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Homeless Camp Fire and Homeless Man’s Death. Connected?

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A fire at a large homeless encampment on the 19300 block of West Nordhoff Street on December 6 needed 34 firefighters to extinguish it. 

The encampment was a three-story structure on the hillside with multiple rooms, all built one on top of one another.

The fire was reported at approximately 6 pm.

At 6:05 pm a Metrolink train struck and killed a man in the 8900 block of Corbin Avenue, just a block away from the encampment. The victim, identified as 50-year-old Michael Gershon, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Northridge residents point to the fire and the death as another tragic consequence of L.A.’s continuing homeless problem.

Randy Severino, a community activist, had sent a letter to Councilman John Lee in August to bring his attention to the Nordhoff shanty town. He told Valley News Group that Gershon allegedly committed arson at the camp, then ran from the scene and was struck and killed by the train.

Valley News Group reached out several times to LAPD’s Traffic Division, who is handling the investigation, to confirm the allegations, but they did not respond to inquiries. 

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