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New Year's Eve Blaze Destroys Eagle Rock Churchgoers' Home

No one was injured in the fire at a La Crescenta home owned by Crescenta Valley High School special education teacher Lucy Witkop.

Gas Company employees worked Tuesday after a New Year’s Eve fire ripped through the one-story home of La Crescenta couple who are evidently active members of an Eagle Rock church.

The fire in the 4900 block of Pennsylvania Avenue broke out about 9:30 p.m. Saturday, said a watch commander at the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station. 

The home belongs to teacher Lucy Witkop and her husband Dean, who live there with their two sons, according to Pia Marie Hugo, a history and economics teacher at CVHS, who spoke to Patch. The Witkops are very active members of  on Colorado Boulevard, Hugo said. 

The couple was celebrating at a New Year's Eve party at the time of the fire, Hugo said. Their two sons were also at New Year's Eve parties.

“The house is a total loss,” Richard Engersbach, a technician for the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s station, told the La Canada Valley Sun. The fire was caused by an electrical malfunction, he said. 

The Witkops could not be reached by email or at their home for a statement. They have declined media interviews, Hugo told Patch. 

The extent of the damage from the fire is extensive and almost nothing is left, Hugo said. Firefighters said the cause was electrical and flames were fast-moving, she said.

"I'm glad the couple was with us and the two sons were both at a New Year's Eve parties when it happened, so no one was hurt," Hugo said. "Even the dog escaped—and a neighbor took care of him while the family was gone."

Both Lucy and Dean have done missionary work for their Christian Assembly church in Africa, Mexico and Skid Row for many years, Hugo said.

"They have to totally rebuild from scratch because they pretty much lost everything in the fire,” Hugo said, adding: “Any small donation would be greatly appreciated."

Hugo described Lucy and Dean as "a giving couple” and said she hopes that community members will “rally around them and give back to them so they and their children can have a fresh start."

Anyone who would like to make a monetary donation to help with basic things, including clothing, food and shelter, can email Hugo at phugo@gusd.net for information on how to help 

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