By Mary O’KEEFE
A local family is recovering from a devastating house fire that occurred on Dec. 31 in the 4900 block of Pennsylvania Avenue.
The family was not home when a fire blazed through their single level family home.
“We got a dispatch [call] of a structure fire at 9:34 p.m.,” said Inspector Quvondo Johnson, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Upon arrival, firefighters were concerned not only for the home that was in flames but the neighboring homes as well.
“That was one of our challenges,” Johnson added.
The homeowners, Crescenta Valley High School teacher Lucy Witkop, her husband Dean and two adult sons, were not at home at the time of the fire, Johnson said.
LACoFD and Glendale Fire Department engine 28 responded to the residence.
“When we arrived, the fire was on the roof and the attic,” said GFD Bat. Chief Greg Godfrey. “The [cause of the fire] was determined to be from a fallen electrical line.”
Godfrey added it was not certain if the line fell onto some trees or under some bushes.
There were no injuries to either the civilians or firefighters.
“The fire was knocked down at 10:07 p.m.,” Johnson said. “We did rescue a dog from the location but did not have to call animal control because the residents arrived.”
The fire caused about $150,000 damage to the home and $120,000 in loss of contents.
Others know the Witkop family for their generosity, said fellow teacher Pia Hugo.
“What I want people to know is they are an amazing couple and would be the first one to give to others,” she added.
Hugo knows how difficult it is for her friend losing her belongings and her home. She began a donation drive after being contacted by several people who have asked how they can help the family.
To learn more of the Witkop story and donation information, see Letters to the Editor in Viewpoints on page 9.