Fire on Beverly Hills High School’s Campus Draws Concerns About Purple Line Construction


By Alex Martinez

Beverly Hills High School is an excellent school where over one thousand students spend their day learning and engaging in extracurricular activities. Earlier this month, summer break ended and Beverly Hills High School opened its doors for the first day of the new school year. But something else happened that same week that alarmed students, teachers, and parents. 

Beverly Hills High School students started on August 13th and two days later an oil rig fire broke out on the school’s campus, specifically the baseball diamond next to the football field. The fire sent heavy black smoke up into the air and the surrounding area. The smoke was so bad that an oil rig worker was injured and traffic had to be rerouted from the nearby highway. Thankfully, the Beverly Hills Fire Department and Beverly Hills Police responded to the fire on campus to contain the situation as quickly as possible. The fire was caused by the company that is attempting to plug and clean up the oil wells that lie beneath the school. 

And what’s even more concerning is the possibility of this dangerous situation happening again due to the Los Angeles Metro’s Section Two Purple Line Extension. The construction of the extension will tunnel through this dangerous unmapped oil field that’s filled with pockets of deadly methane gas. The original plan presented to the public is not where construction is currently taking place because the Section Two extension was moved 800 feet from the public right away and is now located at the fence line of Beverly Hills High School. 

How are students supposed to feel safe in their public high school knowing that a fire may break out at any time due to construction through the unmapped oil wells?  

The Los Angeles Metro’s Purple Line extension has also caused grave concerns for many California residents like Lisa Korbatov, a conservative activist who voiced her opposition to the project through the “Stop the Purple Threat” campaign.  Section Two of the Purple Line extension was a boondoggle from the start. The project is, at a minimum, $400 million over budget. And this overblown budget is at the expense of hard-working Californians. 

How is Los Angeles County and our California state officials allowing this clearly dangerous and costly project to continue? The Section Two extension needs to end now. If our local leaders won’t stand up for what’s right, I hope our President Donald Trump and his Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao will and pull funding from the Purple Line. He has pulled funding from wasteful transportation projects in the past and this one is no different. 

On top of the modernization construction that is taking place on the once beautiful (now almost 100-year-old) campus and the plugging and capping of oil wells, Los Angeles Metro now wants to lay down heavy rail in a high school built on an oil field in earthquake country. Let’s hope funding is quickly pulled from the Purple Line so students, parents, and teachers won’t see the potentially fatal consequences of the Purple Line construction. 

Alex Martinez is a political commentator who resides in Norwalk.

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