By Mary O’KEEFE
Smoke filled the skies above a Montrose neighborhood as firefighters battled an afternoon blaze at a single story home at 3430 Las Palmas Ave. on Monday afternoon.
The 911 call came into Glendale fire at 3:38 p.m. Glendale police at Sunview Drive
to Arlington Avenue closed Las Palmas Avenue until 7:30 p.m. The homeowners were not present at the time of the fire but their dogs were in the backyard. All were rescued unharmed.
The home was undergoing exterior remodeling when the blaze apparently began on the roof near the front entrance of the home. Flames could be seen shooting out of the front and side attic windows as Glendale fire, assisted by Los Angeles County fire, attempted to ventilate the roof and control the blaze.
The homeowner had left the residence about 2:30 p.m. The roofing contractors were working on the roof over the front door at that time, said Capt. Stuart Stefani, Glendale Fire Department spokesman.
The exterior of the home was nearing remodeling completion. Landscaper Omar Huerta was to begin working on the front yard on Monday. He arrived on the scene after receiving a call from one of his employees about the fire.
“I had finished the driveway and the fence earlier. We were going to start landscaping today,” Huerta said. He added that his employee told him he was waiting for the roofers to finish.
“The gardener was here the whole time. He said the roofers were gone about 30 minutes when he noticed smoke coming from the attic/roof [area]. He called 911,” Stefani said.
At first the fire battle was waged inside and outside the home. Due to safety issues as the fire progressed, firefighters were taken out of the home.
“The roof collapsed at 4:05 p.m.,” Stefani said. At that point firefighters doused the home with water from all angles but the fire and water damage continued. “The home is considered a total loss,” Stefani said.
Several neighbors were out on the sidewalk watching the firefighters and sharing their concern for the family.
Kelly Foreman lives across the street from the fire damaged home.
“All I saw was smoke,” she said of her drive into her neighborhood.
Foreman added at first she panicked that it may have been her house. At one point the smoke was so thick it was difficult to see across the street. As she approached her house she found it wasn’t her home but was sickened when she saw her neighbor’s house.
“I have lived here, in this neighborhood, since I was 5 years old. I have seen three families live at this home. It’s very sad,” Foreman said.
American Red Cross was called in to help the residents with lodging and support. The family of two adults and five children are staying with friends.