A large fire gutted a 131-year-old Victorian-style home in Pasadena early Saturday, causing nearly $1.5 million worth of damage, authorities said.
The two-alarm blaze was first reported at 2:40 a.m. at the vacant, two-story home at 30 West Mountain Street, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
Forty-three firefighters from Pasadena and neighboring cities extinguished the flames, she said. Two firefighters were evaluated for minor injuries and returned to duty, according to Derderian.
Officials estimated the fire caused $1.4 million worth of damage to the house, and another $50,000 in damage to contents stored inside, she said.
Mary Wright Falvey, 75, of Monrovia, said her great grandfather, Amos Wright, built the home in 1886.
Though she never lived in the home, Falvey said she feels a strong connection to it because of her family’s history there.
“I’m just sick,” she said. “It was just beautiful. It had the most beautiful oak baniser curled about the entrance,” she said.
Falvey said she’s been trying to work with the city in recent months to try to have the home designated a historical landmark. She was still trying when the fire occurred.
Several investigators were summoned to the scene to look into the cause of the fire, which was yet to be determined Saturday afternoon.
Falvey said she reported spotting trespassers at the vacant home in April and has been concerned about possible squatters there. She also once visited the home to find the rear door had been forced open.
Pasadena police Lt. William Grisafe said officials received reports of people seen leaving the home after the fire broke out. It was unclear who they were, or whether they had any involvement in the fire.
PHOTOS courtesy of Jamie Nicholson/Pasadena Fire Department
PASADENA >> A fire scorched two homes, a carport and a classic car before being extinguished by firefighters on Thursday afternoon, officials said.
The fire was first reported about 3:30 p.m. in the 1900 block of North Los Robles Avenue, just south of Woodbury Road, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian.
The flames originated in a carport, destroying the structure and a 1976 AMC Pacer parked inside of it and damaging a Toyota Celica, she said.
Fire also crept onto the exterior portion of the home associated with the carport, as well as the attic of a neighboring home, Derderian said.
Both homes were occupied, but everyone got out unharmed, she said.
The neighboring home sustained significant damage, according to Derderian. A dollar-value estimate of the loss was yet to be determined.
Authorities were investigating the cause of the fire.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Pasadena Fire Department
DUARTE >> A woman is accused of arson after she allegedly torched her family’s home in Duarte during an argument, authorities said.
The fire broke out about 3 p.m. at a house in the 3000 block of Freeborn Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Ronald Daily said.
Deputies were first summoned to the home for a family disturbance among adult family members, the lieutenant said.
“One of the family members had deliberately lit a fire,” he said.
The others inside the home escaped without injury, but the flames engulfed the home, resulting in “substantial” damage, according to Daily.
Deputies found and arrested the alleged arsonist at the scene, he said.
The woman’s identity was not available as she was taken to a hospital prior to booking after complaining of a pre-existing medical issue, he said.
Detectives from the sheriff’s Arson-Explosives Detail were summoned to take over the investigation.
ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> Firefighters are working to contain 25-acre brush fire burning near the San Gabriel Canyon Off-Highway Vehicle Area in the forest north of the San Gabriel Valley, authorities said.
The fire was first reported at 4:21 p.m. along San Gabriel Canyon Road, near the north end of the San Gabriel Reservoir, Angeles National Forest spokesman Andrew Mitchell said.
Officials evacuated the nearby Burro Canyon Shooting Range, 22100 East Fork Road, he said.
Firefighters were making good progress early on, with good hose lines being laid down an numerous water-dropping aircraft quickly brought to the scene, according to Mitchell.
“They’re catching it quickly,” he said.
The fire was burning through fuels described as grass and brush.
The fire’s rate of spread had been completely stopped by 820 p.m., officials said.
Officials initially reported the fire had grown to 30 acres in size, but later estimated put it closer to 25 acres, USFS officials announced via Twitter.
Calfire firefighters were assisting their U.S. Forest Service counterparts in fighting the fire.
The cause of the wildfire, which officials called the Rincon fire, was yet to be determined.
Several other small fires were sparked in the forest by lightning strikes Thursday, but it was not yet clear if lightning was to blame for the Rincon fire, Mitchell said.
The fire danger level in the Angeles National Forest was designated “very high” on Thursday.
LA VERNE >> Police arrested a man Friday on suspicion of igniting a brush fire that scorched about 50 acres in La Verne and nearby unincorporated hillsides, officials said.
Christian Joseph Romano, 18, of La Verne was booked on suspicion of arson following his arrest about 4:20 p.m., according to La Verne police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
He’s accused of igniting the Rodeo fire, which broke out shortly before 3 p.m. Sunday in the area of Briley Point Road and Williams Avenue, La Verne police Lt. Thomas Frayeh said.
No injuries or property damage were reported in the fire, which burned through about 50 acres of brush before it was contained by firefighters the following day.
•Related: Fast-spreading brush fire in La Verne burns 40 acres
Several neighborhoods were placed under voluntary evacuation orders as the flames crept close to homes, including those on Rodeo Lane.
As the investigation continued in the following days, investigators determined that the fire was an arson and identified Romano as the suspect, Frayeh said.
Romano was released from jail after posting $20,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, records show.
No further details were available.
PHOTO courtesy of the La Verne Police Department
GLENDORA >> A brush fire broke out on the northern edge of Glendora bordering the Angeles National Forest Thursday afternoon, officials said.
The fire was first reported about 1:48 p.m. at the end of the 800 block of North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman Joey Napoli said.
“We do have two acres running uphill toward the Angeles National Forest,” he said. He added that county firefighters were working in “unified command” with forest firefighters.
