Cause Determined in Fatal West Hills House Fire

Saturday, December 08, 2012 |

WEST HILLS - Los Angeles Firefighters found an adult male without vital signs of life in his bedroom while extinguishing a house fire Saturday afternoon.

Los Angeles Firefighters Battle Deadly West Hills House Fire

Just after 1:00 PM on December 8, 2012, LAFD arrived at 23062 Baltar St to find a single-story residence with fire showing. Firefighters quickly suited up and kicked down the front door which was surrounded with flames. Inside, there was heavy fire to the left, particularly in the kitchen and living room, and thick black smoke to the right.

During a systematic Search & Rescue operation of the 1,625 square-foot home, firefighters discovered an approximate 50 year-old male laying prone in a bed within the burning structure. He was immediately pulled out and a team of Firefighter / Paramedics aggressively provided CPR, Advanced Life Support, and rapidly transported him code-3 to a local hospital. After further treatment by hospital staff, he was sadly beyond help and pronounced dead. No other injuries were reported.

A well coordinated effort by 46 Los Angeles Firefighters, under the command of Battalion Chief Joseph Foley, extinguished the blaze in just 20 minutes, confining it to the structure of origin.

The home was fitted with smoke alarms, however their functional status was not able to be determined due to extensive fire damage. There were no security doors, window security bars or obvious non-fire factors to impede the man's egress. The 50-year old dwelling was not equipped with residential fire sprinklers.

A positive identification of the deceased man to include his age, as well as the cause, time and manner of his death, will be determined by the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner.

Estimated monetary loss from the fire is $150,000 ($100,000 structure & $50,000 contents).

Dispatched Units: E105 T105 E305 E72 RA872 RA96 EM17 BC17 E84 E104 RA105 E106 E296 T96 AR2 AR11 AR7 AR23
LAFD Senior Arson Investigator David Liske stated the cause of the afternoon blaze was from a, "discarded or misplaced cigarette".
Did you know? Every year, almost 1,000 smokers and non-smokers are killed in home fires caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials. You can make a difference!

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department


Anonymous said...

This was a good friend of my brother his name was Gary.
Rest in Peace your demons can not harm you anymore
My prays go out to your boys
Jane McDonough/Chatsworth

Anonymous said...

Known Gary for about 18 years seen him in good times and bad. My heart grieves for him and for the boys

Stephanie Sabatini

Anonymous said...

Gary was my plummer, I just got word of his death last night and I am sick over this! Gary was a Good Man! He had a huge heart! He treated his workers with respect and knew his trade well! GARY WE WILL MISS YOU!!!

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Dear Jane McDonough,

Thank you for sharing your personal thoughts regarding this tragic event. Please extend our deepest condolences to your brother for the loss of his good friend. We join you in wishing him to Rest in Peace.


Erik Scott
Firefighter/Paramedic Spokesman
Public Service Officer (C-Shift)

Los Angeles Fire Department
Emergency Public Information (EPI) Center
500 East Temple Street, Room 259
Los Angeles, CA 90012 USA

Anonymous said...

Thank you to the firefighters and paramedics for their skill and bravery.

Anonymous said...

As a neighbor, I send my condolences. I came home at 1pm on Saturday to see the plume of black smoke and give all credit to the firefighters who tried to save him along with the home. LAFD is the best, thank you.

Mona Witkowski (your ever faithful Team Mom) said...

Gary, I can't believe you've left us so soon. God must have needed another Angel awfully badly. Rest in peace my friend. You will be missed! :-(

Anonymous said...

Aaron and Spencer;
There are many of us here for you both. So sorry for your loss of your Dad. I coached against Gary and Aaron many times and then had the pleasure to have them on my team, the last year Gary coached. MLB has a future star that has his father forever following his life.
Coach Todd

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