MONTEBELLO >> A fast-spreading brush fire possibly sparked by an arsonist scorched more than 25 acres in the Montebello Hills and neighboring Rosemead, jumping roads with ease and drawing a massive response from firefighters throughout the area, authorities said.
The fire, dubbed the Lincoln Fire, first ignited about 1:30 p.m. in the Rio Hondo Riverbed, near the Whittier Narrows Reservoir, Montebello Fire Department Deputy Chief Dan Amador said.
The fire quickly expanded to the northwest and crossed Lincoln Avenue and scorched about 20 acres of an oil field spotted with oil wells and several structures used in service of the oil field, the chief said.
Buildings were threatened by the flames, but none had been lost, he said. “We’ve been protecting those structure.”
“It does look like the Montebello Hills are under control,” Amador said. “We still have significant hot spots that we’re going to have to work through the evening.”
The brush fire then jumped San Gabriel Boulevard, burning its way into the vegetation of Bosque Del Rio Hondo Park in an unincorporated county area near Rosemead, Amador said. It consumed another five or so acres there.
The flames threatened several outbuildings in the park, but none had been damaged late Sunday afternoon, a Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatcher said.
A Los Angeles County Fire Department helicopter working to douse the flames from above made a “hard landing” at nearby Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary in Whittier, Amador said.
Three people on board suffered possible neck and back injuries, but none that appeared to me major, Amador said.
Video footage from the scene showed the helicopter upright, with an item resembling a tail rotor lying beside it on the ground.
Further information regarding the helicopter’s emergency landing were not available.
Officials detained a person of interest, described only as a man, for questioning in connection with the Lincoln Fire, Amador said.
Further details regarding the cause of the fire or the person of interest were not available. Montebello police could not be reached for comment.
PHTOOS courtesy of the Montebello Police Department
TEMPLE CITY >> A man suffered burns in a fire that destroyed his Temple City home early Thursday, authorities said.
The lone resident suffered first- and second-degree burns over about half of his body in the fire, which ignited about 9:40 a.m. at a single-story house in the 4800 block of Birchland Place , Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Donald Rivas said. He was conscious when rescuers took him to a hospital, and the injuries were not believed to be life threatening.
Firefighters found the injured resident already out of the home when they arrived, Rivas said.
They knocked down the flames by 10:02 a.m., fire Inspector Randall Wright said.
The house, which was densely packed with items, was a “total loss,” Rivas said. The detached garage was also damaged in the fire.
Officials estimated to value of the damage to be about $500,000.
Rivas said the fire started in a family room before spreading throughout the home. The cause remained under investigation.
ARCADIA >> A fire damaged both units of a townhouse early Wednesday, resulting in a minor injury to a firefighter, authorities said.
The fire ignited about 3 a.m. at a single-story, two-unit townhouse in the 700 block of Fairview Avenue, according to Arcadia Fire Department spokeswoman Beth Stogner.
Nearly 20 firefighters, including ones from Pasadena and Los Angeles County, quickly extinguished the flames, Stogner said.
No civilians were hurt, however one firefighter was treated at the scene for a minor hand injury, Stogner said.
The fire caused an estimated $17,000 worth of damage, primarily to the unit in which it ignited, Stogner said. An adjacent unit sustained smoke damage.
The unit where the fire originated was unoccupied due to renovations, Stogner said. The Red Cross was summoned to assist any displaced residents from the second unit.
Stogner said the cause of the fire remained under investigation. It began in a kitchen wall and initially appeared to be accidental.
ARCADIA >> A woman was hospitalized in critical condition after firefighters pulled her from her burning apartment Friday night, officials said.
The fire ignited about 9:30 p.m. in a second-floor unit of a large, two-story apartment complex in the 900 block of West Huntington Drive, Arcadia Fire Department Battalion Chief Barry Spriggs said.
“The unit of origin was charged with smoke throughout, with fire burning freely from the bedroom window,” Arcadia fire officials said in a written statement.
Firefighters called a “second alarm” as they battled the flames in the apartment, which was set back 800 feet from the street toward the rear of the large apartment complex, Spriggs said.
They found an unconscious woman, estimated to be in her 50s, inside the burning apartment, officials said. She appeared to have suffered burns as well as smoke inhalation and was taken to the Methodist Hospital in Arcadia in critical condition.
The injured woman was believed to be the lone resident of the apartment, Spriggs said. No other injuries were reported.
Firefighters extinguished the fire in about 20 minutes, Spriggs said, managing to keep it confined to a single unit. The involved apartment was scorched throughout.
Investigators determined the fire ignited in the apartment’s bedroom and was accidental, according to the fire department statement. Specific details regarding the cause of the fire were not available.
Officials estimated the blaze caused $80,000 worth of damage to the apartment and its contents.
Police initially helped evacuate many residents from the building, but only the apartments adjacent to the one that caught fire remained uninhabitable late Friday night, Arcadia police Sgt. Dan Crowther said.
The Red Cross was summoned to help find temporary lodging for one resident displaced overnight.
Firefighters from Pasadena, Monrovia and Los Angeles County helped the Arcadia Fire Department douse the flames.
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.