Fire destroys home, claims pets

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Fire destroys  home, claims petsA quick-burning fire that broke out Tuesday afternoon destroyed the home of a local woman, and claimed the lives of three of her pets.

Kern County Fire Department officials reportedly responded to a fire off Coso Avenue reported at 3:47 p.m. Elizabeth Babcock, the owner of the home, was out of the residence. The fire was reported by a neighbor, who originally reported a possible victim inside.

Firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke and flames coming from a door and several windows. After searching for victims, and finding none, firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the flames.

Babcock arrived on scene after having taken one of her four cats to the veterinarian. She reported that her other three cats were at home. Firefighters attempted to find and revive her other pets, but ultimately reported that all three had perished.

Officials reported property and content damage estimated at $75,000.

Babcock, a longtime resident and unofficial historian of China Lake and Ridgecrest culture, is the author of many books, displays and presentations that showcase the area. She reported relief that her archives of historical reference materials and clippings, which were in her home at the time of the fire, will be mostly salvageable.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Babcock expressed gratitude to the firefighters and her many friends in the community who came to her aid and offered support.

“Fortunately, my insurance is taking care of my needs,” she said. “If anyone feels moved to make a donation, I encourage them to contribute to the Salvation Army.”

China Lake Fire Department assisted KCFD in battling the blaze.

Pictured: Firefighters and attempt to revive one of the pets that perished in the blaze. Photos by Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2016-12-16