Brush fire ignites near Rose Hills in Whittier

WHITTIER >> A brush fire broke out on a hillside neighboring Rose Hills Memorial Park and Cemetery Saturday, officials said.
The fire was first reported about 5 p.m. just to the east of the memorial park at 3888 Workman Mill Road, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Bernard Peters said.
Firefighters on the ground were joined by three helicopters as they poured water onto the flames, Peters said.
The fire grew to 1-and-a-half acres before fighters declared it extinguished just over an hour after it began, officials said.
No injuries were reported.

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South Pasadena home destroyed by fire

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SOUTH PASADENA >> Firefighters responded about 4 a.m. to the fire at the single-story house in the 800 block of Kendall Avenue, South Pasadena Fire Department Capt. Chris Szenczi said.
The fire caused an estimated $600,000 worth of damage to the house and it’s contents, however no injuries were reported, the captain said.
Los Angeles firefighters who happened to be nearby arrived first at the scene, and were soon joined by their counterparts in the South Pasadena Fire Department, as well as other nearby fire departments, Scenczi said.
Firefighters extinguished the fire in slightly less than an hour.
The home was vacant following the recent death of resident, Scenczi said. The items inside had been boxed up in preparation to remove them from the home.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation, however officials were looking into the possibility the fire was ignited by boxes left on top of a gas floor heater, Szenczi said.

PHOTOS by Rick McClure. GALLERY

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UPDATED: Tanker truck bursts into flames in Boyle Heights; creates “river of fire”

BOYLE HEIGHTS >> A tanker truck overturned and burst into flames in Boyle Heights Friday, releasing a river of flaming gasoline that significantly damaged one home and destroyed an SUV before firefighters got the upper hand, officials said.
The tanker fire was first reported about 3:30 p.m. in the 2600 block of 8th Street, just east of Soto Street, according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey.
The driver of the tandem tanker truck driver was entering the 5 Freeway from the 8th Street offramp when the rear trailer overturned and caught fire, Humphrey said. A second fuel tanker being hauled by the truck remained on its wheels.
The driver escaped unscathed from the burning big rig, officials said. The intense fire sent a thick black plume into the air that was visible for miles around.
The “bulk of visible fire” was controlled about an hour after it began, officials said.
Humphrey said the tanker, which had a capacity of 4,800 gallons, was believed to be carrying unknown type of fuel, however further details were not available.
The truck driver was attempting to enter the 5 Freeway from the 8th Street onramp when the mishap occurred, officials said.
The local street and 8th Avenue onramp were expected to remain closed through the afternoon to allow for clean-up, investigation and utility repairs, Humphrey said.
Fuel leaking from the burning tanker produced a “river of fire” that headed downhill, Humphrey said. The fire destroyed an SUV that was parked along the curb.
“There were three homes in the path of the fire,” he said.
The two homes nearest to the fire sustained only cosmetic damage such as singed eves.
But the flow of burning gasoline made its way around the corner and set fire to triplex and some nearby brush, Humphrey said. At least one unit in the subdivided building sustained significant damage, and the residents would be temporarily displaced.
The two tanker trailers being hailed by the truck had a combined capacity of about 9,000 gallons of gasoline, Humphrey said. The rear trailer, which overturned and caught fire, contained about 4,800 gallons of fuel.
Nearly 3,000 gallons of gas leaked from the truck, Humphrey said. The second tanker did not rupture.
Firefighters worked to carefully drill a hole in the overturned tanker and use a vaccuum truck to drain it of an estimated 2,000 gallons of remaining fuel, Humphrey said.
The 8th Street onramp tot he 5 Freeway, as well as a small portion of 8th Street, were expected to remain closed at least through the end of Friday.
The bulk of “visible flames” was extinguished within about 20 minutes, Humphrey said. The fire was declared fully extinguished about 80 minutes after it ignited.

