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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Deputies rescue two from burning home, Korean-American senior found dead

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A man who died in a house fire in La Cañada on January 30 has been identified as a Korean-American senior. On January 31, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) and the coroner’s office identified 67-year-old Korean-American Jacob Seong as the man who perished in the home fire near the 210 Freeway and Foothill Boulevard around 4 a.m. on January 30.

The fire reportedly started in the early morning hours in the kitchen area of the semi-basement and single-story home where Seong and his wife resided. At the time of the fire, Jacob Seong, his wife, and his nephew were inside the house.

Shortly after the fire erupted, Seong was found deceased in the living room, while his wife and nephew were rescued and taken to the hospital. According to the LASD Crescenta Valley Station, Seong’s wife and nephew are currently in stable condition.

Firefighters battled a blaze at a home in La Cañada on January 30. [Screen captured from ABC7]

LASD responded to the call and extinguished the fire within 20 minutes of arriving on the scene. One firefighter sustained injuries during the response and was taken to the hospital.

The fire was first noticed by a neighbor, a Korean-American female police officer Joyce Lee, and her family, who were preparing for work at the time. The officer called 911 and provided the first response until firefighters arrived.

“When I first saw the fire, it was spreading from inside to outside the house,” said Joyce Lee in an interview at the LASD’s Crescenta Valley station on January 31. “I called 911, entered the burning house, and rescued two people,” she added.

Joyce Lee and her team. [LASD Crescenta Valley]

Officers arriving at the scene observed a female inside the home through a window, according to the LASD. They broke the window and entered the home to rescue her. Firefighters subsequently arrived, opened the front door, and carried the unconscious male outside. The couple’s nephew was reportedly rescued after remaining in a room in the semi-basement.

Officials in La Cañada are now placing signs to block access to the house that caught fire.

Meanwhile, the burned house is situated atop a hill on the west side of the city, adjacent to the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA. A witness mentioned that there are three or four single-story homes in the vicinity. Mr. and Mrs. Seong had resided in the burned house for nearly 30 years.

Neighbor Suzy Lee, in her 60s, commented, “The deceased was very active in church missions and always helpful to neighbors.” “When I saw the fire at dawn, I went to the house and knocked on the door, but no one answered,” she recounted.

The Los Angeles County Department of Coroner reported “smoke inhalation and thermal burns” as the primary cause of death. The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and Fire Department are investigating the exact cause of the fire.

BY HYOUNGJAE KIM, JUNHAN PARK [kim.ian@koreadaily.com]