LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles city firefighters battled a blaze early Monday that started next to the 405 Freeway and Getty Center Drive, prompting evacuation orders and closing the freeway to traffic.
A witness notified the California Highway Patrol at 1:32 a.m. of a fire starting on the hillside close to the freeway with a possible power line on fire, the CHP reported. The CHP shut down northbound and southbound 405 Freeway lanes and all offramps from Sepulveda to Sunset boulevards on the northbound side.
As of 4:15 a.m., the CHP was asking motorists to avoid the 405 Freeway:
SIGALERT UPDATE*: S/B I-405 AT GETTY CENTER DRIVE, (CLOSURE INFO) S/B SKIRBALL OFFRAMP, S/B SEPULVEDA BLVD. OFR, S/B SUNSET BLVD. OFR, GETTY CENTER DRIVE OFR, AND MULHOLLAND DRIVE OFR WILL BE CLOSED DUE TO BRUSH FIRE DRIVERS SHOULD AVOID I-405 FREEWAY
— CHP PIO – LA County (@CHPsouthern) October 28, 2019
Video of the fire posted on Twitter showed a long ridge of flames on the hill near the freeway.
At around 2:45 a.m., the Los Angeles Fire Department sent L.A. residents messages on their cell phones, accompanied by what some described as very loud buzzing noises. It said: “Emergency Alert. Prepare to evacuate due to fire near the Getty going W. More info: lafd.org/alerts .” A subsequent message included orders to actually evacuate.
— LAFD (@LAFD) October 28, 2019
The fire department ordered mandatory evacuations from the southbound 405 Freeway to Mandeville Canyon and ordered students to evacuate from Mount Saint Mary’s University at 12001 Chalon Road. Evacuations were also ordered for 200 people in a care facility next door.
An evacuation center was soon open at the Westwood Recreation Center at 1350 S. Sepulveda Blvd., near Wilshire Boulevard.
Another evacuation center opened at the Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Recreation Center at 14201 Huston St. in Sherman Oaks.
“This is a very dynamic situation due to high winds and information is quickly developing. Stay vigilant,” LAFD spokeswoman Margaret Stewart wrote on Twitter.
The fire was believed to have been 3 to 4 acres when first observed and but soon spread to about 40 acres. By 3:30 a.m., it was reported at 75 acres.