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Fire scorches garage attached to El Monte apartment building

EL MONTE >> A fire damaged a garage attached to an apartment building Thursday, but resulted in no injuries, officials said.
Firefighters first responded to a report of smoke emanating from the 4000 block of La Madera Avenue about 12:30 p.m., Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Randall Wright said.
The first engine to arrive found smoke pouring from the garage, which was attacked to a single-story apartment building, Wright said. Firefighters extinguished the blaze in just over 20 minutes.
No civilians or firefighters were hurt, and no apartment residents were displaced, he said.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation. A dollar-value estimate of the damage was not available.

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Fire destroys home, commercial building in San Gabriel

SAN GABRIEL >> A large fire in San Gabriel destroyed a vacant home and a commercial building and sent one person to a hospital with smoke inhalation Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
Firefighters first responded about 1:40 p.m. to a report of a fire in the 500 block of West Norwood Place, San Gabriel Fire Department Division Chief Bryan Frieders said.
“When the first arriving companies got there, the house was fully involved with flames and smoke,” the chief said. The house was vacant.
The fire had also spread into an attached 2,500-square-foot commercial building, which was also believed to be vacant, Frieders said.
Firefighters declared a “second alarm,” bringing about 55 personnel to the scene.
An elderly neighbor was taken to a hospital in good condition after apparently becoming overwhelmed by smoke emanating from the fire, Frieders said.
Officials extinguished the flames in 37 minutes, he said. A portion of the roof of the burning commercial building collapsed during the fire, as well as a wall inside the house.
The house and commercial building were destroyed by the fire, Frieders said, and the value of the damage was estimated to be $600,000.
But firefighters managed to keep the fire from spreading to a second home situated only a few feet away from the first, as well as to a backyard aviary containing more than a dozen birds.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation, however investigators noted the structures have had reported issues with squatters in the past.
As firefighters worked to extinguish the Norwood Place fire, a second fire sparked at a nearby liquor store in the 1700 block of New Avenue, Frieders said.
The fire ignited inside the businesses electrical box, and ultimately caused about $30,000 to the store and its contents. It would have been much worse had firefighters not been so close when it started, Frieders said.
The cause of the liquor store fire also remained under investigation Thursday, though officials were looking into the possibility the electrical fire was caused by damage from the first fire, Frieders said. Both businesses are wired to the same electrical pole.

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UPDATED: Explosive 4-alarm fire tears through three Santa Fe Springs businesses

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SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A massive fire fueled by exploding drums of flammable chemicals destroyed three businesses, comprised of five buildings, in Santa Fe Springs Saturday.
A paint company, an epoxy coating company and a machine shop were involved in the four-alarm fire, which broke out about 4:10 p.m. in the 12800 block of Sunshine Avenue, Santa Fe Springs Fire Department Chief Mike Crook said.
Heavy black smoke and flames poured from the building when firefighters arrived, the chief said. Soon after firefighters began pouring water on the flames, 55-gallon drums full of flammable chemicals began exploding, Crook said.
“They started with a pretty aggressive attack,” he said. “Drums were exploding, they were taking off into the air. They pulled back, had to go defensive.”
The drums were both inside and outside several of the burning buildings.
Firefighters from the Los Angeles County, Downey, Compton and Vernon fire departments helped Santa Fe Springs firefighters douse the blaze for more than four hours before it was declared knocked down. Firefighters expected to remain at the scene handling smoldering hot spots into the early morning hours Sunday.
Hazardous materials crews were on-hand to monitor potential hazards, Crook said. No chemicals were detected at dangerous levels in either the air surrounding the perimeter of the fire or the water flowing away from it.
The fire was believed to have originated inside epoxy coating company B.D. Classic Enterprises, Crook said. It was first reported by a custodian working in the business park.
Crook said the fire then spread to the neighboring Life Paint Co. and Robert’s Honing and Gundrilling Inc.
Police shut down nearby streets as firefighters handled the massive fire, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
All three involved businesses were closed at the time the fire broke out, Crook said.
The neighboring businesses were all largely empty, and No evacuations were ordered during the fire, according to Downey Fire Department dispatchers. No injuries were reported to civilians or firefighters.
Though the building were largely destroyed, firefighters worked hard to protect the businesses’ important documents, Crook said. “The guys did a great job of protecting the offices and the records.”
The investigation into the cause of the fire remained in its early stages. A dollar-value estimate of the damage was not available late Saturday.

