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Elderly Man Living in Pack Rat Conditions Dies in Mt. Washington Fire

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An 89-year-old man died Friday night after a fire burned through his Mt. Washington home.

Firefighters say Francisco Hernandez was living in pack-rat conditions, KTLA reported. The fire broke out in the man’s house around 10 p.m. at 533 West Avenue 44, and firefighters had it out in about 40 minutes, ABC7 reported.

This is the ninth house fire fatality in Los Angeles this year, authorities said today. It’s an unusually high number for so early in the year, as 20 people on average die in house fires annually in L.A., the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

Hernandez was a World War II veteran who fought in Normandy, was shot in the leg and received the Purple Heart, his niece Maya Hoo told ABC7.

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Officials urged residents to have working smoke detectors in their homes and to check in on their elderly neighbors.