PASADENA — An apartment house fire scorched two units early Sunday, displacing the residents but resulting in no injuries, authorities said.
The fire broke out about 1:50 a.m. at a two-story apartment building in the 500 block of North Hill Avenue, just south of Orange Grove Boulevard, according to Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian.
The first firefighters to arrive at the scene encountered flames emanating from an apartment on the second floor, with flames spreading into the attic, prompting officials to call in reinforcements, officials said.
After extinguishing the blaze, which damaged two units, investigators determined the cause of the blaze as a malfunctioning wall heater, Derderian said.
Three adults and a small child were displaced from the two damaged units, Derderian said. The Red Cross was summoned to help them find temporary housing.
Residents of the other 12 or so units in the building were evacuated during the fire, but allowed to return once it was out, she added.
Due to the “frigid cold,” police officers kept vulnerable evacuees such as young children inside heated police cars or the department’s mobile command center until they were able to return home, Derderian said.
Officials estimated the fire caused $375,000 worth of damage to the affected units and the contents inside.
PHOTOS courtesy of Jamie Nicholson/Pasadena Fire Department
AZUSA — Police and arson investigators suspected “very suspicious” series of fires reported in a brush area near Fish Canyon Sunday may have been the work of an arsonist, authorities said.The first in a series of three fires was reported about 12:40 p.m. along Encanto Parkway, near the Vulcan Materials Company on Fish Canyon Road, Azusa police and Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said.
Firefighters made quick work of the spot fires, which were under control in matter of minutes, fire Dispatch Supervisor Bernard Peters said. Water dropping aircraft were on stand-by, but ultimately were not needed.
The three small fires scorched less than an acre in total, but caught the eye of arson investigators.
“They’re suspected to be deliberately set,” Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Gerald Gonzales said. He added that investigators were, “leaning toward arson.”
It appeared homeless people camp in the area, however it was not immediately clear if that played a role in the fires, he said.
Officials noted several suspicious factors in connection with the fire.
“When our officers went on-scene, it appeared to them that there were flare-ups that were occurring in what almost looked like measured intervals,” Schmidt said.
Additionally, “They did find a motorcycle that appeared to have been concealed nearby,” the sergeant said. The registered owner could not be found.
“At the very least, it’s very suspicious,” Schmidt said.
Another small fire was reported in the same general area and quickly extinguished by 5:30 a.m. Sunday, Gonzales added. The cause of that fire was not determined.
The fire burned very close to the scene of the Madre Fire, which scorched 268 acres in late-September.
That fire was determined to be human caused, though investigators stopped short of labeling it arson, Schmidt said.
PASASDENA — A fire damaged a Walnut street business early Sunday, officials said.
The fire was reported about 1 a.m. at a home that had been subdivided into two businesses in the 1100 block of East Walnut Street, Pasadena police and fire officials said.
The lone resident was not home at the time, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
Firefighters extinguished the flames, and determined the cause of the fire was electrical in nature, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said. A failing electrical wire inside a lamp was ultimately blamed.
No injuries were reported, and the fire was confined to a single room, officials said.
IRWINDALE — For the second time in two days, a flaming big rig brought the afternoon commute through the San Gabriel Valley to a crawl Friday, this time in Irwindale, authorities said.
No injuries were reported in connection with the fire, which ignited about 5:15 p.m. in the westbound lanes of the 210 Freeway at the 605 Freeway, California Highway Patrol Officer Tony Polizzi said.
Callers first reported seeing a big rig disabled and on fire in the No. 3 lane of traffic, the officer said. Subsequent callers reported the fire grew until the truck was fully engulfed.
Firefighters extinguished the blaze in about 20 minutes, according to CHP logs. The cause was unclear.
Officials initially shut down all but the carpool lane as they extinguished the fire and removed the scorched truck from the roadway. A little over an hour later, the carpool and two left-hand lanes had been reopened.
HACIENDA HEIGHTS — Details continued to emerge Friday regarding a hydrogen-hauling big rig that erupted into flames on the 60 Freeway in Hacienda Heights, however the total destruction of the truck made it impossible to determine the exact cause of the fire, officials said.
The blaze in eastbound traffic lanes near Hacienda Boulevard drew a massive emergency response and forced the closure of both directions of the 60 Freeway for more than six hours, California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said.
The driver of the truck, a 39-year-old San Bernardino woman, escaped from her burning big rig unscathed, CHP Officer Joe Zizi said.
Officials intended to impound the charred truck, which displayed logos of the company Praxair, and thoroughly examine it to determine exactly what caused the fire, officials said. The truck was based out of Ontario.
“Unfortunately, the entire cab of the truck was burned to the ground,” he said. But officials suspected the fire was related to an engine problem.
With not enough truck left to examine, “We have to take the driver’s word for it that there was a pop in the engine,” Zizi said. Fire officials confirmed that the fire originated in the front section of the cab.
“(The driver) was able to get out before it got fully engulfed,” Zizi said. “The tried to get the fire extinguisher, but couldn’t get to it because of the flames.”
But the driver was able to quickly inform authorities that the truck contained 4,000 pounds of highly flammable compressed hydrogen gas, he said.
