The last Altadena fire

Here’s what the New York Times reported back in 1993, about the Altadena and Kinneloa fires:

The Altadena fire, which still raged today on the hillsides but no longer threatened houses, has been an example of this new complex challenge, said Clark Pearson, an inspector with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
On Wednesday, fire destroyed or damaged 115 homes and forced the evacuation of 500 others. The blaze injured 29 firefighters and caused at least $15 million in damage as it swept through 5,500 acres along the northern edges of Altadena and Pasadena.
A row of blackened walls and chimneys was all that was left today of some of the exclusive homes in the San Gabriel Mountains.
The police arrested a transient, Andres Huang, 39, who they say started the blaze after the nighttime campfire he built on a hillside on the edge of Angeles National Forest jumped out of control.
Mr. Huang was scheduled to be arraigned on Friday on a charge of setting an unlawful fire. He was not accused of arson; at least two of the dozen other fires that have swept Southern California in the last two days have been attributed to arson. About 90 percent of the 12,000 large and small wildfires in California each year are caused by people rather than by other sources, like lightning.
The first report of the Altadena fire came at 3:49 A.M. on Wednesday, and the heavy response reflected the lessons firefighters have learned in recent years in responding to wildfires in urban areas.
Five engines, four hand crews, two helicopters and a bulldozer were called in, Inspector Pearson said. In most cases, the bulk of the crew would immediately withdraw when the fire was determined to be minor.
At first, the crew was overwhelmed. The fire raced down scrub-filled Eaton Canyon, attacking a number of homes at the northwest edge of Pasadena.
As its threat grew, a full-fledged mobilization was put into effect.
More than 140 fire engines from around the state mobilized on the streets to await the unpredictable spread of the fire from the brush-covered canyons and hillsides. Air Attack on Blaze
Nearby a half-dozen crews of 15 or so men and women, including prison inmates, moved onto the hillsides with picks and shovels to cut firebreaks. Most of the injuries to firefighters were among these crews, Inspector Pearson said, though none of the injuries were serious.

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Station Fire heads toward Altadena

ALTADENA – Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team members are heading for Altadena neighborhods in Millard Canyon, La Vina and The Meadows warning residents to be ready to leave if the Station Fire continues to spread east.

“You can’t help but be worried,” said Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Technician Ruby Kinkle. “We’re advising people they should be ready to evacuate.”

Meadows resident Lee Stapensky said it appeared to him that the fire was getting close to Gould Mesa, which he estimated is a mile from The Meadows, a semi-rural enclave in West Altadena reached by a single road.

“It looks as if it’s approximately at the ridge west of Gould Mesa,” said Stensky, who has been monitoring the fire since Friday morning.

Fire Service spokesman Bruce Quintelier said that, based on other hearsay reports, what Stepensky has seen “in a general fashion, may not be too far from being correct – spot on.”

The fire has been burning so rapidly throughout the day that it’s been difficult to keep up with mapping its perimeters, Quintelier said.

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Pasadena woman remains missing, family seeks help

31452-Robin Sanderson-thumb-300x319-31451.jpg

PASADENA — The mother of a missing 26-year-old Pasadena who disappeared from a relatives house in Pacoima last week renewed her plea to the public for information Thursday.
Robin Sanderson was last seen at her grandmother’s home in the 11000 block of Cayuga Avenue in Pacoima on Aug. 19, according to Los Angeles Police officials.
Her mother, Marian Thompson, said she and other family members feel the disappearance is uncharacteristic of Sanderson and are worried for her safety.
The Los Angeles Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit is looking for Sanderson, along with her friends and family, the mother said.
“I can’t describe how crushing this has been emotionally,” Thomson said, “but I have hope someone will see her and call LAPD Missing Persons Unit.”
“Our own network of family and friends are also trying to help by putting up flyers and keeping Robin in their prayers with pleas that she’ll be found safe,” she added.
Sanderson was a Pasadena resident who was staying with her grandmother while she waited for a new apartment in Pasadena to become available, Thompson said. She was in good physical health, but may have been in a depressed state of mind.
Also missing from the home was her 3-month-old pit bull-terrier mix puppy and her brown acoustic guitar.
Other important or valuable items, such as her cell phone and identification, were left at the Pacoima home.
Sanderson is described as biracial, black and white, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and about 175 pounds, police said.
She wears a gold nose ring and was last seen wearing a blue tank top, tan shorts and tan shoes, and was carrying a light yellow blanket and an orange bag.
Anyone with information is asked to call the LAPD at (877) 527-3247.

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Public’s help sought in teen’s cold case slaying

POMONA — Pomona police are reaching out to the Spanish-speaking community in hopes of tracking down a family considered “persons of interest” in the death of a 15-year-old girl four years ago.
The body of Yanely Ulloa of Santa Ana was found Aug. 5, 2005, inside the trunk of her then-boyfriend’s 1984 BMW abandoned in the 900 block of West Mission Boulevard in Pomona, Pomona police Sgt. Matt Stone said in a written statement.
She died from multiple stab wounds and other unknown injuries, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
The boyfriend, 25-year-old Jose Martin Granados, and his family disappeared shortly after the killing and have not been seen since.
“Yanely Ulloa had run away with Jose Granados about a week before her death,” according to the police statement. “It was the last time she was seen alive.”
At the time of the slaying, Granados was staying with his mother, 47-year-old Benita Villa-Cervantez, and brother, 23-year-old Francisco Granados, in Anaheim, authorities said.
Detectives tracked Granados, his mother and his brother to Cuernavaca, Mexico, but were unable to find them, Stone said. They are believed to still be living in Mexico.
Jose Granados and his family members are not considered suspects in Ulloa’s death, he added, “But are believed to know the circumstances surrounding her death.
Police also want to talk to Jose Granados’ father, 51-year-old Carlos Palacios, who is believed to be living somewhere in the United States.
Ulloa is survived by a daughter, Stone added.
Anyone with information is asked to call Pomona police Detective Dan Kono at (909) 620-2358, or the confidential Pomona police tip line at (909) 620-2085.

