Saddleridge Fire burns 7,500 acres, kills 1 in LA – FOX 5 San Diego

LOS ANGELES — A fast-moving brush fire that sparked in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley late Thursday night had grown to 7,542 acres, burned dozens of buildings and caused a death by Friday evening.

The blaze, dubbed the Saddleridge Fire, was reported just after 9 p.m. in the Sylmar area. Residents of nearby Porter Ranch and Granada Hills were also impacted by the blaze, with around 23,000 homes under evacuation orders, according to KABC (see our detailed list of evacuations below).

Flames had scorched roughly 4,700 acres and firefighters had 0% containment as of about 7 a.m. Friday, officials said in a news conference. An L.A. fire chief said the blaze was growing at an estimated rate of 800 acres each hour.

By 2 p.m. Friday, LAPD officials said the fire had burned 7,542 acres and was at 13% containment.

During a news conference Friday evening, officials said the fire had damaged 31 structures, 13 of which were destroyed.

The first death from the fire was reported Friday morning. Officials said a man in his late 50s who lived near the fire suffered a heart attack and died overnight. The man had been trying to protect his home with a hose when he went into cardiac arrest, neighbors told KTLA.

A firefighter also suffered a minor eye injury.

In San Diego, residents were under a “red flag” fire warning Thursday and Friday due to low humidity and gusty winds.

Read more about possible SDG&E blackouts and San Diego County’s fire risk here

Mandatory Evacuations and Freeway Closures

Mandatory evacuations are in place for about 12,700 homes, the Los Angeles Fire Department stated Friday morning. Those evacuations include the following areas.

  • ALL of Porter Ranch (north of SR-118) from Reseda to De Soto
  • Oakridge Estates (north of I-210)
  • West of Balboa, North of Sesnon to the Ventura County border with DeSoto as the western border

Evacuation centers for people and small pets were established at:

  • Mason Recreation Center (10500 Mason Avenue)
  • Granada Hills Recreation Center (16730 Chatsworth Street)
  • Northridge Recreation Center (18300 Lemarsh Street)
  • Lanark Recreation Center (21816 Lanark Street)

The evacuation center at Sylmar Recreation Center (13109 Borden Avenue) is full and no longer accepting new evacuees, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Large animals are being accepted at Hansen Dam and Pierce College, according to the Fire Department.

Long stretches of major L.A. freeways were shut down during the blaze. Those that remained open were filled with bumper-to-bumper traffic. California Highway Patrol provided a complete list of highway closures:

Amtrak Thruway Bus Service was disrupted between Bakersfield and Los Angeles due to the blaze. Check the transportation’s website for updates.

School Closures

The following Los Angeles Unified School District schools will be closed Friday due to the fire and smoke conditions:

  • Castlebay Lane Elementary
  • Danube Avenue Elementary
  • El Oro Way ElementaryThe first death has been reported in a fast-growing brush fire in northern Los Angeles. A man died of a heart attack overnight
  • Haskell Elementary
  • Knollwood Elementary
  • Porter Ranch Community School
  • Van Gogh Elementary
  • Frost Middle School
  • John F. Kennedy High School
  • Rinaldi Adult Learning Center

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