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Hangar Fire Injures Mechanic, Destroys Plane

August 08, 1989|SEBASTIAN ROTELLA | Times Staff Writer

A flash fire Monday in a hangar at Fox Airfield in Lancaster injured a mechanic who barely escaped fast-moving flames that incinerated the plane he was working on, fire officials said.

Andrew Reo, 36, of Lancaster, was treated at Antelope Valley Hospital Medical Center for first- and second-degree burns to his hands and released Monday afternoon.

The fire at the county-operated facility began shortly before 9:30 a.m. and caused $150,000 worth of damage, said Capt. Mike Waters of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The fire in the single-engine Cessna 206 broke out when a short circuit in a wing-flap motor caused a spark that ignited gasoline fumes, officials said.

Reo was doing maintenance work on the wing flaps, officials said. He turned on the power of the airplane, then turned on the electric motor to check the wing flaps, Investigator Mike Little said.

"That motor is right next to a fuel tank on the wing," Little said. "There must have been gas vapors present."

Reo climbed out of the cockpit and ran from the hangar as flames from the burning gas tank engulfed the plane, airport officials said.

In addition to destroying the Cessna, owned by Michael Schafer of Lancaster, the fire damaged three other planes in adjacent hangars before it was extinguished by airport and county fire crews at about 9:50 a.m.

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