LA PUENTE >> A man suffered severe burns and a woman and a sheriff’s deputy were also hurt in an apartment fire early Sunday, officials said.
Firefighters rescued the man and woman from within the burning apartment after the blaze broke out about 1:22 a.m. in the 15400 block of West Francisquito Avenue, Los Angeles County fire and sheriff’s officials said.
The critically injured man was hospitalized with burns over about 40 percent of his body, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Al Jackson said.
The woman, who also had to be rescued by firefighters, was hospitalized for treatment of possible inhalation burns, he added.
A sheriff’s deputy who first tried to enter the flame-engulfed apartment was treated for smoke inhalation but was expected to be OK, sheriff’s Sgt. Rico Sandoval said.
Deputies were unable to enter the burning home themselves, Sandoval said. Fortunately, firefighters were quickly on-scene with their breathing apparatus and other equipment and managed to get the trapped occupants out. The sergeant credited the firefighters’ quick response for saving the victims’ lives.
“Had the fire department not showed up when they did, those people would be dead,” Sandoval said.
The first firefighters to arrive found the apartment “fully involved” with fire, Jackson said. They extinguished the flames in just over 20 minutes.
The fire primarily scorched one apartment unit, but a second family was displaced from an adjacent apartment as a result of the fire as well, he said.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
WEST COVINA >> A fire blamed on an unattended cigarette tore through a residential garage early Saturday, officials said.
The 3 a.m. fire in the 800 block of South Lark Ellen Avenue caused about $100,000 worth of damage to the attached garage, West Covina Fire Department Capt. Scott Gilmore said.
The residents all got out of the home safely before firefighters arrived, the captain said. One firefighter suffered a minor back injury while battling the blaze, but did not require hospitalization.
Twenty-one firefighters extinguished the fire in about 30 minutes, Gilmore said.
The cause was determined to be a cigarette a resident had left unattended in the garage, he said.
PASADENA >> A man was hospitalized in critical condition following an early-morning residential garage fire, officials said.
A resident awoke just before 4 a.m. to the smell smoke emanating from a garage beneath a townhome in the 700 block of N. Garfield Avenue, just north of Orange Grove Boulevard, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
Another resident of the home in his 20s who was inside the burning garage suffered smoke inhalation, she said. He was taken to a hospital where he was listed in critical condition.
Two adults and two children got out of the townhome safely, and firefighters also rescued three Chihuahuas from the home, Derderian said. The fire did not spread to the townhome.
Investigators determined the cause of the fire was an electrical cord failure, she said.
The second-alarm fire caused an estimated $50,000 worth of damage to the garage and items inside of it, including a Mercedes-Benz sedan, Derderian said.
PHOTO courtesy of the Pasadena Fire Department
BASSETT >> Fumes from mixing nail polish are blamed for a massive fire that caused nearly $3 million worth of damage to a Bassett cosmetics manufacturing plant Friday, forcing the closure of the factory and left the jobs of more than 30 workers in question, at least for the next several months.
The massive fire burned for more than three hours Friday after erupting shortly after 5 p.m. at LASplash Cosmetics, 13324 E. Valley Boulevard, in the unincorporated county area.
“The cause was ignition from an electric drill while mixing nail polish,” Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Melanie Flores said.
Officials estimated the fire caused $1.9 million worth of damage to the building, and another $1 million in damage to the building’s contents, Flores said.
Workers busily cleared debris and salvaged what they could Sunday afternoon.
In a statement on the company’s Instagram account Saturday, LASplash representatives announced the company has had to shut down.
“We had an unfortunate accident yesterday. Our factory was burnt down. We are thankful that all employees got out safe,” the statement said. “We have to temporarily shut down our operation. Please allow us some time to reorganize. We will be back up and running as soon as we can.”
A company officials at the gutted business Sunday who did not wish to be identified said the LASplash Cosmetics employes between 30 and 50 workers, depending on season.
