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from The Sacramento Bee


Mother bear, cub die in Southern California house fire they started

- (Published August 5, 2002)

FOREST FALLS, Calif. (AP) - A mother bear and cub foraging for food broke into a home in a San Bernardino National Forest mountain community and died in the house fire they started.

A 300-pound black bear and her cub entered the house on Maple Drive through an open front window while the family was out grocery shopping Sunday afternoon, a San Bernardino County fire spokeswoman said.

The bears knocked down a living room lamp, sparking the fire. They continued to the kitchen in search of food, Tracey Martinez said.

The two were trapped inside the burning home and died. Firefighters discovered the carcasses when they doused the flames, Martinez said.

"It's my understanding that the bears have been kind of terrorizing the neighborhood and broke into several other houses," Martinez said.

U.S. Forest Service and county firefighters responded about 2 p.m. In addition, Southern California Edison repair workers replaced burned power lines and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigated the bears' deaths.

Forest Falls is about 90 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

About 400 black bears roam the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountain ranges, according to state Fish and Game wildlife biologist Kevin Brennan.


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