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One dead, dozens homes destroyed in wildfire near Los Angeles

Saddleridge Fire is seen at Sylma, northwest of Los Angeles downtown, the United States, Oct. 11, 2019. A man was killed and dozens of homes destroyed by the wind-driven Saddleridge Fire raging through the foothill communities of Sylmar, 46 km northwest of Los Angeles downtown. (Xinhua/Li Ying)

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) — A man was killed and dozens of homes destroyed by the wind-driven Saddleridge Fire raging through the foothill communities of Sylmar, 46 km northwest of Los Angeles downtown.

Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) Chief Ralph Terrazas was quoted by the CBS news channel as saying that the fatal blaze erupted Thursday night and had grown to 4,700 acres (19.1 square km) as of daybreak Friday and one man in his 50s died of a heart attack amid the wildfire which damaged at least 25 homes.

A firefighter was also injured, suffering a minor eye injury, Terrazas added.

A total of 1,000 firefighters were deployed to battle the fire, supported by helicopters and planes, but their works were hampered by strong gusty winds whipping up the blaze, which officials said is moving at a rate of 800 acres (3.2 square km) per hour.

The fire has shut down a key freeway interchange between southern and central California while about 23,000 homes – 100,000 residents – are under mandatory evacuation orders.

A red flag warning over the Southern California, where the Saddleridge Fire is burning, scheduled to expire at 6 pm Friday, has been extended until 6 pm Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

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