Despite the swift response of firefighters, a home in northeast Los Angeles was destroyed by flames Monday evening and sadly took the life of one man.
The Los Angeles Fire Department was notified by the 9-1-1 call of a neighbor at 5:44 PM on November 9, 2020, to respond to a structure fire at 1104 West Oak Grove Drive in Eagle Rock, where firefighters arrived quickly to find a two-story ascending hillside residence fully involved in fire, amidst dense burning vegetation.
A bold defensive attack was rapidly initiated as LAFD personnel brought multiple large hose streams to bear against the towering flames, preventing the inferno from extending beyond the soon structurally unstable and untenable 1,648 square-foot building, as they protected neighboring households from harm.
An LAFD helicopter was summoned to orbit strategically above the location to provide aerial reconnaissance and command support, assuring there was no embercast from the burning 110 year-old home to further threaten the neighborhood, considered a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone, as it is historically prone to wildfire.
Despite the property's overgrowth of volatile vegetation, there was thankfully no wind, allowing the 105 firefighters serving under Deputy Chief Phillip Fligiel to confine the flames to the structure of fire origin and surrounding vegetation, taking just one hour and 49 minutes to extinguish the fire.
Due to severe fire damage, the presence of legally mandated smoke alarms and their functional status at the time of the fire, could not be immediately determined. The home was not equipped with optional residential fire sprinklers.
Neighbors and relatives were unable to immediately determine the location of an older adult male known to sometimes live at the home. While a detailed examination of the periphery offered no immediate clues, a comprehensive search of the largely collapsed structure, red-tagged as unsafe for entry, had to wait until daylight. On Tuesday morning, LAFD Urban Search & Rescue experts were evaluating the structure and working with Human Remains Detection K9 handlers to plan for a systematic search of the building when the remains of the adult, male occupant were located.
The cause of the fire remains under active investigation by LAFD Arson and Counter-Terrorism Section and LAPD. The LA County Coroner / Medical Examiner's Office will handle cause of death determination and confirmation of the identity of the individual.
Dispatched LAFD Units: E42 E12 T12 E212 RA12 RA55 E250 T50 BC2 E55 E44 E201 T1 T35 E235 CM42 EM1 BC11 T89 E289 E89 UR89 BC1 CM22 E90 H0E BC13 BC18 RA1 RA56 EM13 H2 HA2 E9 E202 T2 E20 E210 T10 PI2 EA1 RT40 CM21 AR1 T85 E285 E21 T5 E205