Los Angeles County firefighters fought a stubborn house fire exacerbated by packrat conditions at this Glendora, Calif. residence in the 700 block of N. Grand Ave. at 1 a.m. Sunday, May 10, 2015. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)
GLENDORA >> A large fire blamed on an electrical malfunction gutted a Glendora home early Sunday, officials said.
A neighbor called 9-1-1 about 1 a.m. to report the home in the 700 block of North Grand Avenue was on fire, Glendora police Lt. Matt Williams said. The residents were away visiting family.
Dozens of firefighters responded to the burning two-story home, which was densely packed with items, fueling the flames, officials said.
Firefighters doused smoldering remnants for more than three hours before declaring the fire extinguished, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Bernard Peters said. No injuries were reported.
Officials estimated fire caused $600,000 worth of damage to the structure alone, which city officials red-tagged, Williams said. The value of the contents of the home damaged or destroyed in the fire was not clear.
The fire was believed to have been sparked by an electrical malfunction on the second floor, Williams said.
PHOTO/VIDEO by Leo Jarzomb
DIAMOND BAR >> A brush fire broke out Thursday afternoon along Derringer Lane.
The fire was first reported just before 4 p.m in the 1800 block of Derringer Lane, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Keith Mora said.
It grew to 2.5 acres before firefighters got the flames extinguished in about an hour, fire Dispatch Supervisor Cheryl Simms said. No structures were initially threatened, and no injuries were reported, the captain said.
The fire was burning with a 5- to 10 mph wind at its back ad firefighters poured water on the fire from both hoses and helicopters, Mora said.
The cause was under investigation.
SOUTH EL MONTE >> Three people died and three suspects are being sought for a firebombing Saturday at a tire shop that also injured a firefighter responding to the blaze, authorities said.
The alleged attack took place about 5:30 a.m. at Cheque Tires, 1252 Santa Anita Ave., Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
“We received a call from an informant that he saw three males throw a Molotov cocktail at a business,” Sgt. Jim Dexter said.
Deputies and firefighters found the building “fully engulfed” in flames, he said.
“Deputies and fire department personnel saw a man within the business compound and behind the heavily locked gates of the location, badly burned and trying to escape the fire,” according to Deputy Guillermina Saldana of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
“Despite rescue personnel’s efforts to rescue the victim, he was overcome by flames and succumbed to his injuries,” she said.
As the investigation continued, officials discovered to additional bodies inside the charred business Saturday afternoon, Deputy Ryan Rouzan said. The two additional victims were initially described only as adults.
The deaths were being investigated as homicides.
A firefighter suffered second-degree burns to his face while battling the fire, Dexter said. The injury was not believed to be serious.
More than 65 firefighters worked for about 45 minutes to extinguish the flames, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Brian Jordan said.
They also rescued a dog from the property, which was turned over to animal control officials, he said.
The suspects were last seen fleeing south on Santa Anita Avenue from the scene of the fire in a white Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, sheriff’s officials said. No further suspect description was known.
The victim’s name was not released Saturday pending positive identification and notification of his family, Saldana said.
The motive in the fatal firebombing remained a mystery.
Santa Anita Avenue remained closed to traffic as sheriff’s and fire officials continued working at the scene Saturday afternoon.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTOS by James Carbone
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA >> Smoke from the nearly 1,000-acre Highway Fire burning near Prado Dam on the border of Chino and Corona is creating a potential smoke hazard for surrounding communities, South Coast Air Quality Management District officials cautioned Sunday.
The fire, which has scorched 980 acres and was 25 percent contained Sunday afternoon, was expected to create “heavy smoke throughout the area, potentially for several days,” AQMD officials said in a written statement.
The smoke was expected to be pushed by onshore winds toward the central San Bernardino Mountains Sunday, officials said.
“Current air quality measurements are mostly in the Moderate category throughout the Inland Empire and the remainder of the
Basin, but localized areas may reach the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups level, or higher, at times, depending on winds and containment of the fire,” according to the AQMD statement.
The most-impacted areas include the western and central San Bernardino Valley and the Norco-Corona area.
Officials urged children, the elderly and residents in the affected areas suffering from respiratory or heart disease to stay indoors. Everyone in the area should avoid vigorous exertion.
“Run your air conditioner if you have one,” the statement said. “Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside. To avoid worsening the health effects of wildfire smoke, don’t use indoor or outdoor wood-burning appliances, including fireplaces.”
VIDEO of water drop (courtesy of the Azusa Police Department)
AZUSA >> Firefighters made quick work of a brush fire along the San Gabriel River Trail in Azusa early Sunday, extinguishing it before it grew beyond one-and-a-half acres in size, authorities said.
The fire was first reported about 5:45 a.m. in the riverbed adjacent to the San Gabriel River Trail, according to Azusa police Cpl. Nick Covarrubias.
