Southern California breaking news and trends

Yacht owner escapes blaze aboard 65-foot yacht off Malibu

fire in malibu

Screenshot via NBC LA

A Coast Guard patrol boat, with the help of the L.A. County lifeguard Baywatch, extinguished a fire early Wednesday that engulfed a 65-foot yacht off the coast of Malibu.

The yacht was anchored about a quarter-mile off Paradise Cove, and investigators say the owner of the vessel escaped to shore via dinghy. The man's name has not been released.

The fire, which reportedly began around 11:20 p.m., is believed to have destroyed the boat. No damage estimate has been released, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.


Video via NBC LA



Fire mired morning commuters on the 118 freeway

118 fire 2008

Photo by Kent Kanouse via Flickr Creative Commons

Sesnon Fire 2008: Photo from Santa Susana Pass looking west from the Rocky Peak exit of the 118 Freeway (October 13, 2008)

Three to five acres of brush burned along the westbound lanes of the 118 Freeway this morning near Chatsworth and the border of Simi Valley.

L.A. County Fire Department responders were deployed in trucks and water-dropping helicopters, drowning out the destruction in under an hour, according to officials.

Traffic delays continued through the morning as crews cleaned up after the morning mess. Freeway lanes reopened before noon, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The fire was first reported at 9:04 a.m. and extinguished just before 10 a.m., said a spokesperson. No structures were damaged or threatened, and the cause of the blaze has not been determined.



Man arrested at LAX in connection with death of LA firefighter (Updated)

Firefighter Funeral

Nick Ut/AP

A fire truck carrying the remains of fallen Los Angeles Firefighter Glenn Allen passes in review outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Friday, Feb 25, 2011 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

A man was being held by authorities on Wednesday in connection with the death of Los Angeles firefighter Glenn Allen.

Allen, less than two years from retirement, died last year battling a Hollywood Hills blaze when the ceiling of a three-story house under construction collapsed on him. 

In an effort to determine who was responsible for the death, authorities have been investigating the construction of the property and an architect who redesigned the house, says the L.A. Times.

According to LAPD arrest records, a man who lives at the home where the fire occurred was arrested Feb. 11 at Los Angeles International Airport on suspicion of voluntary manslaughter. It was unknown if the person detained was the man under investigation.

Officials say the weight of soaked insulation -- caused by attic flooding after plastic sprinkler pipes melted -- appears to have caused the collapse which trapped Allen. His heart had stopped and he was not breathing when rescuers reached him. 


Not the day to play with matches: Santa Ana winds close school, create fire weather danger

Uprooted tree near Griffith Park

Tony Pierce / KPCC

A large tree near Los Feliz Blvd. was uprooted by strong winds near Griffith Park last year.

Santa Ana winds, true to Steely Dan prediction, are here again. A significant and dangerous wind event with conditions conducive to rapid fire growth, is expected across Ventura and Los Angeles from Friday to Saturday afternoon.

Gusty winds will increase throughout the morning, with the strongest blows expected to reach 60-70 mph across the mountain regions, the National Weather Service warns. In valley and coastal areas, north to northeast winds and gusts should reach about 35-55 mph.

Potential hazards include the usual suspects: downed trees, destroyed power lines, and dangerous cross-winds for high vehicles.

Additionally, the extremely dry air (with relative humidity dropping into the single digits and teens) combined with the strong offshore winds, will produce critical fire weather conditions across a majority of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.


Neil Young 'LincVolt' sued after '59 hybrid goes up in smoke

Neil Young LincVolt 1959 hybrid LINCOLN CONTINENTAL

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Musicians Neil Young and Daniel Lanois are photographed beside Young's 1959 hybrid Lincoln Continental in Woodside, CA.

LincVolt, a company founded by folk-rock icon Neil Young during the fuel-effiiency conversion of his 1959 Lincoln Continental, is being sued over a fire that authorities say began in the modified vehicle. The suit alleges that Young, listed as a LincVolt LLC officer, was negligent in the process of turning his vintage vehicle into an electric and biodiesel-powered hybrid.

Unigard Insurance is seeking $500,000 that it says was paid to the owner of two warehouses damaged in the 2010 San Francisco Bay Area fire. A three-alarm blaze was sparked by a charging malfunction, and caused about $1 million in damage, much to "a lifetime of rock 'n' roll memorabilia -- instruments, photos and film footage as well as the Lincoln -- Young had stored in the warehouse," explains the Mercury News.

Young chose to have the car rebuilt, and the era-confused vehicle is currently undergoing a series of driving tests. LincVolt's progress is being tracked and detailed online.