After a week of sifting through debris of a fire- gutted Mount Washington mansion, the Los Angeles Fire Department Thursday ended its search for the remains of an 84-year-old man thought to have died in the massive blaze that destroyed the home.
The fire was reported about 8:35 p.m. on Oct. 20 in the 4000 block of Sea View Avenue.
“For seven days … the LAFD, in collaboration with numerous city and county agencies, as well as private crane contractors, conducted a painstaking and methodical search for the remains of a victim thought to have been trapped by the roaring inferno,” according to statement from LAFD spokesman Peter Sanders.
“In addition to specialized LAFD Urban Search & Rescue teams, specially trained search dogs from the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the California Emergency Mobile Patrol were repeatedly deployed inside the rubble of the 9,100 square-foot home in an attempt to find and recover the body of a resident last seen during the evacuation of the home. In consultation with the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner, the LAFD has ended its recovery effort.”
Some witnesses said the man may have gone back inside the burning home in hopes of rescuing several puppies and a cat that were inside.’
The flames effectively razed the home, with interior floors collapsing and leaving the structure a smoldering shell of a building.
It took firefighters about three hours to extinguish the flames, but the building continued to smolder. Some neighboring homes also sustained damage from the fire and heat.
A 74-year-old woman taken to a hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation was in good condition, fire officials said.
Some neighbors told reporters at the scene they have complained in the past about the number of people living in the home.
Arson investigators continue to probe the cause of the fire, but responsibility for further demolition of the structure now rests with the property owner and “will proceed under an order to comply issued by the Department of Building and Safety,” Sanders said.
—City News Service
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