MONROVIA >> A man and woman died following a fire at their Monrovia mobile home early Saturday morning, authorities said.
The fatal fire was first reported about 1:15 a.m. by a neighbor who went outside for a cigarette at the mobile home park at 1020 S. Mountain Avenue and noticed smoke emanating from a neighbors unit, Monrovia police and fire officials said. He called 911.
Believing his neighbors were still inside their home, the man tried to make his way into the burning mobile home but was pushed back by the heat and smoke, Monrovia Fire Department Capt. Michael Bailey said.
A Monrovia police officer who happened to be nearby arrived at the scene within a minute, Monrovia police Lt. Rob Wilken said. Firefighters soon followed.
After arriving on scene, “I was told by one of the Monrovia police officers that it was suspected the two people who lived there were still inside the structure,” Bailey said. “We made an effort in order to try and get them out.”
Found the male victim still alive inside the smoke-filled mobile home, officials said. He was treated and rushed to the Methodist Hospital in Arcadia, where he was pronounced dead a short time later. The female victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
The identities of the victims were not available pending positive identification and notification of their family members, officials said. They were described as a man and a woman in their 60s or 70s.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation, but it was believed to be accidental in nature, Bailey said. Possible ignition sources being investigated included an electrical problem or a discarded cigarette.
Firefighters found no smoke detectors inside the mobile home, which was densely packed with belongings, Bailey said.
Saturday mornings fire was the second deadly fire reported in Monrovia over the past two weeks, and the third reported in the area.
A Monrovia man died following a 2 a.m. fire at his home in the 100 block of N. Canyon Boulevard, Monrovia fire Capt. Chris Huston said.
Firefighters responding to reports of a fire at a two-story home which had been converted into a triplex encountered a man outside the home suffering from burns, but trying to get back into the flaming structure, Huston said. It was determined the man was trying to rescue his pet cats from the home.
Paramedics took the injured man, who was in his mid-50s, to hospital where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries.
While extinguishing the fire, firefighters saved the two cats, as well as a turtle, from the home, Huston said.
Investigators determined the Canyon Boulevard fire was ignited by combustible materials left too close to an electric space heater, he said.
And in Pasadena, an elderly woman died in an 8 a.m. fire at her house in the 3000 block of Redwood Drive, according to Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian.
A neighbor suffered burns in an unsuccessful attempt to rescue the woman prior to the arrival of firefighters, she said.
A specific cause was not determined, but fire investigators noted numerous possible causes, including overloaded wiring, excessive use of power strips, an electric heater, an electric blanket, candles and smoking materials.
ALHAMBRA >> A distraught man climbed into a tree in the backyard of a burning home, leaving two children inside alone, before officials ultimately persuaded him to climb down and surrender on Friday morning, authorities said.
The incident began with a report of a house fire about 10 a.m. in the 700 block of North Second Street, Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson said in a written statement. The relatively small fire was confined to one portion of the home.
“While extinguishing the fire, they encountered a distraught, uncooperative man in the backyard of the house that was burning,” Johnson said. Firefighters called police for help.
Firefighters also found two children, about 5 and 6 years old, inside the home and removed them to safety, Alhambra police and fire officials said. They were unhurt, and it was unclear whether they were aware the house was on fire.
As officers approached the man in the backyard, he climbed about 20 feet up into a backyard tree and refused to come down, officials said.
As a precaution, officials placed Garfield Elementary School, located across the street, on lockdown, Johnson added.
An Alhambra police officer, aided by a county mental health clinician, spoke with the man and encouraged him to come down, according to Johnson. “After about an hour of talking to the man, he peacefully climbed down from the tree.”
Officials took the man to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries, officials said. No other injuries were reported.
Police expected to take the man for psychiatric evaluation, Johnson said. It was unclear whether he would face criminal charges as the investigation into the incident and the cause of the fire continued Friday night.
“The actual fire itself was not large in scope, It wasn’t a complete loss on the structure,” Alhambra Fire Department Battalion Chief Doug Shonkwiler said. A dollar-value estimate of the damage was not available.
The detained man had a connection to the involved home, though it was unclear if he lived there, officials said. The relationship between the man and children was unclear.
PASADENA >> An elderly woman died in a house fire in Pasadena Friday morning despite a neighbor’s “heroic” efforts to rescue her, authorities said.