“The heat of the engine fire impinged on the trailer, and caused the pressure release piping to leak,” Zizi said. A pressure valve melted, and two pipes began leaking hydrogen gas, which ignited.
“There was 3 to 4 feet of flames coming from the hydrogen tanks,” Zizi said. “Fortunately, it wasn’t compromised completely.”
Fire Capt. Scott Miller said firefighters took a “defensive” stance as they poured water on the burning tractor-trailer for several hours. Even after the flames were extinguished, firefighters continued hosing down the tanks to make sure they had cooled entirely.
Officials allowed all of the remaining hydrogen to vent from the tanks before moving the big rig.
And although the big rig fire snarled traffic throughout the area and tied up emergency personnel for hours, “In a worst-case scenario, it could have been very terrible,” Zizi said. “Everybody did a great job.”
New York-based Praxair has a “satisfactory” rating with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The company consists of 749 drivers, and has better-than-average safety statistics in all categories.
PHOTO courtesy of the L.A. County Fire Department
HACEINDA HEIGHTS — A big rig believed to be hauling compressed hydrogen cylinders caught fire on the 60 Freeway in Hacienda Heights Thursday afternoon, prompting authorities to shut down both directions of the freeway.
The fire was reported just before 2:50 p.m. on the eastbound side of the freeway near Hacienda Boulevard, according to California Highway Patrol logs. The truck was hauling long cylinders believed to contain compressed hydrogen
Firefighters pumped water onto the fire from a distance, and CHP officers kept traffic well away from the burning big rig, diverting motorists off at nearby exits.
Eastbound traffic was initially being diverted at the Seventh Avenue offramp, however officials ultimately closed eastbound traffic all the way back to the 605 Freeway, CHP Officer Patrick Kimball said. Westbound traffic was being diverted of the 60 Freeway at Azusa Avenue, creating a mile-long buffer between the fire and freeway traffic.
The fire was largely extinguished by 4 p.m., however authorities still considered the trailer to pose a risk of potential explosion, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
“Where we stand right now, we’re still cooling the tanks, letting the tanks vent into the atmosphere,” Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Scott Miller said shortly before 4:30 p.m.
Once the tanks were emptied, he said, officials hoped to start working to move the scorched remains of the truck and reopen the freeway.
No injuries were reported in connection with the fire, Miller said.
Deputies were preparing to evacuate homes if necessary along residential streets, particularly those just south of the truck fire.
It was unclear how long the freeway would remain closed as a result of the fire.
PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Fire Department
IRWINDALE — A large fire gutted a vacant, stone-built, city-owned house Thursday, officials said.
Passers-by first reported seeing flames emanating from the house along Arrow Highway at Allen Drive just after 6 p.m., Irwindale police Sgt. George Zendejas said.
The home was engulfed in fire, with flames shooting through the roof, when firefighters arrived on-scene, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Mark Delgado said.
“We could see a large column of smoke probably two miles out,” he said.
A partial roof collapse prompted firefighters to assume a defensive stance as they doused the burning home with water, officials said. The flames were extinguished in about half an hour.
The house sustained major damage, Delgado said, though a dollar-value estimate was not immediately available.
An arson investigator was summoned to the scene to look into the cause of the fire.
There was no electricity connected at the vacant home, Delgado said. Officials were investigating the possibility transients staying inside the vacant home may have caused the blaze.
No injuries were reported to civilians or firefighters, Delgado said.
LA VERNE — A fire scorched an apartment Thursday afternoon, however no injuries were reported, authorities said.
The fire ignited about 3:40 p.m. at a second-floor apartment unit int he 2600 block of Sycamore Drive, La Verne Fire Department spokeswoman Rafaela Giles said.
Firefighters declared the fire knocked down 24 minutes later, she said.
The cause of the fire, as well as the extent of the damage, was not immediately clear.
A house was gutted, two firefighters suffered minor burns and a pet dog was rescued in a fire along Royal Oaks Drive early Sunday, officials said.
The fire was first reported at 3:16 a.m. at a single-story house in the 400 block of Royal Oaks Drive, just east of California Avenue, Monrovia Fire Department Division Chief Ron Pelham said.
A couple who lives in the home had managed to get out unharmed when firefighters arrived, he said. A third resident of the home — their granddaughter — was not present at the time of the fire.
Firefighters also rescued a small white dog from inside the burning home unharmed, Pelham said.
Two firefighters were treated for minor burns suffered while battling the blaze, but were quickly treated and released from the hospital, Pelham said. Firefighters extinguished the flames in about 20 minutes.
The home was badly damaged, however it was not yet determined whether it would be a total loss, officials said.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
ROSEMEAD — A fire blamed on discarded matches scorched a third-floor apartment Tuesday, however firefighters doused the flames before they spread to any other units, officials said.
The fire was reported shortly before 6 p.m. at a large apartment complex in the 6300 block of Rosemead Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Anthony Haynes said.
The resident of the apartment got out unharmed, and firefighters extinguished the fire before it could damage other apartments, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Richard Johnson said.
The fire was believed to have been caused by matches that had been left on a bed before completely extinguished, Johnson said. A dollar-vale estimate of the damage caused by the fire was not available.