Fire Engulfs Laurel House

Fire damaged home on Laurel Ave., click to enlarge

Posted 5/20/14 – One thing for sure, Matt Gallagher, his wife and two teenagers will not be sleeping at home in the house they’ve lived in since 2001 tonight, after fire swept through their home early this morning, leaving it uninhabitable for now, if not for good.  Insurance investigators were at the site on West Laurel Ave. just west of Baldwin Ave., when I dropped by late this afternoon to see the Gallagher home, which caught fire shortly after nine.  A neighbor reported that the fire department was there within minutes, and while they were able to put it out fairly quickly, the damage to the house is extensive.  Mr. Gallagher didn’t know if any of the house would be salvageable, noting that this had just happened hours ago and he was waiting to hear from the people who do this type of work for a living.  “I don’t do this every day,” said Gallagher.

Mr. Gallagher tells me that he heard some early speculation that the fire may have been electrical in origin, but that Fire Marshal Rich Snyder is investigating, and he’ll know more about how it started after the results of that investigation are completed.  He said that he had been impressed that the insurance people had arranged for the house to be boarded up and protected from the weather within hours of the fire being extinguished, and even had folks come by to gather clothing to get dry cleaned in an effort to salvage them before the smoke damage set in permanently.

He seemed to be in a pretty upbeat mood considering how his day was going.  He told me “I’ve got great friends and neighbors, Sierra Madre rocks.  Mr. Newsom from Sierra Madre School came by, and someone from St. Rita also dropped by and told us to let them know if there’s anything they can do.”  We’re glad to hear everyone is safe and no one was injured.