Within two hours, the fire had grown to seven acres in size, Glendora police announced via Twitter. Firefighters had established containment lines around 80 percent of it by 6;20 p.m., police said in a written statement.
A “second-alarm” response was declared, bringing about 200 firefighters and several water-dropping helicopters to bear on the wildfire, LACFD spokesman Brian Beltran said.
“All forward progress has been stopped,” he said about 3:30 p.m.
Firefighters expected full containment by Thursday night, though firefighters planned to remain on scene well afterward conducting “mop up” to ensure no further flare-ups, Beltran said.
No structures were reported threatened as firefighters worked to keep the blaze from taking a foothold in the forest.
Police asked drivers to avoid Sierra Madre Avenue between Grand and Barranca avenues. No evacuations were ordered.
LA VERNE >> A brush fire ignited in La Verne and scorched 40 acres before firefighters got it under control, officials said.
La Verne Fire Department officials requested help from their counterparts in the Los Angeles County Fire Department just before 3 p.m. after the fire ignited in the area of Briley Point Road and Williams Avenue, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Cheryl Simms said. The fire was burning near homes.
The fire was initially reported as 4-5 acres in size and was spreading quickly through medium to heavy brush, she said.
By 3:40 p.m., Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said the fire had grown to about 10 acres in size and was continuing to burn uphill, threatening homes at the top. Two air tankers were initially summoned to the scene to aid water-dropping helicopters, but cancelled shortly after 4 p.m. as firefighters gained the upper hand on the fire.
“It sounds like it’s dying down a little,” fire Capt. Ron Singleton said. “They’re getting a handle on it.”
But officials again called for reinforcements about 4:30 p.m. as the fire began to flare up once more, drawing a total of 200 firefighters to the incident.
The brush fire grew to 40 acres by Sunday evening, but was 50 percent contained, fire officials announced via Twitter.
Voluntary evacuations were issued for homes along Rodeo Lane, as well as in unincorporated county neighborhoods of Webb Canyon and Live Oak Canyon just to the east, La Verne police Sgt. Justin Newman said.
The voluntary evacuations were lifted shortly before 7 p.m. as firefighters continued dousing remaining hot spots to ensure the fire didn’t re-ignite, officials said. Firefighters were expected to remain on scene through the night.
A near miss between a fire-fighting aircraft and a Cessna airplane was reported during the fire.
Baseline Road remained closed Sunday evening between Fruit Street in La Verne and Lynoak Avenue in Claremont.
No injuries or property damage were reported.PHOTO courtesy of the La Verne Police Department
BALDWIN PARK >> Coroner’s officials have identified a 28-year-old Baldwin Park man who died in a mobile home fire last month.
Richard Baggett Jr. died at the scene of the fire, which was reported just before 2:30 a.m. on June 20 in the 12900 block of Garvey Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Lt. David Smith said.
An autopsy determined Baggett died from thermal burns, and the death was ruled accidental, coroner’s records show.
The mobile home was parked behind a closed business when it caught fire, Baldwin Park police Lt. Chris Kuberry said.
About 30 firefighters extinguished the flames within 15 minutes and discovered Baggett, who was pronounced dead at the scene, officials s aid.
The cause of the fire was not available Saturday.
SOUTH EL MONTE >> Two men and a dog suffered burns when a fire broke out at a hash oil extraction lab operating out of a South El Monte motel early Sunday, authorities said. A third, possibly injured suspect was believed to be at large.
Los Angeles County deputies and firefighters responding to reports of a structure fire about 12:40 a.m. encountered several rooms ablaze at the Motel 6, 1228 Durfee Ave., according to Deputy Lisa Jansen of the sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames, she said. Two men, as well as a dog, suffered burns in the fire.
One of the men suffered major burn injuries, while the second man’s injuries appeared less severe, Sgt. James Long said. An update on their conditions was not available.
“Detectives from Arson-Explosives Detail responded and, based on recovered evidence, determined there was a possible ‘honey oil’ marijuana extraction laboratory at the location,” Jansen said in a written statement. Deputies seized equipment associated with the alleged hash oil extraction.
Officials took the two suspects to a hospital to receive treatment prior to facing potential criminal charges, officials said. The injured dog was taken to a veterinary hospital in unknown condition.
“Investigators believe another suspect, with possible burn injuries, may have left the location prior to their arrival,” Jansen said.
Deputies found scorched clothing believed to have been shed by the third suspect before fleeing the scene, Long said. No description of the man was available.
Officials estimated that the fire caused $80,000 worth of damage to the motel.
Detectives from the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force’s Clandestine Laboratory Team responded to the scene and is spearheading the investigation.
Anyone with information is urged to contact LA IMPACT at 323-869-6874. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
INDUSTRY >> A fire broke out in a commercial building in Industry on Friday afternoon.
The fire was first reported at 1:34 p.m. as a machine on fire inside a commercial structure in the 200 block of Puente Avenue, Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said.
The fire soon spread to the building itself, and firefighters declared a second-alarm fire, calling in reinforcements and assuming a defensive stance against the fire, which sent a thick, black plume of smoke into the sky above the San Gabriel Valley.
The flames were all but extinguished by 3 p.m., with firefighters working to douse lingering “hot spots” in the scorched 50-foot by 150-foot bulding, Inspector Joey Marron said.
Officials declared the fire “knocked down” at 3:42 p.m., according to Dipatch Supervisor Cheryl Simms.
One firefighter was taken to a hospital for treatment of a minor injury, she said.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
PHOTO by Sarah Reingewirtz