PICO RIVERA >> More than 3,500 Southern California Edison customers lost electrical service Wednesday afternoon after metallic balloons became entangled in equipment, according to the utility.
The outage began about 2:20 p.m. in the area of Rosemead and Beverly boulevards, according to data published by SCE.
More than 3,500 customers remained in the dark as of 10 p.m., officials said.
The outage was blamed on metallic balloons interfering with equipment, and the utility estimated all power would be restored by 7 a.m. Thursday.
BALDWIN PARK — The death of a woman found unresponsive in her car at a Baldwin Park gas station Wednesday was believed to be natural, authorities said.
Officials responded about noon to a Chevron Station at 14477 Merced Avenue, at Puente Avenue, Baldwin Park police Lt. Melissa Stehly said. A woman estimated to be about 50 was found unresponsive in a Chrysler Sebring.
Paramedics pronounced the woman dead at the scene, Stehly said.
No foul play was initially suspected, and the death appeared to be the result of a medical problem such as a heart attack, she said.
Los Angeles County Department of Coroner investigators planned an autopsy.
LOS ANGELES — Federal authorities Wednesday arrested 18 El Monte Flores gang members and associates who used the former offices of the Boys & Girls Club as their hangout.
The 18 were among 41 people indicted by a federal grand jury last week on charges that include conspiracy, murder, drug trafficking, money laundering, and weapons violations.
Federal officials said the gang conducted illegal activities out of the Boys & Girls Club of America/San Gabriel Valley Club facilities on Mountain View Road.
“They used the club as a place where they would openly sell drugs and collect taxes,” said Vijay Rathi, spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The gang also used the club, which recently held community meetings and hosted a car wash fundraiser for a Flores member who was murdered.
“It is very disturbing that a facility that is supposed to give boys and girls protection and a safe place could be used for that,” Mayor Andrew Quintero said.
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WHITTIER >> Police are asking the public to keep an eye out for a 12-year-old Whittier girl who went missing Tuesday, authorities said.
Catherine Tinnes was last seen about 2 p.m. Tuesday at her parents’ home in the 9600 block of El Venado Drive, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
“Tinnes walked away from her parents’ house and has not been seen since and her family is concerned,” according to the police statement.
The girl went missing after running away from her home July 18 following an argument with her parents, according to Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis.
She was found safe the following day at a relative’s home in Montebello.
Officials described Tinnes at 5 feet 9 inches tall, 190 pounds, with long straight brownish-blonde hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a white tank top and black shorts.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Whittier police.
PHOTO of Catherine Tinnes courtesy of the Whittier Police Department.
SYLMAR >> A 3-year-old boy died Wednesday after climbing into a car at his family home in Sylmar and becoming overcome by the afternoon heat, police said.
The incident, which police were investigating as a “tragic accident,” was first reported about 3:30 p.m. at a home in the 14400 block of Foothill Boulevard, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Bruce Borihanh said.
“The boy was playing by himself in the front yard when he climbed into a car,” Borihanh said. The boy was apparently unable to get out of the car and became overcome by the heat, as the temperature in Sylmar soared into the mid-90s Wednesday afternoon.
It was unclear how long the boy had been inside the hot car before he was discovered there by his brother, Borihanh said. The distraught parents immediately summoned paramedics.
“The child was unresponsive when freed from the car and was declared dead at a hospital,” Borihanh said.
Foul play was not initially suspected, he said, and no arrests were made as the investigation continued.
The child was taken to Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, where he was pronounce dead a short time later, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Elissa Fleak said.
The child’s identity was not released Wednesday, as coroner’s officials were yet to recover the body from the hospital, she said.
The car was parked in a driveway in the residential neighborhood, officials said.
The death came just one day before a planned LAPD press conference to remind parents of the dangers hot vehicles can pose to children.
The boyfriend of an accused bank robber has been arrested on suspicion of robbing a West Covina bank, police said.
Two Bank of the West locations in Chino and West Covina were robbed on consecutive days this month.
The Chino location was robbed July 14 by a woman wearing hospital scrubs. On July 25, Rafaella Benoit, 18, of Perris was arrested and later charged with robbery in connection with the July 14 robbery.
On Wednesday, Chino police announced the arrest of Benoit’s supposed boyfriend.
Douglas Beale Taylor, 22, allegedly robbed Bank of the West in West Covina on July 15, the day after the Chino bank robbery.
Police said Taylor executed the robbery in the same manner as his girlfriend — by slipping a note demanding money and escaping with an undisclosed amount of money.
Surveillance video linked Douglas to the West Covina robbery, Chino police said in a statement.
Officers from the Chino and West Covina police departments arrested Taylor on Tuesday at his Moreno Valley home. He was booked into the West Covina Police Department’s jail on suspicion of robbery and conspiracy, police said.
