Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Our beloved neighborhood 'recluse' is getting treatment for serious burns

This post is the first of what will be regular updates to the condition and situation of Edward Lattner, who police and firefighters rescued Monday from his burning home in Burbank, California.
Please see the earlier post for details from yesterday. And please consider subscribing to, sharing and commenting on this blog so that you'll get automatic updates.

Ed's lifelong friend (consider him a brother), Louis Dow II, got word in Florida from Ed's neighbors as the fire trucks were arriving yesterday (Monday) morning. He says he rushed to the airport for the first flight to California, and he's been at Ed's side or looking after Ed's house since he arrived. That's Louis in the photo.

He told me and other concerned neighbors that Ed is heavily sedated at West Hills Hospital's Burn Unit with serious burns mostly on his hands, arms and head. The pain was too much for him.

"They're treating him really well," Louis said. "He''s got a great team of doctors." He says the hospital is providing him with lodging while he's looking in on Ed.

The good news, Louis said, is that Ed is going to live. However, he'll be hospitalized for a long time. Tomorrow (Wednesday) the doctors will begin skin grafts. They'll also put a scope down into his lungs and also monitor the condition of his kidneys and heart.

The bad news for Ed is that it's clear that he'll never again get to live in the house he's occupied all of his 77 years. His parents built the house in 1937. He's lived there by himself since they died.

Louis asked me to say "thanks" to all of my neighbors and friends who have offered to help. He will be packing up and removing the last of Ed's things from the hours -- neither the house nor Ed are in any condition for occupancy. The fate of the house is up in the air. There are family obstacles someone will need to address. If anybody has reason to speak witth Louis, he says I can share his contact information with them directly.

Ed has been a fixture in the neighborhoods surrounding his house on South Griffith Park. For decades, people have watched Ed walk deliberately -- in short, staccado steps with his head aiming just low enough to avoid eye contact with passersby.

I've talked with him more than a dozen times when my dogs and I pass him on the sidewalk. The conversation has never advanced beyond a reluctant-sounding "Hello."

Louis promised me he's going to provide some photos of Ed --- and he's going to keep me (and other neighbors) up to date on the quiet man's situation.

Again, it would be great if you would subscribe to this blog and receive notices when I post an update or something new.

Thanks for reading this far. Give me any suggestions you may have.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A recluse with so many friends in his time of need.

(Updates will be in a new blog postings. Click on the blog title --Don Ray''s Friends etc.-- to navigate to newer postings)
Burbank Policer Officer Brent Fekety responed to the 911 call from Ed Lattner's neighbors this morning.
His house was on fire.
The nearby engine and rescue ambulance from Fire Station 15 were across town doing a training exercise, so it would take a couple of minutes longer for Engine 11 to arrive from Third and Orange Grove.

Officer Fekety went inside the burning house at 326 S. Griffith Park Ave. (just around the corner from our house) and pulled Ed from the flames -- but his clothes were still on fire.
Firefighters arrived moments later and found Ed breathing but suffering from burns. They rushed him to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center.
Neighbors gathered outside his house where his sofa, his melted TV and some other furniture were on the lawn --- not far from where the singed clothes they had cut off of him lay.
Everyone loves the elderly recluse --- even though he rarely spoke more than an obligatory "hello" when people would pass the slightly hunched-over, slim man in the same dark jacket when he would walk around the neighborhood.
He was always walking --- regardless of the weather.
And everyone knew where he lived. To strangers, the plain house in an upper-middle-class neighborhood seemed to be abandoned.
The lawn was always in need of water, a good mowing and edging. There were no plants outside, except a tree near the curb --- a tree that had unkempt bushes growing without maintenance.
There was no car in the driveway and nothing but some seemingly unused city trash containers in front of the detatched garage.
No signs of anyone living there.
At night, the place seemed to be completely dark --- nothing to see behind the always-drawn shades. If you stood on the sidewalk for a while at night, however, you could eventually distinguish a trace of light through the edge of a window -- a glow that looked different from the reflection of the street lights.
Neighbors say that his parents built the house back in the '30s and Ed has never lived anywhere else. His folks died quite a few years ago and Ed stayed in the house.
"He's always been a recluse," one neighbor told me.
They were trying to piece together his story. They say he has a half-brother living out of state --- far away. Word has it that he they tried to get Ed to go there, but Ed refused.
"If I go with you," a neighbor quoted him as saying, "you'll sell my house and take all my money."
As Fritz and I walked back home, I encountered the parking enforcement woman. The minute I told her that the house that burned belongs to the old man who is always out walking, she knew who I was talking about.
Everyone would see him on his daily and evening walks.
Everybody is fond of the old man in dark clothes who walks with his head down --- even though he believes he has no friends.
That can happen to recluses.