Los Angeles

LAFD, Neighbors Help Save Granada Hills Homes After Sudden Blaze

"It just took off like crazy," one witness said

Firefighters from the city and county of Los Angeles knocked down a brush fire Saturday that burned about one acre along Knollwood Golf Course, threatening several houses in the area. The blaze ultimately destroyed two vehicles and damaged three homes.

The fire started near Ken Gosselin's backyard. He and his friend, Cheryl McNamara, were spending their Saturday indoors away from the heat when Gosselin noticed something through a window.

"As we're standing there, Kenny says, 'Oh my gosh, there's fire,'" McNamara said.

The blaze quickly spread from dry grass in Gosselin's backyard to a pine tree that went up in flames "like a piece of tinder," McNamara recalled.

McNamara tried to call 911, and when she could not get a signal, Gosselin drove to a nearby fire station to alert the firefighters there. Meanwhile, three of Gosselin's neigbors brought hoses to help contain the fire until help arrived.

"The community got together and we had all sorts of garden hoses working on [this] property," said Norman Herr, one of Gosselin's neighbors.

Gosselin is thankful for the help of that community in containing the embers in his backyard until firefighters got there.

"It [could] have spread worse," Gosselin said. "Fire can change [in an instant], so it’s a very scary feeling."

The fire broke out at about 3:20 p.m., Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Amy Bastman said.

The fire threatened other homes along the nearby golf course as well. More than 100 firefighters worked to extinguish the flames, stopping the fire from engulfing three nearby houses that sustained mild damage to the exterior and roof.

Two vehicles were destroyed, Bastman said.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department sent four camp crews, one water- dropping helicopter and a battalion chief to assist city firefighters.

One city firefighter was evaluated for a heat-related medical complaint.

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