UPDATED: Elderly woman found dead in burning Pasadena home

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PASADENA >> An elderly woman died in a house fire in Pasadena Friday morning despite a neighbor’s “heroic” efforts to rescue her, authorities said.
Neighbors called 911 at about 8 a.m. after noticing smoke coming from the two-story home in the 300 block of Redwood Drive, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
A neighbor tried to rescue the trapped woman, but was driven back by the intense house fire. The man, who is in his 40s, suffered apparently minor burns from the fire but declined to be taken to a hospital.
Firefighters arrived to find flames rising from the home, officials said. Neighbors told firefighters that an elderly woman who lived alone at the home had been heard yelling for help from within, officials said.
“A neighbor who was walking by, heard a female screaming inside and saw light smoke coming from the rear of the structure,” Pasadena Fire Chief Bertral Washington said in a written statement. “After recognizing there was a fire, the neighbor heroically made entry through the front door and attempted to pull the elderly resident to safety.
“He was met with tremendous heat and a wall of fire in the room she was lying in. The victim was pulled out of the fire room, but not before the neighbor sustained minor burn injuries,” Washington said.
Pushed back by the flames, the man called out for help from other members of his family, who rushed to try to help as well.
“Despite being driven out of the building by smoke and heat, and he made a second heroic attempt to rescue the victim by running inside again, placing himself in even greater peril,” according to Washington. “Even though the neighbor made great effort in attempting to rescue the victim, the fast moving fire quickly consumed both the victim and interior of the structure.”
Firefighters found the woman in the home as they worked to extinguish the flames, Derderian said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Los Angeles County coroner’s investigators had yet to identify the victim Saturday. The identification process was expected to be delayed due to the charred condition of the body, officials said.
But the elderly woman believed to be the home’s lone resident remained unaccounted for Friday afternoon.
Fire investigators identified multiple possible causes of the fire, but had yet to isolate the specific cause.
Overloaded wiring, excessive use of extension cords and power strips, an electric heater, and electric blanket, candles and smoking materials were all discovered in the roo
Investigation into the fire cause identified overloaded wiring, excessive use of extension cords and power strips, a portable heater, electric blanket, candles and smoking materials in the room of origin, fire officials said.
“Due to potential failures of so many items, the cause has yet to be determined,” Washington said. “There is no indication of foul play.”
The bottom floor of the two-story home is partially underground, which contributed to “very challenging” and “very stubborn” fire, Derderian said. Firefighters declared the fire “knocked down” about 20 minutes after it was reported.
Firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading to any other nearby homes or vegetation.
Derderian said the involved home sustained, “a significant loss, if not a total loss.”
The deadly fire remains under investigation by a newly-formed multi-agency arson task force comprised of investigators from Pasadena and other area fire departments.

pasfire3 Photos courtesy of the Pasadena Fire Department

— Brian Day and Ruby Gonzales

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Fire shuts down 60 Freeway in Hacienda Heights


HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> A fire engulfed a big rig and spread to a hillside, prompting the closure of the 60 Freeway before firefighters got it under control, authorities said.
The fire was first reported as a flaming big rig about 4:30 p.m. alongside the eastbound 60 Freeway near Crossroads Parkway, according to California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County Fire Department officials.
The flames destroyed the truck and spread to brush on a hillside next to the freeway before firefighters attacked it both on the ground and from aircraft.
The fire scorched about half an acre of brush before firefighters declared it “under control” at 5:25 p.m,, fire department Dispatch Supervisor Melanie Flores said.
Authorities initially shut down all lanes of the 60 in both directions as they responded to the fire.
The westbound lanes were reopened within an hour, and only the two right-hand lanes of the eastbound 60 Freeway remained closed Thursday evening.
No injuries were reported, Flores said.

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Firefighters douse brush fire near 605-210 freeway interchange in Irwindale


IRWINDALE >> Firefighters quickly gained control of two small brush fires that scorched about half an acre of vegetation in wash area along the 605 Freeway in Irwindale on Friday afternoon, officials said.
The fires were first reported at 1:12 p.m. in a wash just southwest of the 605-210 freeway interchange, Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Gustavo Medina said.
About half an acre went up in flames before firefighters stopped the “forward progress” of the fire just after 2 p.m., he said.
Water-dropping helicopters joined firefighters on the ground in the effort.
No injuries were reported, and no structured were threatened by the fires.
Investigators were summoned to the scene to determine the cause of the fire, Medina said.
Another fire broke out less than a mile to the south along the same riverbed on Wednesday afternoon and also scorched about half an acre of vegetation, officials said. The cause of that fire remains under investigation as well.

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PHOTOS/VIDEO courtesy of the Irwindale Police Department.

