Woman, nephew, dog found dead in rubble of ammunition-fueled fire at Sylmar home

A 68-year-old homeowner, her nephew, and a dog were found dead Sunday in the rubble of an ammunition-fueled fire that tore through a San Fernando Valley property, according to authorities. 

The fire broke out around 4:42 a.m. at a one-story home on the 13700 block of North Glenoaks Boulevard in Sylmar, then spread to two back houses, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. 

At the scene, police officers and witnesses heard gunfire erupting from the home, as well as ammunition being "cooked off" continuously from the heat. 

"In the beginning, it sounded like ‘pow pow pow pow,’" said neighbor Larry Hernandez. "It stopped and then again, ‘pow pow pow pow pow,’ as if somebody was reloading the gun, the rifle, whatever. And, then again, three times, ‘pow pow pow pow pow.’"

Another neighbor, Eddie Cabrera said "I thought somebody was shooting at somebody."

LAFD Fire Captain Erik Scott said that neighbors warned 911 dispatchers about who lived at the home saying, "that they were concerned about this house and about this individual that they said had guns. So that allowed us to get more situational awareness and then to have a more defensive posture to ensure safety for us." 

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Crews put out the flames just before 6 a.m., and once the rest of the ammunition went off, firefighters and police were able to get into the home. Going through the rubble, officials found a dead dog and two people — believed to be a man of undetermined age and a woman — dead.

On Monday, authorities identified one of the deceased as Phyllis Ann Patterson. Investigators said her body was found floating in the pool and it appears she was shot to death. 

In addition, officials told FOX 11's Gigi Graciette that Patterson's nephew, a reported self-proclaimed Neo-Nazi, was found with a weapon next to him.

"This residence is very large," said Elaine Morales with the Los Angeles Police Department. "In the front part of the residence is a male, burned extensively, and laying next to that individual is an assault weapon." 

Morales went on to explain that Patterson was found face down in the pool on the property. The Metropolitan Division Dive Team responded to take her out of the pool.

Police also found weapons — a lot of weapons.

"It's a combination of pistols and rifles," Morales said. "Approximately 14. There may be more."

Police also said they found thousands of rounds of ammo and "what was believed to be a ballistic ordinance," which the bomb squad insured was made safe. 

LAPD Lieutenant Guy Golan responded to the scene. He said officers also found several paintings in the home, including one which showed what "appeared to be an unknown male in like a straight up Nazi SS uniform, like right out of World War II," and some other objects which he said may show "he probably either had a lot of reverence for the Nazi movement or was involved in some sort of white supremacy himself."

Neighbors described the man who lived at the home as usually wearing military fatigues. Joe Eddie Trujillo said he knew of the weapons because "he told me he had a bunch of weapons in there. Rifles, guns everything."

Jordan Turner and Bri Simon said they were concerned about the man next door.

"It's scary," Turner said. "It's definitely scary."

Simons said she'd "heard from multiple people that he's mentioned multiple times like harming other people," adding that she was a little scared of him.

Meanwhile, police are still investigating the cause of the fire, and said this was an isolated incident and that there is no threat to the public.