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Neighbors tried to put out mobile-home fire

Community: Investigators say Friday blaze being treated as accident; residents share safety concerns

Posted: May 24, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 24, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Residents of a Newhall mobile home park have safety concerns today following a Friday night fire that claimed the life of their friend and neighbor.

They point to two previous fires inside the Mulberry Mobile Home Park in the past two years. Friday’s fire was the third recent incident, only this time it was fatal.

John Anderson, 53, who lived with his daughter inside the park at 25000 Hawkbryn Ave. in Newhall, is the man identified by his friends, family and landlord as the one who died in the fire.

A Los Angeles County Department of Coroner spokesman said Monday that the body was so badly burned that it would take a couple of days before the victim’s identity can be confirmed.

Anderson’s ex-wife, his daughter and her boyfriend sat down with an insurance agent Monday inside the park’s clubhouse at about noon.

Although the fire’s cause has yet to be determined, family members are blaming a faulty air conditioner.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide detectives are investigating the fire. It is being treated as an accident, arson investigators said.

Fire broke out inside the mobile home just after 8 p.m., said Lt. Joe Efflandt of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

Inspector Matt Levesque of the Los Angeles County Fire Department said firefighters were first notified about it at 8:25 p.m. Levesque said firefighters arrived on scene at 8:32 p.m.

“When they arrived, they found a well-involved fire,” Levesque said. “On conducting a primary search, they found one victim in the living room.”

Scott Yockelson, a neighbor four doors down from Anderson, said it took the fire department “between 14 and 18 minutes” after he phoned 911.

The Anderson dog, a Jack Russell terrier, was rescued from the fire, he said.

Yockelson said he and other residents grabbed garden hoses in an effort to put out the fire but found virtually no water pressure in the line.

“Let’s put it this way, the water pressure was so weak you can pee harder,” he said. “With the amount of money they collect from us, we want something for our dollar when it comes to safety.”

A fire hydrant shaped like a waist-high 2-inch red pipe sticking out of the ground — not the typical knee-high configuration — was more than 30 yards from the Anderson home.

“There is a fire hydrant at the end of that street,” park manager Irene Panici said, referring to the same hydrant. “We are up to code because if we were not we would not be allowed to be here.

Panici added; “Maybe we should have another one or two hydrants.”

Six months ago, a deliberately-set fire gutted a Mulberry mobile home just 30 yards from the Anderson home. The Follett family, who resided in the home, were away on vacation.

The only fixture on the arson site now is a lawn sign that reads: “The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has determined this fire was caused by arson.”

Preston Davis, who lives next to the arson site, purchased 100 yards of professional firefighter hose which he now keeps next to the small hydrant in front of his house.

Davis said he bought it after his frustrating experience responding to his neighbor’s arson fire.

“Now, my girlfriend is scared to live here,” Davis said.

Less than two years ago, a third mobile home was gutted by fire near the park’s centrally-located clubhouse.


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