Early Wednesday around 1 a.m., Eagle Rock resident Herb West was awakened by the sound of fire truck sirens. West, who lives on W. Avenue 40, close to Round Top Drive, looked out of his house and saw fire engine lights flashing in the vicinity of the 2 freeway nearby.
“I thought it must be a car accident,” said West, who’s a professional photographer. “But at 1 o’clock in the morning I wasn’t too excited to check out what was going on.”
Later in the morning, however, West grabbed his camera and went to the scene of the previous night’s commotion, which happened to be under a bridge through which Round Top Drive weaves westward under the 2 freeway.
When he got there, he found the charred remains of a pick-up truck that had evidently caught fire. Strewn around the vehicle was an abandoned mattress and trash that ranged from fast food boxes and electronic items to a six-pack case of beer and plastic containers in which medical marijuana is dispensed. (See photos above.)
'Parking, Partying, Drug Use And Car Sex'
“This place is just a breeding ground for people who do bad things under the bridge,” West told Eagle Rock Patch, adding: “In the past few weeks, there has been lots of parking, partying, drug use and car sex in the area. It has been increasing over the last couple of months, it seems.”
Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey confirmed that the LAFD got a call about the burning truck near the 4500 block of Round Top Drive at 12:32 a.m. and that several passersby or witnesses had called 911 about the fire.
When two fire trucks from LAFD Station 50 on Fletcher Drive arrived on the scene, firefighters saw the truck engulfed in flames, Humphrey said. The fire was put out quickly—and there were no injuries caused to anyone on the site, Humphrey said, adding that by 1 a.m. the LAFD had informed the Department of Transportation about the incident and requested that the truck be towed away. (At least as of noon on Wednesday, the truck was still there.)
Panoramic View—Marred by Trash
West and many of his neighbors, some pushing babies in strollers, walk up the hill leading from the sidewalk near the 2-freeway bridge. “Round Top Drive offers a great panoramic view once you get through the garbage at the bottom,” he said, adding, tongue-in-cheek: “We consider the hike up to be the ‘poor man's Stairmaster’—great exercise, great view.”
West immediately emailed field deputies and other officials in the office of , who, he said, responded promptly. One of them, Nate Hayward—with whom West had been in touch regarding the public nuisance under the 2 freeway bridge—replied back, saying that he had driven by under the bridge just the previous afternoon and noticed trash along the sidewalk.
CD 14 Office Responds
In his email to West, Hayward said he would arrange for Street Services workers to clean up the trash and that he has also contacted LAPD’s Senior Lead Officer Craig Orange, who is in charge of public safety in Eagle Rock, to “get information about all calls for service relating to that area.”
Hayward said the CD 14 office has already submitted a request to the Department of Transportation to paint the curbside under the 2-freeway bridge in red color, as West had suggested, to keep vehicles from parking there at all hours.
Further, wrote Hayward in his email to West, “I would like to organize a community meeting within the next few weeks” as soon as information from the LAPD about public calls for services in the area becomes available.