Leisure World Blaze Injures 2 Firefighters

Two firefighters suffered hand and facial burns when flames shooting from two windows melted their helmets and “burned the jackets off their backs,” a fire spokesman said Tuesday.

A security guard suffered minor smoke inhalation in the blaze, caused by a malfunctioning propane gas barbecue at Laguna Hills’ Leisure World retirement community Monday afternoon, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Scott Brown said.

Firefighters Andy Vanderstelt and Steve Gorrel were preparing to enter a burning one-story home when the fire “blew out two windows” and burned them, Brown said. The firefighters were treated for first- and second-degree burns at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center.

They were among 31 firefighters who took 20 minutes to control the fire, which caused an estimated $230,000 damage to the three-bedroom home in the 5300 block of Cantante.


Daniel and Virginia McGovern, 86 and 75, were cooking in their back patio about 5:30 p.m. when a flash fire ignited from a malfunction in their grill, Brown said. The fire quickly got out of control and had spread to the house by the time firefighters arrived, Brown said.

Firefighters urged the public to check barbecuing equipment before any summer cookouts. Fire officials are asking anyone with questions about outdoor grills to call (714) 744-7496.