Long Beach Fire Department firefighters battle a two-alarm fire on the corner of First Street and Redondo Avenue on Tuesday afternoon. Video and photos by Brittany Woolsey
Two Bluff Park residents were displaced, a dog was killed and five firefighters were injured Tuesday afternoon when a large two-alarm fire broke out in a single-family home, authorities said.
Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD) personnel first got the call about the residential fire on the corner of First Street and Redondo Avenue at about 11:55AM, said LBFD spokesman Jake Heflin.
The first units arrived at 11:57AM and saw heavy smoke and fire coming from the first story of the two-story home, located at 3400 East First Street.
They began an initial attack, but based on the volume of the fire, units transitioned to defensive operations, Heflin said, adding that several holes had to be cut through the roof.
Additional units were brought in at 12:28AM when they called a second alarm.
The fire was out by about 1:00PM, Heflin said.
Damage to the property was extensive, and it appeared that a second-floor outdoor patio had collapsed inside the home.
The fire was confined to the home and no other homes in the area were damaged as a result of the fire, Heflin said.
Two people, including an 85-year-old man and his 27-year-old son were displaced and the American Red Cross was called in to assist the family with temporary lodging. The 85-year-old man was the only one home at the time of the fire and escaped without injury but was transported to a nearby hospital for smoke inhalation, Heflin said.
One dog was killed in the fire, he said, and one cat remained “unaccounted for.” Five firefighters were also injured, including three who suffered minor burns.
Fire investigators were at the scene and determined the cause of the fire to be accidental heating in one of the first-floor bedrooms.
A large crowd gathered around the scene of the fire and were told to stay back for safety.
Neighbors at the scene referred to the home as an “accident waiting to happen” because of the way the man kept up his home.
Gail Alonzo, a realtor with Main Street Realtors, said she had been called to the home previously because neighbors were concerned with the house’s up-keeping and were encouraging the man to sell his home.
The man had been living at the home for about 27 years, added Christopher Scott, a realtor at Lawyers Title who also works with Alonzo.
“The whole place was packed from head to toe,” Alonzo said. “It was like a hoarding situation. You could not get in. You could not get out. The neighbor next door was very eccentric about everything being a mess. The watering was terrible and there were rodents, like rats and possums. It was just a really bad situation. It’s just been something that’s ongoing. To sell the house, you would sell it for the property only and just get rid of the house.”
A neighbor who wished to remain anonymous said the city has been called about the house several times.
“He lets the lawn grow so high, and he has to cut it with a machete since it’s such a nightmare,” the neighbor said. “He really shouldn’t have been able to own this house. There was a door outside the attic that fell off, so rats and possums got in there. It gave the neighbor next door rats, along with raccoons, squirrels and possums. This house was just an eyesore for this historical neighborhood.”
No further information is available. We will update this story as we learn more.
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