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UPDATED: Deputies rescue elderly couple from burning home in North San Gabriel

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NORTH SAN GABRIEL >> Two sheriff’s deputies rescued an elderly couple from their burning home in the unincorporated county area of North San Gabriel over the weekend, authorities said.
Both deputies and the two elderly residents of the home were treated for smoke inhalation following the incident, which unfolded about 2 p.m. on Saturday at a home in the 8800 block of Broadway, just west of Rosemead Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Frank Ruiz said.
Deputy Jaqueline Morales and Deputy Orlando “Chuey” Macias were on patrol when they happened to come across a house with smoke emanating from within, the lietenant said.
The deputies immediately went into the home to search for anyone who might be inside, Ruiz said. The move proved potentially life-saving.
As the deputies crawled through the home, beneath the smoke, they encountered an 89-year-old woman with a walker inside, as well as her 87-year-old husband, Ruiz said. Deputies Morales and Macias managed to get the seemingly disoriented residents out of the home.
Both deputies and both resident were taken to hospitals for treatment of smoke inhalation, officials said. The deputies were treated and promptly released. An update on the conditions of the elderly couple was not available Sunday, however their injuries were not initially believed to be life-threatening.
It was determined the blaze ignited as a grease fire in the kitchen, which spread into the wall, Ruiz said. The fire caused an estimated $10,000 worth of damage to the home.
Sheriff’s officials commended the deputies in a written statement.
“The quick actions of Deputy Morales and Deputy Macias, while placing themselves in harms way, undoubtedly saved the lives of this couple,” according to the statement. “ The deputies’ heroism is a reflection of their dedication to the communities served by Temple Station, and the representation of the core values of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to the highest degree.”

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PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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Elderly woman critically injured after accidentally setting self on fire in Pasadena


PASADENA >> An elderly woman continued recovering from serious burn injuries after accidentally set herself on fire while lighting a cigarette in front of a Pasadena grocery store on Thursday, police said.
The 78-year-old woman was initially hospitalized in critical condition following the apparent mishap, which took place about 4 p.m. outside of Vons in the Orangewood Center, 155 E. California Blvd., Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said. An update on her condition was not available Saturday.
The woman and her husband arrived at the store in their car, the lieutenant said. The woman stayed in the car while her husband went inside to make some purchases.
While lighting a cigarette, “It appears she may have accidentally set her clothing on fire while seated in the vehicle,” Goodman said.
Witnesses noticed the fire and pulled the woman from the car before rescuers arrived, he added.
Paramedics rushed the woman to a hospital with “significant” burn injuries, Goodman said.
Police recovered a disposable cigarette lighter at the scene.
Though the incident appeared accidental, police and Pasadena fire officials still investigating, Goodman said. “There’s nothing to suggest there was any foul play.”

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Pasadena firefighters host open house Saturday

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PASADENA >> Firefighters invite the community to meet with them Saturday morning during an open house at the Pasadena Fire Department’s Open House,
The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Fire Station 34, adjacent to Caltech at 1360 E. Del Mar Blvd., city officials said in a written statement.
“Fire personnel and department volunteers will be there to meet the public, showcase fire equipment and rolling stock and provide tours, according to the statement.
Other city programs will be on-hand as well to highlight other programs and services.
For more information, email Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian at lderderian@cityofpasadena.net, or visit www.cityofpasadena.net/fire.

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Flames engulf car along 210 Freeway in Duarte

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DUARTE >> A disabled car burst into flames along the 210 Freeway in Duarte Friday afternoon, slowing traffic but resulting in no injuries, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The fire was first reported about 1:01 p.m. on the westbound 210 Freeway near Buena Vista Street, CHP Officer Michelle Bond said.
The driver of the Acura Integra experienced an engine malfunction and saw flames coming from beneath the hood of his car and pulled over to right shoulder, Los carfire2Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Rudy Gilson said. The man got out of the car uninjured before it became engulfed in flames.
Officials briefly shut down the two right-hand traffic lanes, but firefighters quickly doused the fire and traffic resumed normal flow, she said.
It was unclear exactly what caused the car’s engine to catch fire.

PHOTOS by Keith Durflinger

 

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UPDATED: Large fire consumes vacant auto dealership in Covina

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COVINA >> A large fire tore through a vacant car dealership in Covina late Wednesday, officials said.
The fire was first reported at 8:43 p.m. at a vacant commercial building at 377 S. Citrus Ave., Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Kyle Sanford said.
The first firefighters to arrive on the scene encountered smoke and fire coming out of the building and issued a “second-alarm” at 8:54 p.m., summoning additional firefighters to help, Sanford said.
0901_NWS_SGT-L-BIGFIRE2Firefighters declared the blaze extinguished at 9:34 p.m., Sanford said.
He described the involved building as a now-vacant former car dealership.
No injuries were initially reported, he said. The cause remained under investigation.
Authorities shut down Citrus Avenue between Center and Puente streets as the fire continued burning Wednesday night.

PHOTOS courtesy of Covina Police Department/Los Angeles County Fire Department

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Firefighters make quick work of Glendora brush fire

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GLENDORA >> A small brush fire ignited along the 210 Freeway in Glendora Sunday afternoon, threatening a single structure before firefighters got the upper hand, fire officials said.
The fire was first reported just before noon along the westbound 210 Freeway near Sunflower Avenue, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Robert Diaz said.
It grew to about an acre in size 30 minutes later, and threatened a single, unknown-type structure, officials said
But firefighters declared the brush fire extinguished just under an hour after it began, Diaz said.
No injuries or property damage were reported.
The California Highway Patrol issued a Sig Alert for the Sunflower Avenue offramp of the westbound 210 Freeway Sunday afternoon as firefighters continued completing their work at the scene.

PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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UPDATED: Animals large and small evacuated from Sand fire burn area; Lions, tigers among the displaced

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SANTA CLARITA >> As the Sand fire continued scorching through brush in Santa Clarita with “freight train” force, the flames and smoke not only sent hundreds of human residents scattering to seek safety, but also forced the evacuations of a large number of pets and large animals, from horses to grizzly bears.
In addition to the many horses that had to be evacuated from equestrian neighborhoods  as a result of the fire Saturday, and continuing Sunday, the denizens of the Wildlife Waystation along Little Tujunga Canyon Road were also evacuated from their forest home Saturday in advance of the approaching flames, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Evacuated residents’ large animals such as horses were first being accepted at the Hanson Dam. But after that location reached capacity, officials set up a second facility to accept evacuated large animals at Pierce College, 6201 Winnetka Ave. in Woodland Hills.
The wide array of animals great and small housed at the wildlife sanctuary ranges from birds and hedgehogs to alligators, lions, wolves, a grizzly bear and even a lion-tiger hybrid known as a Liger.
Though the animal sanctuary was not out of harms way Sunday afternoon, “We’re a whole lot less concerned than 14 hours ago, 18 hours ago,” Wildlife Waystation spokesman Jerry Brown said.
A breeze was pushing the fire toward the north, away from the Wildlife Waystation, on Sunday afternoon, but toward the communities of Acton and Agua Dulce.
The Sand fire, which ignited Friday afternoon, has since scorched more than 22,000 acres, or 34 square miles, and destroyed 18 homes, damaging one more. Firefighters discovered a man’s body inside a burned car in the evacuation area in the 26700 block of Iron Canyon road, within the evacuation zone, late Saturday, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Juanita Navarro Suarez. The man’s identity and cause of death were yet to be determined.
The wildfire grew in size overnight, storming over a canyon ridge, “like freight train,” Los Angeles County Fire Department Deputy Chief John Tripp said Sunday morning.
Wildlife Waystation staff and volunteers evacuated more than 70 percent of the more than 400 wild animals from the sanctuary by Saturday night, Brown said. Small animals and birds, which are more susceptible to respiratory problems due to smoke, were evacuated first. Large animals such as lions and tigers were also evacuated, though some remained at the Wildlife Waystation Sunday.
All the animals were safe and accounted for, Brown said.
The displaced exotic animals were taken in by friendly area colleagues with appropriate facilities.
After 40 years in operation, the Wildlife Waystation has made quite a few friends, he said.
“Animal people take care of animal people.”
More people than could be used showed up to try and help evacuate the threatened animals as the fire approached on Saturday, Brown said.
“There was a tremendous turnout, a tremendous number of people coming up with trucks, trailers and animal carriers,” he said.
He thanked the community for their support.
“People love to help, and people love to help the waystation,” he said.
And the need for assistance will remain even after the flames of the Sand fire are long extinguished, Brown said.
“This was an expensive operation. The Wildlife Waystation is a charity,” he said.
In addition to the expense of the fire response, the facility also needs to continue caring for the animals 24 hours a day.
“It’s an expensive proposition under normal circumstances,” Brown said.
To learn more about the Wildlife Waystation and its animals, or to make a donation, visit www.wildlifewaystation.org.
Additionally, the Sun Valley-based Reptacular Animals petting zoo was forced to evacuate it’s more than 500 animals from the zoo’s Angeles National Forest Ranch.
“All our animals are evacuated to various residential places that aren’t setup for short term care of these animals,” Reptacular representatives said in a written statement. “Mandatory evacuations are still in full effect. We are not allowed to the return to the ranch for supplies.”
Zoo staff reached out to the community for supplies to help care for the animals until they are able to return home.
“We are currently just asking for donations of veggies, greens, animal shavings/Carefresh, paper towels, food for bunnies/g pigs/chickens/ducks, newspaper, bird food, animal carriers to help keep the animals situated for now as all of our materials had to be left behind. We are managing. But any help is appreciated.
We are currently just asking for donations of Veggies, greens, animal shavings/care fresh, paper towels, food for bunnies/goats/pigs/chickens/ducks, newspaper, bird food (and) animal carriers to help keep the animals situated for now as all of our materials had to be left behind,” according to the statement. “We are managing. But any help is appreciated.”
A Paypal account been established to help Reptacular Animals at www.paypal.me/Reptacular. For more information on Reptacular Animals, visit www.reptacularanimals.com.

PHOTO: Animal handlers try to capture a pair of wolves at the Wildlife Waystation so that they can be evacuated. Tujunga, CA. July 23, 2016. (Photo by John McCoy/So Cal News Group)

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