PHOTO by Mike Mullen

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Fire damages Pasadena auto body shop, destroys two cars

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PASADENA >> A fire at a Pasadena auto body shop damaged a garage and destroyed two cars parked inside, causing about $375,000 worth of damage early Saturday, officials said.
The fire broke out just after 7:20 a.m. at Alliance Auto Body. 826 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
0928_NWS_PSN-L-GARAGEFIRE2Firefighters were greeted by heavy smoke and large flames when they arrived and started pouring water onto the burning garage, Derderian said. The burning building was a garage behind the main auto body shop used for auto detailing and prep work, officials added.
Officials declared the fire extinguished about half an hour later, Derderian said. The business was closed at the time of the fire, and no injuries were reported.
Fire officials estimated the fire caused $300,000 worth of damage to the building, and $75,000 in damage to the two cars and other items inside.
Derderian said the destroyed cars were a Volkswagen and a Dodge.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

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PHOTOS courtesy of the Pasadena Fire Department

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UPDATED: Fire scorches Rosemead apartment building

ROSEMEAD >> A fire broke out at a two-story apartment building in Rosemead Friday before being quickly extinguished by firefighters, officials said.
The fire was first reported at 2:11 p.m.. at an apartment building in the 3100 block of East Del Mar Avenue, near Whitmore Street, Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Randall Wright said.
Firefighters arrived on-scene in four minutes and found smoke rising from a second-floor apartment unit, Wright said.
Firefighters kept the blaze confined to the kitchen where it originated, fire Capt. Kent Chatfield said.
They doused the fire and declared it “knocked down” at 2:27 p.m., Wright added.
The apartment in which the fire ignited was left uninhabitable, Chatfield said. The other residents of the building were initially evacuated, but expected to be able to get back into their homes Friday afternoon.
No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire was under investigation.

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Temple City house fire blamed on ‘honey oil’ lab

TEMPLE CITY >> A house fire that ignited Tuesday, blew out windows and caused about $152,500 in damages is believed to have been caused by the manufacture of concentrated cannabis, also known as “honey oil,” authorities said.
The blaze was first reported shortly after 8 p.m. at a home in the 9800 block of Garibaldi Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and fire officials said.
Firefighters found butane bottles and turned over the case to the sheriff’s Temple station, fire Inspector Rick Flores said.
Butane is commonly used in process of concentrating marijuana into a more potent forms.
Investigators labeled the incident a “reckless fire,” believed caused by, “the manufacture of a controlled substance,” sheriff’s Lt. Ismael Chavez said.
Flores said nobody was home when firefighters arrived. Windows were blown out and the fire spread throughout the house, he said.
Firefighters put out the blaze at 8:21 p.m.
Flores estimated damages to the structure at $150,000 and the $2,500 to the contents.
No suspects were in custody in connection with the incident Wednesday, Chavez said.

- Brian Day and Ruby Gonzales

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Fire scorches Irwindale auto shop

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IRWINDALE >> A fire tore through an Irwindale auto shop Saturday, sending a thick cloud of black smoke over the San Gabriel Valley but resulting in no injuries, authorities said.
The fire was first reported about 6:30 p.m. at Irwindale Auto and Truck Repair, at the corner of Arrow Highway and Vincent Avenue, according to Irwindale police and Los Angeles County fire officials.
Firefighters arrived to find flames burning through the roof of the auto shop, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Phil Ulloa said.
Firefighters battled the flames for more than an hour before declaring the fire extinguished at 7:50 p.m., Ulloa said.
In addition to being an auto repair shop, the business also warehouses tires and vehicle batteries.
A fire department hazardous materials crew was summoned to the scene due to damaged batteries, officials said.
The auto shop was closed when the fire broke out, Irwindale police Sgt. Rudy Gatto said. No evacuations were ordered.
One employee who was inside the business when the fire broke out managed to exit safely before firefighters arrived, officials said.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation, and the full extent of the damage was not immediately clear.
The intersection of Arrow Highway and Vincent Avenue was shut down as a result of the blaze and remained closed through Sunday morning, Gatto said.

PHOTO courtesy of the Irwindale Police Department

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