Neighbors called 911 at about 8 a.m. after noticing smoke coming from the two-story home in the 300 block of Redwood Drive, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
A neighbor tried to rescue the trapped woman, but was driven back by the intense house fire. The man, who is in his 40s, suffered apparently minor burns from the fire but declined to be taken to a hospital.
Firefighters arrived to find flames rising from the home, officials said. Neighbors told firefighters that an elderly woman who lived alone at the home had been heard yelling for help from within, officials said.
“A neighbor who was walking by, heard a female screaming inside and saw light smoke coming from the rear of the structure,” Pasadena Fire Chief Bertral Washington said in a written statement. “After recognizing there was a fire, the neighbor heroically made entry through the front door and attempted to pull the elderly resident to safety.
“He was met with tremendous heat and a wall of fire in the room she was lying in. The victim was pulled out of the fire room, but not before the neighbor sustained minor burn injuries,” Washington said.
Pushed back by the flames, the man called out for help from other members of his family, who rushed to try to help as well.
“Despite being driven out of the building by smoke and heat, and he made a second heroic attempt to rescue the victim by running inside again, placing himself in even greater peril,” according to Washington. “Even though the neighbor made great effort in attempting to rescue the victim, the fast moving fire quickly consumed both the victim and interior of the structure.”
Firefighters found the woman in the home as they worked to extinguish the flames, Derderian said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Los Angeles County coroner’s investigators had yet to identify the victim Saturday. The identification process was expected to be delayed due to the charred condition of the body, officials said.
But the elderly woman believed to be the home’s lone resident remained unaccounted for Friday afternoon.
Fire investigators identified multiple possible causes of the fire, but had yet to isolate the specific cause.
Overloaded wiring, excessive use of extension cords and power strips, an electric heater, and electric blanket, candles and smoking materials were all discovered in the roo
Investigation into the fire cause identified overloaded wiring, excessive use of extension cords and power strips, a portable heater, electric blanket, candles and smoking materials in the room of origin, fire officials said.
“Due to potential failures of so many items, the cause has yet to be determined,” Washington said. “There is no indication of foul play.”
The bottom floor of the two-story home is partially underground, which contributed to “very challenging” and “very stubborn” fire, Derderian said. Firefighters declared the fire “knocked down” about 20 minutes after it was reported.
Firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading to any other nearby homes or vegetation.
Derderian said the involved home sustained, “a significant loss, if not a total loss.”
The deadly fire remains under investigation by a newly-formed multi-agency arson task force comprised of investigators from Pasadena and other area fire departments.
— Brian Day and Ruby Gonzales
HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> A fire engulfed a big rig and spread to a hillside, prompting the closure of the 60 Freeway before firefighters got it under control, authorities said.
The fire was first reported as a flaming big rig about 4:30 p.m. alongside the eastbound 60 Freeway near Crossroads Parkway, according to California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County Fire Department officials.
The flames destroyed the truck and spread to brush on a hillside next to the freeway before firefighters attacked it both on the ground and from aircraft.
The fire scorched about half an acre of brush before firefighters declared it “under control” at 5:25 p.m,, fire department Dispatch Supervisor Melanie Flores said.
Authorities initially shut down all lanes of the 60 in both directions as they responded to the fire.
The westbound lanes were reopened within an hour, and only the two right-hand lanes of the eastbound 60 Freeway remained closed Thursday evening.
No injuries were reported, Flores said.
IRWINDALE >> Firefighters quickly gained control of two small brush fires that scorched about half an acre of vegetation in wash area along the 605 Freeway in Irwindale on Friday afternoon, officials said.
The fires were first reported at 1:12 p.m. in a wash just southwest of the 605-210 freeway interchange, Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Gustavo Medina said.
About half an acre went up in flames before firefighters stopped the “forward progress” of the fire just after 2 p.m., he said.
Water-dropping helicopters joined firefighters on the ground in the effort.
No injuries were reported, and no structured were threatened by the fires.
Investigators were summoned to the scene to determine the cause of the fire, Medina said.
Another fire broke out less than a mile to the south along the same riverbed on Wednesday afternoon and also scorched about half an acre of vegetation, officials said. The cause of that fire remains under investigation as well.
PHOTOS/VIDEO courtesy of the Irwindale Police Department.
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.
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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.cityofpasadena.net/fire.
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 Angeles 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
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.
Firefighters 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.