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2 of 3 candidates for L.A. school board seat don't show up for debate

Absenteeism was a big problem Wednesday night at a forum for Los Angeles Unified school board candidates.

It wasn’t parents, students or concerned citizens who played hooky.

It was two out of the three candidates.

That’s right. About 200 people gathered at the Goodwill Community Enrichment Center in Northeast Los Angeles. But with the election just over a month away and a host of critical issues facing the next school board, two of the three District 5 candidates blew off the event.

The third candidate, Ref Rodriguez, sat alone on stage next to placards bearing the names of the no-show candidates — incumbent Bennett Kayser and Andrew Thomas.

This did not sit well with the audience.

“I am very disappointed because I feel it was an insult to me and my family,” said Eva Campos, the mother of two L.A. Unified students. “I drove here with one of my kids and my husband.”

Marta Alcumbrac of the Los Feliz Improvement District said weeks of work went into organizing the forum. She said she...

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Possible Ebola patient at UC Davis Medical Center

A person has been checked into UC Davis Medical Center with symptoms consistent with Ebola, the hospital announced in a statement Thursday.

The person was transferred to the hospital Thursday morning from Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento, said UC Davis Medical Center spokeswoman Dorsey Griffith.

The hospital could determine if the patient has Ebola by the end of the day Thursday, she said.

If the person is diagnosed with Ebola, UC Davis is well prepared, Griffith said.

The hospital was dubbed a priority hospital by the state Department of Public Health during the peak of the Ebola scare last year and is up to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards, she said.

The rest of the hospital remains open. The person is being treated in an isolation room, Griffith said.

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna.

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San Francisco fire: 'Fortunate to have just one fatality,' chief says

With Mayor Ed Lee by her side, San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White offered a detailed account Thursday of a massive Mission District blaze Wednesday evening that left one person dead, injured five and displaced nearly five dozen residents and as many as 20 small businesses.

Police said late Wednesday that the fire did not appear to be intentionally set, but Hayes-White stressed that the cause remains under investigation, along with unverified reports from numerous witnesses that no alarms sounded.

Residents attempting to flee the four-alarm fire, which began about 6:45 p.m., also have reported that their access to some fire escapes was blocked or otherwise hampered.

"We're looking at the sprinkler system and whether there were working adequate alarms," said Hayes-White, flanked by the mayor and city agency heads who have begun to probe the building's safety and find alternate shelter for those displaced. She said some residents described the building as "maze-like" as they...

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Mother and child killed in fast-moving Inglewood apartment blaze

A mother and child were killed in a fast-moving apartment fire Thursday morning in Inglewood, authorities said.

The blaze started about 2:30 a.m. in one unit of a three-story apartment building in the 600 block of Queen Street and quickly spread to a second, forcing its residents to flee, Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said.

The names of the two victims were not officially released. But they were identified to a Times photographer by a relative as 22-year-old Angel Reed and her 3-year-old daughter, Angelina.

About 55 firefighters battled the blaze, and one suffered minor injuries, Los Angeles County fire Inspector Randall Wright said. The fire was extinguished about an hour after it started, officials said.

Two apartments were scorched and a third was damaged by smoke, Wright said. Fifteen residents were displaced.

Investigators were searching the debris Thursday for a possible cause and to see if smoke alarms were installed and working, he said.

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Human body parts scattered in S.F.: Person of interest seen on video

A person who may have scattered body parts across three blocks of downtown San Francisco on Wednesday was seen on surveillance video, police said.

Though authorities have yet to release a detailed description of the person, officers detained two men and a woman in connection with the incident Wednesday, said Officer Grace Gatpandan. All three were released when detectives determined they were not involved.

“Officers are actively attempting to locate this particular person of interest,” Gatpandan said in a statement.

The first portion of remains was found in a suitcase on the sidewalk on 11th Street between Market and Mission streets about 4:15 p.m. Wednesday. Officers received a call about a suspicious package and made the grisly discovery when they opened the suitcase.

Authorities couldn’t tell if the remains were human or animal until they were examined by the county medical examiner. "This is a gruesome scene," Gatpandan said.

Gruesome and -- with no one in custody -- potentially...

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Video: Man hurls flaming container into Orange County home

Arson investigators are looking for a man who they say hurled a flaming fuel container into a Yorba Linda home and rode off on a child’s bicycle.

The Orange County Fire Authority released surveillance video Wednesday, hoping the public could help them find the arsonist in the Nov. 3 fire that caused $1 million in damage and destroyed the home.

A young woman and a family dog were treated for smoke inhalation, fire Capt. Steve Concialdi said.

Fire investigators say the man launched the container into a window at 10:34 a.m., setting off a flash fire.

Surveillance video shows the man briefly enveloped by flames.

Fire investigators believe the man may have suffered burns to his right hand, arm and face. His facial hair was possibly singed.

He was last seen riding a child’s BMX-style bicycle on Felicia Drive toward Avenida Rio Del Oro and Yorba Linda Boulevard.

At the time of the incident, the man had on eyeglasses and was wearing blue jeans and a red pullover jacket that also may have been...

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