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Coroner rules Michael Jackson’s death a homicide

Attached below is a press release issued by the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Friday, which announces its conclusions in the investigation into the singer’s death.  The case was deemed a homicide. As listed below, five drugs were found in Jackson’s system during examination, and two of them caused his death.



RE: Coroner Case Number 2009-04415 – JACKSON, Michael Joseph

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner completed its investigation into the death of Michael Joseph Jackson, age 50, who died on June 25, 2009.

The cause of death was established as:



The manner of death has been ruled: HOMICIDE

The drugs PROPOFOL and LORAZEPAM were found to be the primary drugs responsible for Mr. Jackson’s death. Other drugs detected were: Midazolam, Diazepam, Lidocaine and Ephedrine.

The final Coroner’s report, including the complete toxicology report will remain on Security Hold at the request of the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney. In accordance with this request, the Department of Coroner will not comment on its completed investigation.

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Jacyee Dugard had contact with neighbor in years after kidnapping

From today’s story:

Special section devoted to Jacyee Lee Dugard case. 

An Antioch resident whose backyard shares a fence with the Garrido property once spoke to a little girl through that fence, he said Friday.

She told him her name was Jaycee.
Patrick McQuaid, 27, was a child when he saw a blonde girl through the chicken wire fence that used to separate his Bown Lane backyard from the Garridos’ yard. He said he believes it was around the summer of 1991, not long after Jaycee Lee Dugard was kidnapped from a South Lake Tahoe bus stop.
“I thought she was pretty,” McQuaid said.
After he learned Jaycee’s name, McQuaid, who had never seen any children through the fence before, asked whether she lived there or was just visiting. He said she told him she was living there, but before he could ask more questions Phillip Garrido came out and took her into the house.
“I didn’t think anything of it. I was young,” McQuaid said.
Soon after, Garrido built the eight-foot privacy fence that now separates the two yards. McQuaid said he never saw the girl again. The next time he saw children near the Garrido house was this summer, when he saw two young girls riding in Garrido’s car.
Though the two children Dugard bore with Garrido are 15 and 11, McQuaid said the children he saw in Garrido’s car looked younger — closer to 8 and 10 years old.

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A state of emergency


by the

Governor of the State of California

            WHEREAS on August 26, 2009, fires started in Los Angeles County and continue to burn; and 

            WHEREAS on August 27, 2009, fires stared in Monterey County and continue to burn; and 

            WHEREAS the fires have burned approximately 13,000 acres, and have threatened structures, destroyed homes, and have forced hundreds of people to be evacuated and sent to emergency shelters; and

            WHEREAS the circumstances of these fires, by reason of their magnitude, are or are likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of any single county, city and county, or city and require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to combat; and

            WHEREAS under the provisions of section 8558(b) of the California Government Code, I find that conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist due to the fires in Los Angeles and Monterey Counties.

            NOW, THEREFORE, I, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor of the State of California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the state Constitution and statutes, including the California Emergency Services Act, and in particular, section 8625 of the California Government Code, HEREBY PROCLAIM A STATE OF EMERGENCY to exist within Los Angeles and Monterey Counties.

            IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that all agencies of the state government utilize and employ state personnel, equipment and facilities for the performance of any and all activities consistent with the direction of the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) and the State Emergency Plan, and that CalEMA provide local government assistance under the authority of the California Disaster Assistance Act. 

            I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this proclamation be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given of this proclamation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 28th Day of August 2009.

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Station Fire grows exponentially nears JPL

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE – Residents are being evacuated in the northern part of La Canada Flintridge as the Station Fire now rages out of control.

At about 8 p.m. last night, the Station Fire was 10-percent contained and had burned 500 acres. Overnight, firefighters lost whatever containment they had and the fire has now scorched 1500 acres, spokesman with the U.S. Forest Service Gabriel Alvarez said.

“The wind shifts, the weather conditions, a lot of different factors,” contributed to the increased intensity in the fire, Alvarez said.

Residents north of Vista Del Valle Road, east of La Canada Boulevard and north of Starlight Crest Drive are under mandatory evacuations, Alvarez said. About 873 homes are under those evacuations, Alvarez said. An evacuation center has been set up at La Canada High School.

There are now 750 fire personnel fighting the Station Fire, one air tanker, four helicopters and as many as sixteen engines, Alvarez said.

Highway 2, Angeles Crest Highway, is closed all the way across to Big Pines, Alvarez said.

Inciweb update from earlier this a.m.:

Continue reading “Station Fire grows exponentially nears JPL” »

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