The business hoped to reopen at a different location within two to three months, he said, adding that much of the irreplaceable items, such as data stored on computer hard drives, appeared to have been spared by the flames. A meeting between company officials and employees to discuss plans for the immediate future was planned Monday.
The company promised to post additional updates when more information is available.
The Instagram message also addressed customers who have placed recent orders.
“For those of you who placed your orders (Friday), we will check the status of all the orders shortly. As soon as our first computer can be up and running, we will be sending notifications out.”
More than 750 people had left comments of support on LaSplash Cosemetic’s social media post by Sunday afternoon.
The fire sent flames and a thick, black plume of smoke high into the air above Valley Boulevard, and caused traffic to back up throughout the area.
One civilian suffered injuries described as first- and second-degree burns to his legs in the blaze, Flores said. He declined to be hospitalized by ambulance, electing instead to seek treatment on his own.
As is standard procedure with respect to workplace mishaps, the California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Occupational Safety and Health was expected to investigate, officials said.
BASSETT >> A massive fire ripped through a cosmetics manufacturing plant in Bassett on Friday sending flames and a thick plume of black smoke high above the San Gabriel Valley before firefighters got the upper hand, officials said.
The fire, which burned for more than three hours. was first reported about 5:10 p.m. at the two-story, 15,000- to 20,000-square-foot commercial building at Valley Boulevard and Collwood Avenue in the unincorporated county area near Industry, Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Randall Wright said.
One civilian suffered burns in the fire, but was treated at the scene and did not wish to be taken to a hospital, fire Dispatch Supervisor Michael Pittman said. No firefighters were hurt.
Upon firefighters’ arrival, “We had fire through the roof,” Wright said.
“We started an aggressive interior fire attack,” he said. But concerns over possible volatile chemicals and propane tanks stored on-site slowed fire fighting efforts, officials added.
Early in the fire, “They did hear large explosions,” Wright said. The source of the explosions had not been determined.
Firefighters pulled back and took a “defensive” posture against the fire, drowning it with water from above with the use of aerial ladders, Wright said. A second-alarm was declared, bringing about 55 firefighters to the scene.
Officials declared the fire extinguished at 8:23 p.m., Pittman said. Firefighters were expected to remain on-scene “mopping up” well into the night as a cause investigator examined the scene for clues as to have the fire ignited.
Melissa Valdivia, 15, of Bassett, said she was walking to the store when she saw the massive smoke plume and decided to take a look.
She said she spotted flames towering about 50 feet above the building, and thick smoke created an opaque wall along Valley Boulevard.
Even from the spot she was standing 100 or so yards away, “You could feel the heat,” she said.
Officials worked to gauge and mitigate any potentially dangerous fumed emanating from the fire, Wright said. People were kept upwind of the fire, and nine residents of nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution. No issues related to fumes were reported.
Authorities shut down Valley Boulevard between the 605 Freeway and Workman Mill Road during the incident, as well as side streets running along it. Traffic backed up heavily throughout the area.
PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Fire Department
PASADENA >> A fire in an underground electrical vault briefly prompted the evacuation of the Corner Bakery Cafe Thursday afternoon, officials said.
The fire broke shortly before 2:20 p.m. when debris gathered inside the underground vault near the cafe, at Lake Avenue and Del Mar Boulevard, caught fire, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
Officials evacuated no more than 20 people from the bakery and nearby area as firefighters quickly extinguished the fire and waited for the smoke to clear, she said. Lake Avenue was shut down in the area.
But the bakery returned to business as usual within an hour, and the street reopened, Derderian said. The fire resulted in no power outage.
Los Angeles County firefighters fought a stubborn house fire exacerbated by packrat conditions at this Glendora, Calif. residence in the 700 block of N. Grand Ave. at 1 a.m. Sunday, May 10, 2015. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)
GLENDORA >> A large fire blamed on an electrical malfunction gutted a Glendora home early Sunday, officials said.
A neighbor called 9-1-1 about 1 a.m. to report the home in the 700 block of North Grand Avenue was on fire, Glendora police Lt. Matt Williams said. The residents were away visiting family.
