Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Alexandria House – Rebuilding One Year Later

An entire new roof has been installed at Alexandria House after it was damaged in a fire one year ago. All the materials and labor were donated, thanks to the efforts of the National Women in Roofing, a longtime community partner of Alexandria House. (Photo by Quinn Lanza)

One year ago, on March 19,  at 3:00 a.m., one of the residents at Alexandria House was downstairs in the kitchen making a bottle for her baby. She heard the smoke alarm and noticed the smell of smoke. Quickly, she woke up all the other residents, allowing everyone to rush out of the house, grabbing whatever they could as firefighters rushed to the scene. The fire started on the 2nd floor of the large green craftsman home, a transitional residence for women and children, and spread to the 3rd floor before it was extinguished. When news of the fire spread, we reported on the outpouring of support from the community for this beloved charity with deep roots in the community.

As she drove into work that morning, Michele Richards, Development Director for Alexandria House, told the Buzz she stopped at the Karsh Center at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, where Hancock Park resident and Karsh Center board member Dena Bloom had arranged for Lila Guirguis, Executive Director of the Karsh Center, to load Richards’s car with immediate supplies like diapers, food, toy, books, toiletries, clothes, etc,. temporarily replacing much of what residents lost just hours before in the fire. Richards shared the following video created byAyu Logan, a young filmmaker, with a grant from The Women Excel Project, which is funded by The XX Foundation. The video tells the story of the fire from the perspective of former resident Jamese Banks.



With the fire out and everyone safely relocated into temporary space, staff at Alexandria House turned to their community partners to help with the task of repairing the damaged Craftsman home. Among those who stepped up to help were the National Women in Roofing, a networking organization of women in a traditionally male industry, founded less than ten years ago in Los Angeles. Every year, the group hosts a summer kickoff barbecue for residents. (Thanks to Maria Alcala for the photos below.)



NWIR member Careylyn Clifford’s company, Supreme Roofing, provided an estimate to repair the damaged roof or replace the entire roof.  And once her colleague, Maria Alcala, one of the founders of NWIR, heard about the fire, she decided to try raise the funds to replace the entire roof.  Alcala, whose company SRS Distribution/Roofline Inc., serves as a distributor, set to work to find companies willing to donate the materials. Then she found Final Touch Construction in Fontana, which agreed to donate all the labor.  In all, Alcala secured $70,000 of material and labor donations, enough savings to allow Alexandria House to install a full  bathroom, so now the house has 3 and one half baths, making life just a little more convenient for its 32 residents.

“IKO donated all the shingles; Bay Cities, in Gardena, supplied all the metal on whatever we needed for the roof; 30 roof vents were donated by O’Hagin; and the peak of the roof was donated by Innovate,” Alcala told the Buzz. “Everyone has been a supporter of Alexandria over the years, but the construction company who provided all the labor, insurance, etc. Final Touch Construction, in Fontana, is our real hero.”


Final Touch Construction in Fontana donated all the labor for the new Alexandria House roof. (photo by Quinn Lanza for Alexandria House)


Coincidentally the roof should be complete today. But Alcala isn’t stopping there. She told us she plans to give the residents a housewarming gif,t and recently learned her corporate office would match any donations. So far she’s raised $6,000.

“I can’t wait to go to shopping!” Alcala told us. “I just want to load up the carts with everything the residents need.”

There’s more to the story of rebuilding Alexandria’s green Craftsman house, which should be complete in late May or early June. Look for more stories that highlight the generosity of local community partners who have enabled Alexandria House to serve so many residents on their modest budget of $1.6 million. Until our next story, please visit Alexandria House for more information.


All the shingles for the new roof were donated by IKO (photo by Quinn Lanza for Alexandria House)


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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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