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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UPDATED: Firefighters douse smoking train brakes in Pomona

POMONA >> Firefighter doused smoking and overheating brakes on a freight train Thursday after it came to a stop in Pomona, authorities said.
The incident, initially reported about 1:05 p.m. as a fire in the locomotive of the train at the 71 Freeway and Pomona Boulevard, was ultimately determined not to be an active fire, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Larry Jordan said.
Firefighters found smoke rising from the superheated brakes and axle of the BNSF locomotive, which was hauling a full load of cargo containers, the captain said.
Officials used water to carefully cool the overheated components, he said.
Firefighters declared the incident under control at 1:40 p.m., officials said. No injuries were reported.
The operators of the train had stopped after a warning light on board the train indicated something was wrong with an axle, Jordan said. “Something malfunctioned,” he added.
Upon stopping the train, they found a great deal of smoke emanating from the axle and called for help.

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Fire scorches home in Pasadena

PASADENA >> Firefighters quickly extinguished a fire that ignited on the front porch of a home before it could cause major damage to the structure, officials said.
The fire was reported about 2:30 p.m. at a house in the 2000 block of North Raymond Avenue, near Montana Street, Pasadena fire and police officials said.
The flames first broke out on the porch of the home before working their way into the home’s siding, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
“But quickly extinguished before it spread into the attic,” she said.
One woman was taken to a hospital after reporting that she felt faint, officials said.
Four residents were evacuated from the home and a back house on the same property were not able to re-occupy their homes pending repairs to the electrical system caused by the fire, Derderian said.
Derderian said the fire caused an estimated $26,000 worth of damage to the home and its contents. The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

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Small fire reported at Fox Studios in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES >> Firefighters made quick work of a small fire that broke out late Friday at Fox Studios in Los Angeles, authorities said.
The fire was first reported about 7 p.m. at the studio, 10201 W. Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Katherine Main said.
“It was a small fire in a wooden storage locker in a sound studio,” Main said. “It was held in check by fire sprinklers.”
Firefighters declared the fire extinguished after 17 minutes, she said. No injuries were reported.
Firefighters remained at the scene clearing water from the building, Main said. Because the affected area has a concrete floor, the damage was believed to be “minimal.”
The cause was not available Friday evening.

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