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Brush fire smolders in windy S. Calif.

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — Southern California firefighters are working to mop up a 10-acre brush fire that was rapidly spread by gusty Santa Ana winds Christmas night.

Ventura County authorities say the blaze was reported shortly before 10:30 p.m. Wednesday near State Route 118 in the Santa Susana Pass, northwest of Los Angeles.

Fire officials say the blaze is only smoldering early Thursday and it's 20 percent contained.

Three hundred firefighters are dousing hotspots and trying to finish carving containment lines.

No homes are immediately threatened.

Thursday's forecast, however, calls for dry weather and more Santa Ana winds possibly gusting to 40 mph.

County fire Capt. Mike Lindbery says if the wind kicks up, there's concern it could sweep embers into nearby areas containing hundreds of homes and ranches.


Southern Calif. heats up with highs on Christmas

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California temperatures hit near-record highs on Christmas, and in at least one case broke a previous record.

National Weather Service specialist Bonnie Bartling says the high of 83 degrees at Long Beach Airport on Wednesday broke the old record of 81 degrees in 1972.

A high of 82 degrees in downtown Los Angeles tied for the second warmest Christmas Day. Angelenos experienced that same high in 1985, 1925 and 1899.

The warmest Christmas on record downtown was 85 degrees in 1980.

Bartling says temperatures are expected to remain above the 30-year average for the entire week.

A red flag warning is in place for Los Angeles and Ventura counties through 6 p.m. Thursday and a wind advisory in effect for both counties through 4 p.m. Thursday.


LAPD officer rescues man from burning wreckage

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles police bomb squad officer rescued a man from his burning station wagon after a fiery freeway crash on Christmas.

LAPD Officer Don Thompson was treated for serious injuries including first and second degree burns plus smoke inhalation and abrasions after pulling a man in his 60s from his burning vehicle Wednesday.

The driver was taken to a hospital with moderate injuries.

Thompson was driving to work on Interstate 405 when he saw a station wagon on the other side of the freeway crash into the divider and burst into flames. Thompson, a 26-year department veteran, stopped his bomb squad truck, jumped over the divider, cut the unconscious man from his seatbelt, and pulled him out.

Two other drivers helped pull the man further from the wreckage.


Los Angeles man allegedly stabbed stepfather

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A 23-year-old Los Angeles man has been arrested on suspicion of murder for allegedly fatally stabbing his stepfather in the back Christmas morning.

Los Angeles police Sgt. Shannon Hale says 54-year-old Nery Ambrosio was stabbed once with a power tool of some type in a bedroom of the family's home in the neighborhood of Watts on Wednesday.

Hale says the stepson woke up and got into a "strange argument" with his mother when she said she didn't know where his baseball bat was. He began to "assault her" and when Ambrosio tried to defend her, the stepson pushed him to the ground, grabbed a nearby tool and stabbed him. A stepdaughter called 911.

Ambrosio was pronounced dead at the hospital. He'd been with the mother for the last 20 years.


California home where 94-year-old died burglarized

(Information in the following story is from: The Record,

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) — Police in Stockton say thieves ransacked and burglarized a home while a 94-year-old woman lay dead inside.

Officers were dispatched to the home around 6:20 a.m. Tuesday to check on a report of a broken door. Police spokesman Joe Silva tells The Record of Stockton they found the woman inside. She had been dead for some time. She apparently died of natural causes, though an autopsy is planned to determine the exact cause of death.

Silva says the home, meanwhile, appeared to have been ransacked multiple times after her death.

Police are asking for the public's help in identifying a suspect or suspects.


Woman shot at San Diego mall parking lot IDed

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Police have identified a couple who were shot at a San Diego mall parking lot.

The U-T San Diego reports the woman, who died at the scene, was identified as 22-year-old Ilona Flint. The man, who was critically wounded, was identified as 22-year-old Salvatore Belvedere. He remained hospitalized.

Both were from San Diego and were in a black sedan with Utah plates early Tuesday when they were hit by gunfire.

Police are looking for a man seen driving away in a 2008 to 2011 gray Honda.

There's no word on a motive for the attack.


Longtime Indians broadcaster Hegan dies at 71

CLEVELAND (AP) — Mike Hegan, a former major league player who was a longtime broadcaster with the Cleveland Indians, has died. He was 71.

The Indians say Hegan had his family by his side when he died Wednesday morning in Hilton Head, S.C. No other details were provided by the team.

Hegan was a radio and TV broadcaster for the Indians for 23 years. He retired after the 2011 season. He also spent 12 seasons as a broadcaster with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The son of former Indians catcher Jim Hegan made the AL All-Star team with the Seattle Pilots in 1969 and helped the Oakland Athletics win the 1972 World Series. He also played in the 1964 World Series with the New York Yankees.

Hegan hit .242 with 53 homers and 229 RBIs in 965 career games with three organizations, getting most of his time at first base and in the outfield.