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


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.”


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


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


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


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


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


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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UPDATED: Burned body discovered in wake of Sand fire in Santa Clarita

SANTA CLARITA >> Homicide detectives are investigating the death of a man whose body was discovered late Saturday inside a car charred by the raging Sand fire in Santa Clarita, which has consumed more than 22,000 acres and 18 homes, authorities said Sunday.
The body, described only as that of a man, was discovered about 7:20 p.m. in the 26700 block of Iron Canyon Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
“Firefighters battling the Sand fire discovered the remains of an unknown person inside a burned small compact sedan that was parked in the driveway of a residence,” Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. “At this time, there is no indication that the death was a criminal event.”
Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner’s investigators were working to determine the identity of the victim, as well as his cause of death.
The Sand fire ignited Friday afternoon near the 14 Freeway and Sand Canyon Road, according to the U.S. Forest Service, which was working to battle the flames in unified command with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Eighteen homes were destroyed by the fire, and another was damaged, authorities announced Sunday morning.
“Residents in Sand Canyon and Placenta Canyon should remain vigilant. Residents in Soledad Canyon going into Agua Dulce and Acton should remain on high alert,” USFS officials said in a statement.
An estimated 1,500 homes and 100 commercial structures were threatened by the fire, with tens of thousands more potentially in harms way, depending on the fire’s behavior in the coming hours and days.
Hundreds of homes remained under evacuation orders.
Officials initially established an evacuation center at Golden Valley High School, but moved it to Hart High School, 24825 Newhall Ave., Saturday night, sheriff’s officials said. Another evacuation center was established at the Lakeview Terrace Recreation Center, 11075 Foothill Blvd. in Lakeview Terrace.
More than 1,600 firefighters were fighting the Sand fire Sunday, using 122 engines, 39 hand crews, 8 bulldozers and 15 helicopters, according to the USFS. It was 10 percent contained.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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UPDATED: Remains of two people recovered from footprint of San Gabriel Complex fires


ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> Coroner’s officials and sheriff’s homicide investigators continued working Friday to recover the remains of two people discovered in an area burned during the recent San Gabriel Complex fires in the Angeles National Forest north of Azusa, authorities said.
The badly charred remains were first discovered shortly after 2 p.m. Thursday along San Gabriel Canyon Road, near the origin point of the Reservoir Fire, which was ignited June 20 when a pickup truck crashed off the side of the road, bursting into flames and killing the driver.
“The identification and gender of the remains are unknown as they were burned beyond recognition,” according to Deputy Guillermina Saldana of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau said.
“Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner personnel indicate it may take approximately four weeks to accurately identify the remains,” she said.
A passery-by first reported making the grisly discovery.
“A fire crew from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, working in the area, was flagged down by a person who indicated they had located human remains,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Sheriff’s officials responded to the scene but did not immediately find the remains described by the witness, officials said.
“The Los Angeles County Fire Department conducted an initial search from the air, but did not locate any signs of remains in the steep and rough terrain,” according to the statement.
Members of the San Dimas Mountain Rescue Team continued searching on the ground and ultimately found “what appears to be the human remains of two people,” according to Deputy Trina Schrader of the sheriff’s Information Bureau.
The remains were discovered on a ravine just east of the Morris Dam, Winter said.
Sheriff’s officials cordoned off the scene and kept watch overnight. Sheriff’s homicide detectives and coroner’s Special Operations and Recovery Team members, who specialize in excavating and recovering remains, returned to the site at dawn Friday to resume their investigation and recovery efforts.
The remains were exhumed Friday afternoon, officials said.
It was unclear whether the death were a result of the fire, or occurred before it began.
The Reservoir Fire grew to more than 1,100 acres before being contained, U.S. Forest Service officials said.
About 90 minutes after the Reservoir Fire ignited, a second fire broke out in the hillsides north of Duarte, officials said. The Fish Fire, named due to it’s proximity to Fish Canyon, scorched more than 4,200 acres before being contained. The cause remained under investigation Friday, U.S. Forest Service Fire spokesman Nathan Judy said.
The two separate but nearby wildfires were christened the San Gabriel Complex fires.

PHOTO: Los Angeles sheriff’s County Deputy Harper looks over a ridge on June 23, 2016, where a truck was found that was believed to have started the Reservoir Fire, one half of the two-fire San Gabriel Complex Fire, that ignited in the Angeles National Forest north of the San Gabriel Valley on June 20, 2016. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

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Cockatiel rescued from burning home in Pasadena


PASADENA >> Firefighters rescued a cockatiel and saved residents’ prized possessions after a “stubborn” fire scorched a Pasadena Saturday afternoon.
A young man and woman who were home when the fire ignited about 1 p.m. along Las Lunas Street, just west of Altadena Drive, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
Both occupants, a brother and sister, managed to get of the home before firefighters arrived after being alerted to the fire by smoke alarms and the smell of smoke, she said. The brother was examined for possible smoke inhalation, but did not appear seriously injured.
0703_NWS_PSN-L-PASFIREThe “very stubborn” fire remained primarily confined to the home’s attic and roof, Derderian said. Firefighters worked for about half an hour to extinguish it.
Firefighters rescued a caged pet cockatiel from the burning home, and also managed to save a poster autographed by basketball star Kobe Bryant, at the request of a resident, she said.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation. A dollar-value estimate of the damage was not yet available, however Derderian described the damage to the home as “significant.”

PHOTOS courtesy of Pasadena Fire Department Chief Bertral Washington

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