Dozens of firefighters responded to the burning two-story home, which was densely packed with items, fueling the flames, officials said.
Firefighters doused smoldering remnants for more than three hours before declaring the fire extinguished, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Bernard Peters said. No injuries were reported.
Officials estimated fire caused $600,000 worth of damage to the structure alone, which city officials red-tagged, Williams said. The value of the contents of the home damaged or destroyed in the fire was not clear.
The fire was believed to have been sparked by an electrical malfunction on the second floor, Williams said.
PHOTO/VIDEO by Leo Jarzomb
DIAMOND BAR >> A brush fire broke out Thursday afternoon along Derringer Lane.
The fire was first reported just before 4 p.m in the 1800 block of Derringer Lane, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Keith Mora said.
It grew to 2.5 acres before firefighters got the flames extinguished in about an hour, fire Dispatch Supervisor Cheryl Simms said. No structures were initially threatened, and no injuries were reported, the captain said.
The fire was burning with a 5- to 10 mph wind at its back ad firefighters poured water on the fire from both hoses and helicopters, Mora said.
The cause was under investigation.
SOUTH EL MONTE >> Three people died and three suspects are being sought for a firebombing Saturday at a tire shop that also injured a firefighter responding to the blaze, authorities said.
The alleged attack took place about 5:30 a.m. at Cheque Tires, 1252 Santa Anita Ave., Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
“We received a call from an informant that he saw three males throw a Molotov cocktail at a business,” Sgt. Jim Dexter said.
Deputies and firefighters found the building “fully engulfed” in flames, he said.
“Deputies and fire department personnel saw a man within the business compound and behind the heavily locked gates of the location, badly burned and trying to escape the fire,” according to Deputy Guillermina Saldana of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
“Despite rescue personnel’s efforts to rescue the victim, he was overcome by flames and succumbed to his injuries,” she said.
As the investigation continued, officials discovered to additional bodies inside the charred business Saturday afternoon, Deputy Ryan Rouzan said. The two additional victims were initially described only as adults.
The deaths were being investigated as homicides.
A firefighter suffered second-degree burns to his face while battling the fire, Dexter said. The injury was not believed to be serious.
More than 65 firefighters worked for about 45 minutes to extinguish the flames, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Brian Jordan said.
They also rescued a dog from the property, which was turned over to animal control officials, he said.
The suspects were last seen fleeing south on Santa Anita Avenue from the scene of the fire in a white Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, sheriff’s officials said. No further suspect description was known.
The victim’s name was not released Saturday pending positive identification and notification of his family, Saldana said.
The motive in the fatal firebombing remained a mystery.
Santa Anita Avenue remained closed to traffic as sheriff’s and fire officials continued working at the scene Saturday afternoon.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTOS by James Carbone
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA >> Smoke from the nearly 1,000-acre Highway Fire burning near Prado Dam on the border of Chino and Corona is creating a potential smoke hazard for surrounding communities, South Coast Air Quality Management District officials cautioned Sunday.
The fire, which has scorched 980 acres and was 25 percent contained Sunday afternoon, was expected to create “heavy smoke throughout the area, potentially for several days,” AQMD officials said in a written statement.
The smoke was expected to be pushed by onshore winds toward the central San Bernardino Mountains Sunday, officials said.
“Current air quality measurements are mostly in the Moderate category throughout the Inland Empire and the remainder of the
Basin, but localized areas may reach the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups level, or higher, at times, depending on winds and containment of the fire,” according to the AQMD statement.
The most-impacted areas include the western and central San Bernardino Valley and the Norco-Corona area.
Officials urged children, the elderly and residents in the affected areas suffering from respiratory or heart disease to stay indoors. Everyone in the area should avoid vigorous exertion.
“Run your air conditioner if you have one,” the statement said. “Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside. To avoid worsening the health effects of wildfire smoke, don’t use indoor or outdoor wood-burning appliances, including fireplaces.”