Fire razes Fil-Am’s landmark LA mansion | Global News

Fire razes Fil-Am’s landmark LA mansion

/ 07:31 AM January 18, 2014

LOS ANGELES—Glendora resident Marc Pijuan was awakened by a loud pounding on his front door early yesterday morning (Friday in Manila). It was a team of police officers warning him that a brushfire in the Angeles National Forest was getting dangerously close to his neighborhood.

“I put some clothes on and grabbed my camera, watches and portable hard drive,” Pijuan, a Filipino-American photojournalist, told the Inquirer. “Outside, it felt like a whirlwind of hot air, smoke and embers.”

Pijuan was among the more than 2,000 residents who were ordered to evacuate as hundreds of firefighters battled a wildfire, called the Colby Fire, in the San Gabriel Mountains north of Glendora that quickly spread to 1,700 acres. Several homeowners refused to evacuate and opted to stay to protect their homes, authorities said.


Three people were injured, five homes destroyed, and 17 other structures were damaged, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.


Among those destroyed was the guesthouse on the estate of the historic Singer Mansion owned by Filipino-American businessman Jay Parayno.

The estate on Kregmont Drive was purchased in 2006 to be used as a Catholic retreat, according to Parayno’s father, Ray, who manages the property. The 14-bedroom, 12-bathroom mansion was leased to 11 tenants. Built in 1924 by a member of the Singer sewing machine family, the mansion is listed as a Glendora Historic Landmark.

Pijuan, who took photos of firefighters trying to save the structure, said he noticed that the religious icons remained untouched amid the smoldering rubble.

Pijuan said there were several Filipino-American families in his neighborhood who also evacuated to safety. There are more than 1,300 Filipinos who live in Glendora and thousands more in neighboring communities, according to the latest census.

The fire was 30 percent contained as of 5 p.m., according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Three men in their 20s had been arrested and charged with recklessly starting a fire.

The sheriff’s department also reported that 3,700 people were evacuated and 1,600 have been allowed to return to their homes.

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TAGS: Fire, Los Angeles

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