Roebling block party sees multiple blazes as firefighters, law enforcement respond
Students started two fires at Friday night’s Roebling block party. (Anika Chakrabarti/Assistant Photo editor)
This post was updated Oct. 3 at 11:39 p.m.
Two fires broke out on Roebling Avenue on Friday night after several individuals lit cardboard boxes and furniture on fire.
Several cardboard boxes were initially lit on fire around 11 p.m. on Friday as thousands gathered on the street.
The fire quickly grew in size as students began adding furniture to it. Students then started jumping through the fire.
UCPD started patrolling Roebling Avenue as early as 10:30 p.m. before the first fire was lit.
At 11:02 p.m., individuals carried two chairs over and added them to the fire, creating more smoke. A wooden table and other furniture were also added to the fire.
The crowd continued to grow with individuals shouting expletives such as “Fuck ‘SC.”
A UCPD car arrived at 11:06 p.m. and a Los Angeles Fire Department truck followed shortly thereafter.
Some individuals resisted clearing the area for the fire truck. LAFD extinguished the first fire at 11:09 p.m.
The area remained crowded with music still playing as of approximately 11:12 p.m. Two UCPD cars blocked additional traffic from entering through the intersection of Levering and Roebling avenues.
Shortly after LAFD left, a second fire was started at 11:15 p.m. using cardboard boxes and additional furniture including wooden chairs and a table.
Several individuals set off car alarms.
The crowd chanted the same expletives as the new fire grew. Individuals proceeded to dance and jump over the growing fire.
An electric rental scooter was added to the fire at 11:25 p.m., along with a Target shopping cart, leading to sparks and small explosions.
Two more electric scooters were added later in the night and fireworks were set off as the fire reached its peak.
Around 11:40 p.m., LAFD returned to the scene and extinguished the second fire.
LAPD cars passed through Roebling at 11:54 p.m. Police cars then blocked the street at the intersection of Landfair and Roebling avenues.
Around midnight, LAPD officers began restricting individuals from entering Roebling. UCPD officer Adrian Anderson said as of 12:12 a.m. that UCPD was monitoring the area. UCPD then dispersed the crowd by 1 a.m.
Nicholas Prange, an LAFD spokesperson said firefighters responded to a rubbish fire on the west side of Roebling Avenue. One engine was at the scene, he added.
LAPD did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Shane Hixon, a fourth-year economics and sociology student, said the event planners used a system to publicize the party without social media to avoid police scrutiny prior to the event.
Helen Gunn, a fourth-year psychology student, said she found out about the Roebling event from a written note on her Duffl delivery earlier.
“I’m a senior, I’ve been here for a while and I’ve never seen the fire this bad before,” she said. “I feel like this is kind of crazy because last quarter it was small enough that students could jump over it.”
Contributing reports from Justin Jung and Victoria Li, Daily Bruin senior staff.