MAJOR EMERGENCY STRUCTURE FIRE: On Saturday, November 18, 2000, at 0157 Hours (1:57 AM PST), twenty-eight Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, four LAFD Helicopters and four Battalion Officer Command Teams, all under the direction of Assistant Chief William Ward, responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire in the 8600 Block of DeSoto Avenue in Winnetka. The first Company to arrive on scene reported heavy winds fanning flames within a 300’ x 100’ parcel containing twelve tightly grouped luxury homes under construction. Firefighters using handlines and master streams made a swift and well-coordinated attack on the blaze, sparing damage to five of the tar-paper wrapped buildings that were awaiting application of roofing tile. Herculean effort by Firefighters spared five of the new homes, but six were destroyed and one was heavily damaged. As LAFD Helicopters scoured the neighborhood for embers blown by the Santa Ana winds, Firefighters were able to spare damage to the interior of a two-story single family home to the east, though the wind-swept flames destroyed the roof and attic of that structure. To the southeast, a total of six ranch style homes sitting on one-acre lots were threatened but spared damage from the blaze. To the south across an alley though, five townhomes that were exposed to the fire sustained significant damage to their eaves and garages. Despite Firefighters efforts, one auto in this area was also destroyed. There were no injuries. Loss from this fire is still being tabulated. The cause of this early morning blaze remains categorized as “under active investigation”.