Huge blaze destroys Hollywood Hills home

HOLLYWOOD HILLS, Calif. It was a rough morning for the homeowner of the five-story house on Sunset Plaza Drive. Prominent trial attorney /*Brian Witzer*/ barely made it out in time before the fire engulfed the top stories of his newly renovated Hollywood Hills home.

"It took 12 years of construction to take a 2,500-square-foot house to 7,500 square feet," said Witzer. "It's a lifetime of art collection. It's an accumulation of all of my family's memories. And there wasn't time to salvage anything."

Witzer tried to fight the fire himself with a garden hose as he waited for fire trucks to roll up. The /*L.A. City Fire Department*/ said it responded within eight minutes of the 911 call.

But by the time they arrived atop the winding road, the top floors were a total loss and there was an immediate concern about embers possibly spreading to surrounding brush.

"Helicopters were added at this incident for a reason because it is in a brush area," explained L.A. City Fire Captain Mark Storms. "The thought is, many brush fires start from either an automobile fire or a house fire that spreads into the brush. He had real good clearance for his brush requirements. He did a good job."

Witzer's fiancee and 9-year-old daughter weren't home at the time and Witzer himself wasn't injured. But the fire did do plenty of damage and now the high-profile attorney is wondering what or who may have started that early morning blaze.

"You know it's easy to think it has something to do perhaps with high-profile cases I'm involved with, but on the other hand, you know, it could've been an electrical fire from my fish tank," said Witzer. "One would not expect that there was enough activity to have generated a fire."

Witzer's law firm is currently representing plaintiffs in the huge case against /*Eden Memorial Park*/ in Mission Hills,

If the fire is ruled by investigators as arson, Witzer said he has plenty of surveillance video that investigators will be able to search through.

Arson investigators remained on scene throughout the morning as protocol to try and make some sense as to what started the fire.

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