A massive eucalyptus tree, pushed over by savage Santa Ana winds, fell on the roof of in mid-morning Wednesday.
School was in session, but there were no immediate reports of injury. Damage to the the building appeared to be minor.
Shortly after noon, crews were already cutting up the tree and grinding the limbs into sawdust.
The one-story building, built in the early 1900s, according to a member of the Chatsworth Historial Society, is what remains of a formerly two-story structure that was damaged in the 1933 Long Beach earthquake. The top story was removed after the quake.
Meanwhile, fire officials urged Southlanders to keep some roadways clear for emergency vehicles Wednesday and to be vigilant in looking out for arsonists and signs of fires breaking out.
Strong Santa Ana winds combined with bone-dry vegetation and low humidity prompted the National Weather Service (NWS) to issue a red flag warning effective until at least 6 p.m. throughout the region; not just in mountain, forest and valley areas of L.A. and Ventura counties, but in urban areas as well, along with coastal areas of Orange County.
In addition to the NWS' red flag warning, red flag warnings were declared by the Los Angeles city and county fire departments, entailing parking restrictions to give firetrucks unimpeded access. The restrictions went into effect in selected parts of Los Angeles at 8 a.m. and were scheduled to remain in force until 8 a.m. Thursday.
The parking-restriction plan was developed by the Los Angeles Fire Department and the city's Department of Transportation. They posted signs in areas where the presence of parked vehicles "would create a problem for citizens while evacuating and for fire companies entering the area during a fast-moving brush fire,'' the LAFD reported. Such areas include narrow roads, tight curbs and critical intersections where "choke points'' could develop.
"There is a ... potential to create a choke point in these areas that could impact the delivery of emergency services,'' the LAFD reported.
More information on the restrictions can be obtained at lafd.org/redflag.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department, meanwhile, asked residents in brush-heavy areas to take precautions, including reporting any sign of smoke, using caution when operating spark- or flame-producing machinery and having a wildfire action plan in place.
"If you are asked to evacuate by fire or police officials, do so immediately," the county fire department reported.
County Fire Capt. Mark Savage also urged people to report any suspicious persons or vehicles to law enforcement.
More information is available from fire.lacounty.gov.
City News Service contributed to this report.