CHP officers rescue 86-year-old woman from burning Encino house

Fire at cluttered Encino home remains under investigation

Los Angeles Fire Department officials continued Saturday to investigate the cause of a greater-alarm fire Friday evening that engulfed a heavily cluttered Encino house near the 101 Freeway.

California Highway Patrol officers on a routine traffic stop nearby rescued a female occupant, who was taken to a hospital in fair condition after suffering burns and smoke inhalation.

In an interview with The Times, the woman's son, Richard Silva, 56, identified her as Ruth Silva, 86, a retired postal worker.

The blaze was reported at 5:52 p.m., according to Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey. Richard Silva, who has lived in the one-story house for 40 years, said he was a block away at the time and rode his bike to the house in the 15700 block of Magnolia Boulevard.

CHP officers Kevin Mendell and Robert Jackson, as well as acting Sgt. Edward Diffner, aided in rescuing the woman from near the edge of the home.

It took 55 firefighters 2-1/2 hours to douse the flames. Humphrey said the house had "excessive storage on the premises."

Richard Silva, who was treated by firefighters at the scene, said the city had recently charged him $5,000 after Fire Department personnel "removed a bunch of stuff" from the premises. Among items damaged in the fire, he said, were "old Hollywood" memorabilia that he had hoped to sell.

Times photographer Irfan Khan contributed to this story.

Twitter: @MarthaGroves

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