The sheriff was out trying to move the cars out to get the fire equipment in; it could’ve been a real ugly situation. Somebody needs to look into the parking situation at SoHo and Nobu, those are wood buildings, and they got lucky,” Wagner said. “Please have someone look at it.”

Planning Commissioner John Mazza spoke during the City Council meeting and said the matter is much more serious than usual.

“The Highway was closed; they had to fight the fire from the street, they had to bring a unit in from out of town because we don’t have tall buildings, so we don’t have those ladders,” Mazza said. “This all goes back to the fact that ten years ago, SoHo and Nobu we are busted for violating their CUP’s, and we had five hearings on it at the planning commission, and nothing was done about it.” 

The Malibu Times staff has reached out to the LAFD for updates but has not received a response by the time the paper went to print.

Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo is an inspiring photojournalist based in Los Angeles California. She began her journalism career at Pierce College Media Arts Department. Twitter @samanthavbravo

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