LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Battling one of California’s first major wildfires of the year, Kevin Black suddenly realized the only way to keep from being engulfed by flames roaring up a hillside toward his team was to finish the buffer line they were hacking through drought-parched brush.
“Either we get this line in, or we burn,” Black, 54, recalled shouting as he and his fellow crew members – all prison inmates clad in orange fatigues – hurried to cut a 6-foot-wide (1.8 meter-wide) fire break with hand tools in the thick scrub.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A trifecta of early winter storms that swept California with heavy rain and snow in the past two weeks put a promising dent in a severe drought entering its fourth year, but the water shortage remains far from over, water officials said on Tuesday.
Depleted reservoirs and the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which normally constitutes the state’s largest natural store of fresh surface water, received a welcome boost from successive Pacific storms on Dec. 1-2, Dec. 11-12 and again on Monday and Tuesday.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Arson investigators are asking for the public’s help in locating two potential witnesses seen on video footage captured near the scene of a suspicious Los Angeles construction fire that gutted an entire city block last week, fire officials said on Tuesday.
Both men are being sought for questioning about what they may have observed before the fire erupted, and neither is considered a suspect or even a “person of interest,” said Thomas Mangan, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The union for 20,000 dockworkers and a group of their employers at 29 U.S. West Coast ports say they are making slow but steady progress in months-long contract talks seen by the shipping industry as a contributing factor in chronic cargo backups.
However, neither side has ventured to say how much longer it might take to reach a settlement, and both parties continued to abide by a news blackout on the details of their talks and the issues that divide them.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A Pacific storm lashed Southern California with heavy rains and wind on Friday, triggering flash floods and mudslides that prompted the evacuation of hundreds of homes, damaged more than a dozen dwellings and disrupted passenger rail service along the coast.
One person was found dead on Friday in a rain-swollen flood-control channel in the Orange County town of Garden Grove, which could mark the third storm-related fatality on the West Coast since Thursday.
LOS ANGELES, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Crippling cargo backups at
U.S. West Coast ports stretched into a third month amid industry
reports on Thursday of prolonged shipment delays for goods
ranging from yoga apparel and rice to NBA bobblehead
collectibles and frozen french fries.
The congestion crisis has been most pronounced at the twin
ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation’s two busiest
cargo hubs, where marine officials reported 11 ships anchored on
Thursday waiting for berths to open.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Comedian Bill Cosby was sued for defamation on Wednesday in Massachusetts by a sexual assault accuser who said he branded her a liar in public statements made through his representatives denying her allegations of abuse.
The eight-page complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Massachusetts, is believed to be the second lawsuit arising from a wave of sexual misconduct allegations against Cosby, 77, by more than a dozen women since October.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A fierce blaze that destroyed a downtown Los Angeles apartment complex under construction next to a fire house and damaged three nearby buildings on Monday is being examined by arson investigators as a “criminal fire,” authorities said.
Commuter traffic into the nation’s second-largest city was snarled through the morning rush as authorities shut down a major nearby freeway because of the blaze, which fire officials said erupted overnight and took three hours to bring under control. No injuries were reported.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Fire destroyed a seven-story apartment building under construction in downtown Los Angeles and spread to a neighboring high-rise early Monday before flames were largely extinguished, forcing a major freeway shutdown through rush hour.
The blaze erupted at about 1:30 a.m. and took about three hours to bring under control, but no injuries were reported, said Katherine Main, a spokeswoman for Los Angeles City Fire Department.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Bill Cosby was sued on Tuesday by a woman alleging he molested her in 1974 at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles when she was 15, in what is believed to be the first court case arising from a recent wave of sexual misconduct accusations against the comedian.
The five-page complaint, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, charged that Cosby sexually abused plaintiff Judy Huth by putting his hand down her pants, and then “taking her hand in his hand and performing a sex act on himself without her consent.”