Neighbours of the Los Angeles woman whose house was destroyed when actor Anne Heche crashed her car into the building on Friday morning said she “was extremely fortunate” to survive the destruction.
In an interview with People magazine, Lynne Mishele’s neighbour, Lynne Bernstein, said Mischele miraculously survived the crash and subsequent house fire with no injuries.
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Heche has been hospitalized since the incident and suffered burns to parts of her body. A representative for the Daytime Emmy Award winner said that Heche is “currently in stable condition.”
Mischele, her two dogs and pet tortoise all survived the crash, the neighbour claimed. Bernstein told the outlet Mischele was in another area of the small home during the accident.
Bernstein, who witnessed the crash, said Heche, 53, drove a blue Mini Cooper “almost all the way through” the small home. He claimed the vehicle caught fire “almost immediately.”
The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) responded to the incident shortly before 11 a.m. on Friday. In a statement, the department said it took 59 firefighters about 65 minutes to extinguish the “stubborn flames.”
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The LFAD said the accident caused “structural compromise” and “heavy fire” to the single-storey residence.
The owners of the destroyed home, John and Jennifer Durand, have since launched a GoFundMe page to “help Lynne start over.”
The Durands wrote the property was “immediately red-tagged by the LAFD,” meaning Mischele was required to evacuate “the place she loves.”
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“Lynne lost her entire lifetime of possessions, mementos, all equipment for her business including her laptop and iPad, all of her clothing and basic necessities, and all household items,” the couple wrote on the GoFundMe page. “With firefighters’ help, she was able to pull a few damaged sentimental belongings from the wreckage. Everything else is gone.”
The Durands called Mischele “a kind and generous person.” They did not mention Heche by name on the GoFundMe page.
As of this writing, more than US$63,000 of the $100,000 goal has been fulfilled.
According to celebrity news website TMZ, Heche had earlier crashed into the garage of another apartment building nearby before fleeing the scene. Shortly afterward, she crashed into Mischele’s home.
Television news video showed a blue Mini Cooper Clubman, badly damaged and burned, being towed out of the home, with a woman sitting up on a stretcher and struggling as firefighters put her in an ambulance.
No other injuries were reported, and no arrests have been made. Police detectives are investigating.
A native of Ohio, Heche first came to prominence on the NBC soap opera Another World from 1987 to 1991. She won a Daytime Emmy Award for the role.
— With files from The Associated Press
An earlier version of this article said Mischele had a pet turtle when it was in fact a tortoise. We have made the correction.
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