OXNARD : Arson Suspected in Fire That Guts Home
An early morning blaze gutted a woman’s north Oxnard home Saturday while she was out of state visiting her son, authorities said.
Oxnard Battalion Chief Terry McAnally said the fire appears to have been deliberately set, possibly in connection with a burglary of the residence. The house had been ransacked and vandalized with graffiti, he said, and there were signs of a forced entry.
Neighbors reported the fire in the 900 block of Bluebell Street about 1:40 a.m. When firefighters arrived minutes later, flames had already swept through the single-story house and were burning through the roof.
“The whole side of the house was just in flames,” said 15-year-old Andy Medvigy, whose family lives across the street. “The whole street was filled with smoke. You couldn’t even see across the street.”
It took firefighters from five engine companies about 30 minutes to extinguish the flames.
“The house was pretty much destroyed,” McAnally said. Officials estimated the blaze caused $125,000 in damage to the house and another $75,000 to the property inside.
The woman who rents the house, Hatsue Fiedler, had been away visiting her son in Wisconsin since Thanksgiving, Medvigy and fire officials said. She was expected to return today or Monday.
Medvigy said Fiedler had moved into the house several years ago with her husband, who later died.
McAnally said the exact cause of the fire is still under investigation.