IRVINE : 2 Condos Destroyed, Woman Hurt in Fire

An Irvine woman suffered second-degree burns, and two condominium units were destroyed when a three-alarm fire broke out in a laundry closet Sunday afternoon, officials said.

The fire was reported at 3:30 p.m. at 93 Lake Pines and spread quickly through the stucco building with wood shingle roofs, said Kathleen Cha, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Fire Department. It gutted two units and caused moderate damage to two others, she said.

Officials said the fire apparently started in a clothes dryer. It was contained in about an hour and caused $300,000 in damage.

Resident Elayne Basse, 22, said she and her mother, Charlotte Hooker, who was visiting, were doing laundry.

"There was a squeak in the dryer and we were looking for what caused the squeak, and it just burst into flames," Basse said as she stood outside the building while firefighters scrambled through the units, trying to put out runaway embers.

"My mom was standing right in front of it when it blew up, and it immediately threw her to the floor," she said. "I grabbed the phone to call 911. It was really no time before windows were exploding out of the apartment."

She and her mother escaped the apartment as flames began to shoot up all around them, she said.

"I ran outside with the phone still in my hands and we pounded on (neighbors') doors," she said.

Hooker was taken to Western Medical Center-Santa Ana with burns on her face, hands and the tops of her feet, Cha said, and was released Sunday night.

Michelle MacDonald, Basse's upstairs neighbor, was not home when the fire broke out, but she said she was told her home and its contents were destroyed.

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