Fire Investigators are trying to determine what caused a Sunday night fire in Studio City. The massage parlor that burned is owned by the same man who ran controversial ads for a topless maid service emblazoned on hot pink vans and parked on the street. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Studio City for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Oct. 15, 2012.
A quiet Sunday night was suddenly disrupted along Laurel Canyon Boulevard when firefighters were called to the scene of a smoky blaze.
It took 55 freighters to douse the fire. Investigators said it seems to have started in the attic of a massage parlor that shares space with a liquor store near Laurel Canyon and Moorpark.
No one was injured in the fire. Arson investigators were called to the scene to figure out what caused the blaze.
Takeshi Hamagaki owns a dance studio nearby. He says the fire was the latest in a string of unpleasant incidents involving the massage parlor and its owner, Sam Ammari. And Hamagaki says he'd like to see something change.
"Close down that place and leave," he said.
The last time Ammari made headlines it was because of something that happened on the Ellen Degeneres Show. She and guest Matthew Perry called the number listed on a "Topless Maid" service ad that appears on one of Ammari's controversial rolling billboards.
By the time viewers on the East Coast called the number, it had somehow been diverted to the office of Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian.
Those calls clogged Krekorian's office phone line for hours. The Councilman said, through an aid, that the stunt hurt his ability to serve constituents.
Ammari's various businesses, which advertise on vans and trailers, are in violation of a Los Angeles city ordinance, officials said. That's what apparently started an ongoing feud between Ammari and city leaders.
Now, Ammari has sued the city over the restrictions, which have sent several of his rolling billboards out of Los Angeles, some carrying unflattering messages about city leaders, including Krekorian.
But does any of this have anything to do with the Sunday night fire? It's a question fire investigators and even Krekorian's office would like to see answered.
Ammari's attorney told NBC4 he hadn't heard about the fire until he was contacted. Ammari had no immediate comment.