“During an interview, Taylor admitted to robbing the West Covina Bank of the West as well as being the getaway driver for the Chino Bank of the West robbery,” according to police.
- By Greg Cappis
ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — In an effort to curb all-to-common rescue calls at a popular recreation site in the Angeles National Forest, officials have announced the Eaton Canyon Upper Falls will be off-limits starting Friday.
The 84-acre closure is planned to stem the dozens of annual mishaps, some of them fatal, on the slippery and treacherous terrain near the second waterfall in Eaton Canyon, U.S. Forest Service officials said in a written statement.
“The user-created trail to the lower waterfalls is not the dangerous portion,” the statement said. “It is the area around the second waterfall that is creating the increase in rescues and deaths.”
Officials have handled 60 rescues near the second waterfall in 2012 alone, and five deaths have been reported there since 2011.
“In particular, hikers ignore warning signs and climb the canyon’s crumbling walls in search of the second waterfall, enticed by social media videos that encourage and challenge people to risk their own lives and those of emergency responders,” according to the USFS statement.
The closure area, “has been kept to an absolute minimum in hopes of changing the behavior of those who ignore the warning signs and continue to place themselves and emergency responders in danger,” according to the USFS.
Additionally, officials plan to continue their public awareness campaign regarding the dangers at the second waterfall of Eaton Canyon and enforce the closure.
Those found violating the closure may be receive a $5,000 fine, up to six months in jail, or both.
PASADENA >> A car fire spread to a Pasadena nursing home Sunday afternoon, leaving more than 100 residents temporarily displaced, authorities said.
The fire was reported about 2 p.m. at the Pasadena Meadows Nursing Center, 150 Bellefontaine Street, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
A Dodge Avenger parked next to the Pasadena Meadows Nursing Home nursing home caught fire, spreading to the building, she said. The cause of the fire was under investigation.
The fire burned its way into a resident’s room and forced officials to evacuate the 127 primarily bed-ridden patients living at the nursing home, Derderian said.
“Firefighters were assisted by 55 staff members in moving the residents outside the structure, providing shade and hydration as paramedics carefully monitored their status,” Derderian said.
One firefighter suffered a knee injury while battling the blaze, she said.
Once the flames were extinguished, one room had been damaged by the fire, and two additional rooms had sustained smoke damage, she said.
All residents were allowed back into the building Sunday afternoon, and the facility made space elsewhere for the residents whose rooms were affected by the fire, Derderian said.
PHOTO courtesy of the Pasadena Fire Department
VENICE – Nine people were hurt, and at least one needed CPR, as an unusual summer beach lightning storm spread danger from Catalina Island to the shores of Santa Monica Bay on Sunday.
Witnesses said the Coast Guard was helping search the popular beach, as at least one person believed to be in the water was still unaccounted for two hours after the thunderstorm moved through. And photos of a stricken diver being worked on by paramedics on the beach surfaced on social media.
City fire paramedics set up a triage and treatment center on the crowded beach near Washington Boulevard, and one patient was rushed to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Two of the victims were critically hurt, city fire spokeswoman Katherine Mann said. The other eight had lesser injuries, with one hospitalized for panic.
Eight adults and a 15-year-old youth were hurt on the beach, but reports of a swimmer hurt in the water and picked up by a Baywatch boat were struck down by the county fire department. County Baywatch crews were on scene, but it was not immediately clear if they treated anyone.
- City News Service
PHOTO courtesy of @Venice311
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A 57-year-old man suffered injuries described as minor when he was struck by lighting on the Catalina Island Golf Course, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Dave Gillotte said.
“He took an indirect hit,” the captain said. Lighting struck near the man at the Catalina Island Golf Course, travelled down a fence and shocked the man, knocking him off his feet.
Los Angeles County and Avalon fire officials treated the man for minor injuries, “primarily injuries from the fall,” Gillotte said. The man was taken to a hospital for further evaluation.
“We had a monsoonal type storm come through fast and furious, landing for about an hour and a half,” he said. The heaviest rain and lightning took place over a period of 35 to 45 minutes.
“Lighting strikes were initially cloud-to-cloud, with heavy monsoonal rain, and eventually went cloud-to-ground with thick, heavy bolts.”
The heavy storm also caused flooding and ignited at least four small brush fires on the island, Gillotte said. The fires never grew beyond a fraction of an acre before they were doused by firefighters and Catalina Conservancy Rangers, or self extinguished.
Once the rain ceased, “We did a complete drive of all island roads, and two aerial reconnaissance flights, to ensure there was no fire or smoke,” Gillotte said.
The storm took a narrow, fast-moving path over the island, Gillotte said.
Catalina Island quickly began returning to normalcy once the storm passed. But first responders kept their eyes on the horizon, as additional storm cells were possibly moving over the island between 11 p.m. Sunday and 4 a.m. Monday.