Saddleridge Fire 97% Contained

Saddleridge Fire Scorches 7,500 Acres In LA County, Thousands Evacuated

PORTER RANCH (CNS) - The Saddleridge Fire in the northern San Fernando Valley was 97% contained this morning, with 8,799 acres burned, officials said.

“Firefighters from the Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department, and Angeles National Forest have made significant progress working in their respective jurisdictions with support from assisting agencies to increase containment and address hot spots,” LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey said. “Tactical patrols will remain in place to monitor the area as low humidity and gusty northerly winds remain a concern.”

The blaze destroyed 19 structures and damaged 88 more after erupting the night of Oct. 10 off the westbound Foothill (210) Freeway near Yarnell Street and Saddleridge Road in Sylmar.

The fire quickly spread due to wind-blown embers that jumped the Golden State (5) Freeway spreading flames into Granada Hills and Porter Ranch. At the height of the fire, an estimated 100,000 residents were under mandatory evacuation orders, all since lifted.

The cause remained undetermined, but the point of origin was identified by Los Angeles Fire Department arson investigators as a 50-foot-by- 70-foot area beneath a Southern California Edison high-voltage transmission tower near Saddleridge Road, officials said.

A Porter Ranch resident, identified by neighbors as 54-year-old Aiman Elsabbagh, died of a heart attack Oct. 11 while trying to protect his home from the fire. LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said the man was speaking to firefighters when he went into cardiac arrest, and later died at a hospital.

Los Angeles Park Ranger Capt. Alberto Torres, 67, also suffered a heart attack Oct. 11 at Ranger Headquarters at the Griffith Park Visitor Center, at 4730 Crystal Springs Drive and died the next morning at a hospital.

Torres -- a ranger for more than 40 years -- had been patrolling the parks impacted by the fire.

Eight firefighters suffered minor injuries, including one with an eye injury, fire officials said.

Photo: Getty Images

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