Battling through excessive storage conditions, firefighters prevented a mobile home fire from spreading but could not save the occupant trapped under debris.
At 5:31PM on November 30, 2021 the Los Angeles City Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire at 20652 W Lassen Street in Chatsworth. Upon arrival to the manufactured home park, firefighters located one unit with heavy fire showing and exposures on two sides.
As fire attack made entry, they encountered excessive storage conditions which created challenges reaching the seat of the fire. Information gathered at the command post indicated the potential for a trapped victim and a primary search was underway as the flames were extinguished.
45 firefighters, under the command of Battalion Chief Karen Richter, knocked down the fire in 26 minutes. Their quick work prevented the fire from extending to the closely situated homes on either side of the structure. The primary search did not reveal any victims but with one of the occupants unaccounted for, crews continued their efforts. A short time later, firefighters located the 80 year old female occupant buried under four feet of debris. Sadly, she was determine deceased on scene.
Excessive storage conditions in the home not only hampered firefighter access but prevented the occupant from being able to safely exit the home. She instead was trapped as the tall piles fell down on top of her. There were also no signs of functioning smoke alarms which might have provided early warning.
The cause of the fire is under active investigation by LAFD Arson and Counter-Terrorism section per protocol for a fatality fire.