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House burns in La Verne hills

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Layla Abbas
Editor in Chief

The Los Angeles County Fire Department battled flames that destroyed one house and caused the evacuation of 25 nearby homes in the hills above Claremont and La Verne Monday evening.

 Fire fighters received a report of a brush fire at 6:34 p.m. from the 4500 block of Live Oak Canyon Road, said Austin Bennett, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The house burned down completely. The fire was caused by unknown house explosions.

The fire was reported 100% contained at 8:12 p.m., with damage only to the house that had explosions. 

David Bickford, associate professor of biology, lives two doors down from the house that burned down. 

“We went out to dinner and we left our dog in the kennel thinking we would only be out an hour or two,” Bickford said. “The fire was long out but they had an ongoing investigation that went into the early hours in the morning. So we were able to get the dog out at 11 p.m. by a police escort.”

Bickford and the rest of his neighbors were not able to return home until 2 a.m.

Bickford’s dog, Ema Datshi, is named after a national dish of Bhutan.

“It means cheese because she is a love sponge and is quite cheesy,” Bickford said. “We were mostly worried about our dog and wanted to make sure she was not dying of smoke inhalation.”

Bickford said he is still hoarse from breathing in all the smoke. 

“I can see the carcass of the house right now in my driveway,” Bickford said. 

“I also found three plastic globules on our property that were probably from the initial explosion.”

Bickford said he never spoke to the people who lived at the house, but is close with his other neighbors. 

“One of the best things with this happening, is you reinforce all the relationships with the neighbors,” Bickford said. 

“The couple at the scene of the fire did not talk to or socialize much with the rest of the neighborhood, so this really brought the rest of the neighborhood closer together,” he said.

The investigation is ongoing and cause of fire is still unknown, according to Bennett.

Layla Abbas can be reached at layla.abbas@laverne.edu.

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