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WWII veteran killed in Mount Washington fire

A WWII veteran was killed in a blaze in the Mount Washington area Friday. The cause of the fire remains unknown.
February 22, 2014 6:46:13 AM PST
A WWII veteran was killed in a blaze in the Mount Washington area Friday.

The fire broke out just before 10 p.m. in a one-story hillside home on the 500 block of West Avenue 44.

Responding LAFD firefighters navigated steep and narrow streets to find the residence and garage fully engulfed in flames. It took close to 50 firefighters 40 minutes to knock the blaze down.

After extinguishing the flames, crews searched the heavily damaged home and discovered human remains.

Francisco Hernandez, 89, was later identified as the victim.

The cause of the fire was not immediately clear, but investigators believe it was likely electrical. The home did not have working residential fire sprinklers.

Hernandez' niece, Maya Hoo, says her uncle should be honored as a decorated war veteran. She said her uncle fought in Normandy, and was shot in the leg. He received the Purple Heart for his work.

"I want him to be remembered as a hero, as the hero that he was, and that we can't forget these guys because they're disappearing around us, and you have to know how important they are, and that the important things in life are your family," said Hoo.

This is the ninth fire fatality in Los Angeles this year in which the home was not equipped with a fire detector. In five of the nine case, the victims were senior citizens.


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