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'Hazardous Refuse' Hampers Effort to Put Out House Fire

November 25, 1986|GABE FUENTES | Times Staff Writer

Fire caused extensive damage Monday morning to a Lake View Terrace house, and its owner subsequently was ordered by the Los Angeles City Fire Department to clear "hazardous refuse" from the property.

The fire caused an estimated $100,000 damage and burned through the one-story, wood-frame house in the 10900 block of Longford Street for about an hour before being extinguished by about 30 firefighters, Fire Department spokesman Jim Wells said.

Firefighting was hampered by boxes of books and other "combustible material" stacked floor to ceiling in some places, Wells said.

Firefighter Tim Wilson fell through a roof and was treated at Serra Memorial Health Center in Sun Valley for minor injuries and released. Capt. Bruce Blackwell and Capt. Ronald Hooker said material stored in the house slowed firefighters and allowed the fire more time to weaken the roof.

James Wilcox of the County Department of Health Services identified the house's owner as Robert F. Sobolewski.

Sobolewski was told to clear wooden items, boxes of books and other flammable material from the yard of the house, Hooker said. If there is no evidence of "good-faith action" to clean the yard by mid-December, the complaint will be referred to the city's Fire Prevention Bureau for legal action, he said.

Yard Subject of Complaints

According to city and county officials, the yard of the burned home had been the subject of at least three complaints this fall to the city Department of Building and Safety and the county Department of Health Services, which threatened Sobolewski with legal action after similar complaints in 1983.

County health inspectors visited the property and issued the second notice this year to Sobolewski on Oct. 22, Wilcox said. The inspectors were not allowed into the house, Wilcox said, but another county official was allowed in later and found the home "not filthy, but very cluttered."

The cause of Monday's fire was under investigation, but Blackwell said several books left near a fireplace apparently had started the blaze.

Sobolewski could not be reached for comment.

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