Students celebrate UCLA men’s basketball win, start at least two fires
Hundreds of UCLA students celebrated Tuesday night’s UCLA men’s basketball victory in the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. On Roebling Avenue, students lit objects on fire, prompting a response from both the LAFD and LAPD. (Andy Bao/Daily Bruin staff)
By Bernard Mendez, Kari Lau, and Saumya Gupta
March 31, 2021 12:56 a.m.
Hundreds of students rushed to the streets of Westwood on Tuesday night after UCLA men’s basketball advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008.
Donned in UCLA merchandise, students swarmed the beer-can-riddled streets lighting fireworks, blasting music on sound speakers and setting a couch on fire. Many flouted social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines.
Students started at least two fires on Roebling Avenue. LAFD firefighters put out the first fire, but soon after extinguishing it and leaving, students lit a second fire. LAFD firefighters arrived again, this time with dozens of LAPD officers – some in riot gear – and put out the fire a second time. The LAPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Many in the celebrating crowds are not taking safety measures, such as wearing masks or practicing social distancing. Westwood has had 2,553 total COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday.
This tweet was updated. pic.twitter.com/5TlyO5c61b
— Daily Bruin (@dailybruin) March 31, 2021
Earlier in the night, No. 11 seed UCLA men’s basketball won in the Elite Eight over No. 1 seed Michigan, in a close 51-49 game. This is the first time the Bruins reached the Final Four since 2008.
UCLA will play undefeated No. 1 seed Gonzaga on Saturday.
Some stood on the tops of cars, while others jumped and fist-pumped in celebration of the victory. In a video obtained by the Instagram account @uclabarstool, a student in a Target cart rode down the street as spectators cheered them on. UCLA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
More than 100 students also gathered on Strathmore Drive and Levering Avenue. At one point, a student with a trumpet played the UCLA Fight Song to the delight of the crowd.
— Bernard Mendez (@bernardhmendez) March 31, 2021
This is not the first time students have lit fires in the streets of Westwood.
At a Roebling Avenue block party in 2019, students lit mattresses and cardboard on fire in the middle of the street. Police shut down the party after partygoers started multiple fires.
Contributing reports by Zoe Willoughby, Daily Bruin senior staff.