Several abandoned buildings at the historic Los Angeles County Poor Farm were destroyed by fire Wednesday night, fire departments said.
At least five agencies responded and the fire was contained in buildings on the vacant south campus of the county's public rehabilitation hospital, the Downey fire department announced early Thursday.
Responding units found a single-story, abandoned commercial building engulfed in flames on the south side of the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, once known as the Los Angeles County Poor Farm, said Doug Ulibarri, a spokesman for the Downey Fire Department.
The cause wasn't immediately known.
The sprawling campus opened in 1888 as the Los Angeles County Poor Farm, offering ranch work and medical care to disabled, ill, elderly and homeless people. It was eventually renamed Rancho Los Amigos and operated as a hospital for chronic illnesses until the 1950s, when a polio epidemic turned it into a rehabilitation center, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The property’s more than 200 acres are split by Imperial Highway. The county-run hospital specializing in spinal injuries and stroke rehabilitation is on the north side, while Poor Farm structures have stood empty on the south.
This is at least the third fire to destroy historic structures on the south campus in recent years.