H-ORCUTT

Jan 16, 2011 9:35 PM by Danielle Lerner

Investigation continues into deadly house fire in Orcutt

Firefighters are working around the clock, trying to figure out what lead to a deadly house fire in Orcutt Saturday night.

Fire crews were called to the 1100 block of Barnette Road just after 4 p.m. after neighbors reported seeing flames coming from the garage, and said one person was still inside.

Crews pulled the 74-year-old woman from the home and performed CPR but she died at the scene. Her 47-year-old son, who also lived at the home, was hospitalized for smoke inhalation. A special task force has been assembled to investigate the cause, but firefighters say they still have a long way to go.

Firefighters spent most of Sunday sifting through the debris of the Orcutt home. It is the first step in a long and detailed investigation.

"It starts out simple, simply the investigators look where the fire has not destroyed much or where there's not much damage, and then they work their way back in toward the center of the fire or where there is heavier damage," said Russell Sechler, and engineer inspector with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The investigation continues one day after firefighters pulled the 74-year-old woman from her burning home.

"Firefighters reported the smoke was almost all the way to the floor of the building," said Sechler.

They fought to save her on the front lawn but could not.

"We think this is a tragedy," said Sechler. "We like to get in and get you out of the house so unfortunately, just wasn't time."

Now firefighters from Santa Barbara County, the City of Santa Maria and Vandenberg Air Force Base are working together, trying to figure out why this tragedy happened.

"A fire of this size takes a lot of investigation," Sechler said. "It takes a long time to do it."

The names of the woman and her son are still not being released. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department says it is offering counseling services for firefighters involved in Saturday night's incident.

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