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Woman, 65, is killed in Van Nuys apartment fire

November 19, 2009 | 10:54 pm

A 65-year-old woman died today after a fire broke out at a Van Nuys apartment building, authorities said.

One of the engine companies at the neighborhood fire station, which was several blocks away, had been shut down because of budget cutbacks, authorities said.Fire Scene

But authorities said that two firetrucks — with six firefighters — were still in service at the station and arrived at the scene two minutes after the alarm was sounded. Another firetruck from the next-closest station arrived in four minutes, authorities said.

"We got there very quickly," said Battalion Chief Ronnie Villanueva of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

He noted that the average response time in the San Fernando Valley  is about five minutes.

When fire units arrived at the blaze about 2:20 a.m., smoke was streaming out of the second-story apartment building in the 14100 block of West Erwin Street.

The woman was discovered inside the smoke-filled apartment and was taken to Sherman Oaks Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead, authorities said. Her name was not released.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation.

—Robert J. Lopez