Having fully contained the Eagle Rock fire, firefighters now focus on cleanup

A firefighter points a hose at a hot spot in a grassy area between the 134 and 2 freeways as fire crews from Glendale and Los Angeles continue to battle a brush fire that erupted in Eagle Rock on Sunday.
(Tim Berger/Glendale News-Press)

Glendale and Los Angeles firefighters on Tuesday continued to make progress in containing a brush fire that scorched roughly 45 acres in Eagle Rock.

Dubbed the Colorado Fire by authorities, it was first reported sometime around 4 p.m. on Sunday in the 2900 block of West Colorado Boulevard. Crews from both the Los Angeles and Glendale fire departments responded to the blaze because of its proximity to both cities.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Los Angeles Fire Department reported the blaze was 100% contained, and firefighters were focused on dealing with remaining hot spots and cleaning up the area.

Work was expected to be completed by early Tuesday evening, according to the department. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Although no residents reported any injuries from the fire, a captain with the Glendale Fire Department fell on Monday while working on the incident.

Anita Shandi, a department spokeswoman, said in an email the firefighter sustained only a minor back strain and was released from the hospital that night.

At the outset of the blaze, a large plume of smoke could be seen from across parts of the Southland.

As the flames made their way toward the 134 Freeway and threatened nearby homes in the Glenoaks Canyon neighborhood of Glendale, city officials ordered a mandatory evacuation of around 100 households. Authorities also shut down the connectors between the 2 and 134 freeways, and, by Tuesday afternoon, they remained closed.

While the Glendale Unified School District did not cancel classes on Monday, Supt. Vivian Ekchian said in an email that administrators constantly monitored the air quality to see if students needed to be kept indoors.

She also said the district was in constant communication with fire authorities, and district officials were even ready to relocate students to different campuses if the fire significantly impacted nearby schools.

Local residents on Glenoaks Boulevard cover their face as they walk to their homes as a brush fire takes place nearby in the hills of Eagle Rock on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019.
(James Carbone / Glendale News-Press)

While the evacuation order was eventually lifted late Sunday evening, not everyone heeded the call to leave their homes. News broadcasts from the fire showed residents gawking at the fire and filming it with their cellphones.

Shandi said only a small fraction of residents ignored the order and that most people “are very aware of the importance of getting out when needed.”

She added, “It is understandable to feel the attachment to your home and its sentimental value, but we ask that residents evacuate their properties immediately when they are notified to do so for their own safety.”

Nemecio Respicio was one of the residents who heeded the city’s warning. He and his family left for the emergency shelter that was set up at the Glendale Civic Auditorium the moment word came to leave.

Respicio, who has lived in the area for 34 years, said that, while the fire on Sunday was scary, he wasn’t worried about the safety of his home despite it being directly on the opposite side of the burning hill.

“I wasn’t worried that much, my family was, but I wasn’t,” he said.

Times Community News reporter Andrew Campa contributed to this story.

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