Jason Kandel

After Weeklong Search, Man Presumed Dead in Mansion Fire

After searching seven days through the charred debris of a Mount Washington mansion destroyed in a fire, firefighters said Thursday they presume the owner of the home is dead even though they have found no human remains.

The Los Angeles Fire Department ended its search Thursday for Robert Tieger, the registered owner of the 9,100-square-foot, three-story hillside home in the 4000 block of Sea View Avenue.

"Unfortunately, despite a diligent and meticulous search, no victim or remains were located," Peter Sanders, a Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman, said in a news release.

The mansion burned Oct. 20. At least three tenants escaped. A 74-year-old woman was hospitalized for smoke inhalation, officials said. A 32-year-old resident got out through a window with her dog.

She was not injured. The cause of the fire was not known. Numerous people had been renting rooms in the house. Firefighters believe the owner did not make it out, Sanders said.

The fire was one of the most challenging that some veteran chiefs had encountered in their careers. The structure was so badly damaged that its walls were cracked and bowing outward, hampering the search, Sanders said.

Crews had to use cadaver dogs to sniff through the wreckage.

Searchers went into rooms of the home over the weekend, but they limited the time they spent inside.

An excavator and two cranes have been dismantling the home since the weekend.

"We have no reason to believe he wasn't there," Sanders said. "We have no evidence that he was and we have no evidence that he wasn't. It's pretty unusual to not find a body that we think is there."

The home was turned over to the bank, which owns it. The home was in foreclosure, Sanders said. If any remains are found during further demolition, the Coroner's Office would respond, he added.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the proper spelling for Tieger.

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