Homeowner Won Shin said he was at work sometime around 3:30 p.m. when he got a call from a neighbor across the street that something was wrong and he should come home as soon as possible. That same neighbor had called 911 to report the fire, Shin said Thursday evening.
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About 44 people from 13 companies responded to the call, which came in at 3:14 p.m., Los Angeles County Battalion Chief Ron Larriva confirmed Friday. The blaze was hard to battle because the attic had two layers of roofing, was compartmentalized and filled with items being stored there.
“As we pulled up on scene, we did have some brown pressurized smoke — which means a high level of heat was trapped inside — above the roofline,” Larriva said. “They basically had a roof over a roof, which made it difficult because our water couldn’t get through.”
Crews rescued a dog from the home and were able to remove a car from the garage as they plasticized the attic to prevent water damage to the rest of the house, Larriva added. Damage to the structure was estimated at around $300,000, with an additional $100,000 in loss from the home’s contents.
By around 8 p.m., workers had contained the fire, although a patrolman stayed on site until midnight to make sure the fire was completely out, Larriva said.
On Thursday evening, Shin met with investigators from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, who visited the property to determine the cause of the fire and rule out arson. A deputy at the scene said their initial determination was that an accidental fire, most likely electrical in nature, had started in the home’s attic.
Shin said he and his wife, along with a daughter who was home on vacation and a son, have since found temporary lodging at a Burbank hotel while their insurance company continues its own investigation. The family was not able to retrieve anything from the house’s interior, as everything was damaged by smoke or water.
“We’re lucky no one was home, and lucky the fire came during the day and not at night while we were sleeping,” Shin said.
Uncertain of the timeline in which matters will be resolved, Shin said the family will opt to rebuild on the property.
“I love this house,” he said. “I’m not going to leave here.”