Brentwood high-rise fire comes after owner sued for negligence

Douglas Emmett had settled case regarding Barrington Plaza one year earlier

Jan.January 29, 2020 11:45 AM
A Brentwood fire came at Douglas Emmett owned building
A Brentwood fire broke out at Douglas Emmett-owned Barrington Plaza in Brentwood

UPDATED, 1:07 p.m., Jan. 29: A fire at a Douglas Emmett Inc.-owned Brentwood high-rise Wednesday has left at least eight people injured, and it comes one year after a lengthy lawsuit regarding the buildings’ fire safety protocols settled.

The blaze started at the sixth floor of 25-story Barrington Plaza at 11740 Wilshire Blvd. this morning, according to the city of Los Angeles Fire Department.

A report in the Los Angeles Times said that eight people were injured in the fire, including a three-month-old infant, with the Fire Department combing through the scene in search of other potential victims.

The Times also reported that the Fire Department retracted an earlier statement that people reportedly jumped from the sixth floor in order to escape the conflagration.

This is not the first fire at Barrington Plaza.

Douglas Emmett, a Santa Monica-headquartered real estate investment trust with large multifamily holdings  throughout Los Angeles, was sued in 2014 after a Barrington Plaza fire one year earlier that injured two people and displaced 150 residents.

According to Los Angeles County Superior Court records, the lawsuit filed on behalf of tenants by high-wattage plaintiffs’ attorney Mark Geragos assailed Emmett for deficient fire alarms, an intercom system that was “defective or not utilized” per the complaint, and a non-existent sprinkler system.

The case wound its way through the court for five years, even reaching a jury trial before settling in January 2019, right before jurors were set to return their verdict form.

Whether the civil lawsuit prompted safety changes at the Barrington Plaza is unclear; a message left with Douglas Emmett Wednesday morning was not immediately returned.

The company later responded with a statement that read in part: “Our deepest sympathies go out to all who have been impacted by today’s fire. Our priority is the safety and well-being of our residents who live in Barrington Plaza. For safety concerns, all residents who live in Barrington Plaza, Tower A will not be able to return to their units today. In order to accommodate residents who have been displaced, we have reserved a block of hotel rooms at local area hotels and residents have been contacted individually with this information.”

This story was updated with a statement from Douglas Emmett.

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