2013-04-25 / Front Page

Woman killed in Vallecito mobile home fire

By Anna Bitong


DESTRUCTION—The remnants of Faith Margolis’ coach at Vallecito Mobile Home Park in Newbury Park. 
ANNA BITONG/Acorn Newspapers DESTRUCTION—The remnants of Faith Margolis’ coach at Vallecito Mobile Home Park in Newbury Park. ANNA BITONG/Acorn Newspapers Due to lack of evidence, investigators may not be able to determine what caused a mobile home fire in Newbury Park last week that killed a 74-year-old woman.

Faith Diane Margolis and her cat were found dead inside the coach after the early morning fire on April 13 at the Vallecito Community mobile home park in the 200 block of Monte Vista. A second cat that belonged to Margolis, who lived there for 29 years, was not found, said Vallecito manager Ron Gellenbeck.

The cause of her death was inhalation of combustible products and thermal cutaneous injuries, or burns, said Armando Chavez, senior deputy medical examiner.

Firefighters called to the scene by a neighbor found the home engulfed in flames and battled the blaze for about an hour as the home burned down to the frame, said Mike Lindbery, spokesperson for the Ventura County Fire Protection District.

“On arrival the fire was out of all the doors and windows,” he said.

The intensity of the fire may have destroyed any clues to what started it.

“I have doubts about whether we will find the cause because of the extent of the damage to the structure. It was down to rubble,” Lindbery said.

No firefighters were injured during the ordeal, he added.

The fire was reported at 1:11 a.m. Minutes later, at 1:18 a.m., two fire engines arrived at the scene and two additional engines joined them in the next four minutes, said Bill Nash, spokesperson for the Ventura County Fire Department.

“About 30 firefighters were involved with fighting the fire, search and rescue, and protecting other nearby structures,” he said.

The blaze was knocked down at 2:12 a.m., Nash said.

Gellenbeck, a manager and resident at the mobile home park for 14 years, said he evacuated his home just before 2 a.m.

“My wife and I got our shoes on and hustled out,” he said. “By the time we got to the fire the flames were down. (The firefighters) told me that they came to protect the two homes (on either side) because her home was lost.”

Gellenbeck said it was the first fire in the community of 300 homes since it was built in 1972.

Margolis, who went by the name Diane, was born in Columbus, Ohio, and attended Fairfax High School in Los Angeles. She moved to the Conejo Valley 34 years ago. She had a son and daughter and two granddaughters.

Margolis’ daughter, who did not want her name published, described her mother as dynamic, outgoing, thoughtful, considerate, warm and generous.

“We’ve been hearing from folks that she would leave cards and flowers anonymously at people’s doors. She really wanted to touch people’s hearts,” she said.

And she loved old musicals and the beach, her daughter said.

“She loved Venice Beach. That was her favorite field trip,” she said. “She was very loved. She will be missed.”

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