“The fire burned approximately one and a half acres and was fought by ground and air crews from the Los Angeles County Fire Department,” Covarrubias said in a written statement. “It took crews approximately one hour to extinguish the fire.”
The cause remained under investigation, and anyone with information was asked to contact the Azusa Police Department.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Azusa Police Department
GLENDORA >> A fire caused major damage to a family’s Glendora home Saturday and killed the family’s dog, authorities said.
The fire ignited about 11:30 a.m. at a single-story house in the 1700 block of South Bender Avenue, Glendora police Lt. Rob Lamborghini said.
A young woman who was home at the time did not realize the house was on fire until her brother arrived home and discovered the smoke and flames, the lieutenant said. Both got out of the home unharmed.
Flames gutted the majority of the home, sparing only the attached garage, Lamborghini said.
A small dog died in the fire, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. David Lopez said.
Firefighters extinguished the fire in about 30 minutes, he said.
A firefighter suffered a minor shoulder injury during the incident, Lopez said.
It was believed to have been sparked by an electrical malfunction in a patio room at the rear of the home, Lopez said.
The fire caused an estimated $250,000 worth of damage to the home, and another $9,000 in damage to items inside of it, the captain said.
Police provided the displaced family with motel vouchers and summoned the Red Cross to assist them, Lamborghini added.
PASADENA >> Two condominium units sustained significant damage in a fire Sunday afternoon, authorities said.
No one was hurt during the fire, which ignited out about 5:15 p.m. at a five-unit strip of condominiums in the 600 block of North Wilson Avenue, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
Firefighters declared a second alarm before extinguishing the fire about 30 minutes after it began, she said. The cause remained under investigation.
The two burned units were expected to remain uninhabitable for an extended period of time, Derderian said. The Red Cross responded to help the displaced residents find temporary lodging.
The residents of the other three units were expected to be able to return to their homes once utilities had been restored.
PHOTO courtesy of the Pasadena Fire Department
PASADENA >> A fire tore through a residential garage late Friday, causing $165,000 worth of damage but resulting in no injuries, authorities said.
The fire was first reported about 7 p.m. in the garage of a home in the 700 block of South San Rafael Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Jesse Carrillo said.
About 20 firefighters quickly doused the flames, according to Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian.
The fire did not spread from the detached garage to the home, and the residents were not displaced, officials said. No injuries were reported.
Officials estimated the fire caused $100,000 worth of damage to the garage, $50,000 in damage to items stored inside and $15,000 in damage to a vehicle.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
PHOTO courtesy of the Pasadena Fire Department
ARCADIA >> Firefighters evacuated 50 convalescent home patients unable to walk on their own Friday after a malfunctioning air-conditioning unit filled the facility with smoke, officials said. No injuries were reported.
The smoke was first reported about 7:45 a.m. at the Arcadia Health Care Center, 1601 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia Fire Department Beth Stogner said in a written statement.
Firefighters from Arcadia surrounding cities arrived at the convalescent home to find light smoke emanating from the building, and staff already in the process of evacuating 50 “non-ambulatory” patients, Stogner said.
Firefighters traced the source of the smoke to a malfunctioning air-conditioning unit, Stogner said. Officials immediately shut off the unit and summoned a technician.
Stogner said firefighters then used blowers to clear the smoke from the building.
“Within the hour, the smoke was evacuated and carbon monoxide levels were reduced to zero, allowing patients and staff to reoccupy the building,” she said.
ALTADENA >> The specific cause of an explosive house fire that killed an elderly woman and her son earlier this month remains a mystery, though investigators were certain it was accidental, officials said.
Through X-ray comparison, officials Thursday confirmed the identities of Betty Kopp, 85, and her 58-year-old son Robert “Bob” Kopp, who died in the March 7 fire at the home they shared with three roommates in the 2400 block of Holliston Avenue, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Chief of Operations Craig Harvey said. They had previously been identified by a roommate, but their official identifications were delayed to to the conditions of their remains.
After a detailed analysis of the scene of the fatal fire, investigators were unable to determine exactly what sparked the fire, Detective Cynthia Valencia of the Sheriff’s Arson-Explosives Detail said. The officials cause is listed as “undetermined.”
Investigators have determined the fire started in a bedroom toward the rear of the house where Betty Kopp, who was confined to bed and used oxygen tanks, Valencia said.
And it was clear that the fire was fueled by the oxygen, she said Two of at least eight tanks at the home exploded in the fire.
Nonetheless, “We don’t know exactly what ignited it,” Valencia said.
But the massive fire was so intense it scorched any evidence investigators may have been able to use to narrow down a more specific cause, the detective said.
“It is accidental. We know that,” Valencia said. “There wasn’t any malicious intent.”
Two of the Kopps’ roommates were treated for minor injuries following the fire, officials said.