first_imgVALENCIA – Flames up to 80 feet high swept through the home of an accomplished violinist early Tuesday, severely burning the musician, his son and father just hours after the family hosted a huge holiday bash for friends and neighbors. Awakening to screams coming from the Valencia home, neighbors raced to help violinist David Ewart, his elderly parents and his three children escape from the burning home. All six escaped through a second-story window to a balcony and used a treehouse ladder to flee from the flames. “I heard screaming,” next-door neighbor Kim Altobello said. “I was already awake, getting ready for work, and I just heard Heather screaming and screaming. I said, call 911! I didn’t know what was happening.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake Ewart, 48; his children, Michael, 15, Jonathan, 13, and Heather, 11; and his parents – visiting from Oregon – Hugh, 81, a retired concertmaster, and Esther Ewart, 77, were in the Via Escovar home at the time of the fire. Ewart, his father and son Michael suffered serious injuries and were in local hospitals Tuesday. Los Angeles County Firefighter Steve Toledo said flames were as high as 80 feet when engines arrived. “The people were burned pretty bad,” he added. Fire investigators had not determined the cause of the blaze. Ewart, who has played with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and on soundtracks for movies such as “Spider-Man 2,” “The Notebook” and “Million Dollar Baby,” suffered second- and third-degree burns over 32 percent of his body, including both hands. He was on a respirator late Tuesday at Grossman Burn Center in Sherman Oaks and is scheduled for surgery Monday, hospital spokeswoman Debbie Groverman said. Friends are hoping he will recover to again play the violin. “My concern is for his hands,” family friend Leslie Garman said. “That’s his livelihood. … I was told he was conscious and walking around before they took him to the hospital, so that’s encouraging.” Garman said one of Ewart’s prized possessions – a violin crafted in the 1770s that he considered priceless – was destroyed in the fire. Ewart’s son Michael suffered burns over 40 percent of his body – second- and third-degree burns to his face, ears, neck, chest, back, left foot and both hands and arms. A first surgery is scheduled for Monday and, if that goes well, a second surgery will be performed Dec. 29, Groverman said. Hugh Ewart, concertmaster emeritus of the Portland Symphony, broke his nose after jumping from the balcony. He also suffered facial burns and was being monitored for a heart condition. He was scheduled to be transferred to the Grossman Burn Center by today. Ewart’s mother, who neighbors affectionately call ‘Grandma,’ stayed by her husband as paramedics treated him. “Her hair was singed, but she seemed OK,” Mann said. “She held his hand, kept him covered with a blanket.” The house was gutted and the contents destroyed, with damage estimated at $1.5 million, fire Inspector Ron Haralson said. Neighbors took the injured family members in as they awaited paramedics. “We said a prayer – they’re a very Christian family,” said Deborah Mann, who lives across the street from the Ewarts, and who cared for Ewart’s parents. “When we saw David, we told him we prayed for his family, that everyone would be OK.” Ewart’s children, who were visiting the home for the party, live with their mother, Ewart’s former wife. The violinist, whose stringed performances are featured on more than 800 recordings by artists ranging from Neil Diamond to Ricky Martin and Elvis Costello, holds a large Christmas party every year. Mann said the party was legendary in the Valencia neighborhood and that Ewart had pony rides for the children and a small petting zoo in his yard. Ewart also coaches the neighborhood swim team and youth baseball in the William S. Hart PONY Baseball and Softball League, where he’s on the board of directors, said neighbor Kathy Grimes. “He’s a totally involved father, really involved in all the kids’ activities,” Grimes said. As residents helped the Ewarts and evacuated others from nearby homes in case the fire spread, next-door neighbor Jon Delling, 20, used a garden hose to spray at flames shooting in the air. “I heard screaming. I thought it was a dream,” Delling said. “Then I woke up and it was real. We ran outside. People were running in the backyard, making sure everyone was out of the house.” Late Tuesday, about 100 members of Church of the Nazarene in Newhall, which Ewart and his children have attended for the past two years, gathered to pray for the family’s speedy recovery. “Every miracle in the Scripture was created by a problem,” the Rev. Greg Garman told the congregation. “We are here to knock on the door of heaven (to answer our prayers).” Patricia Farrell Aidem, (661) 257-5251 [email protected] HOW TO HELP A special account has been set up to help the Ewart family recover from Tuesday’s fire. Checks payable to the David Ewart Catastrophe Fund can be sent to Wells Fargo Bank, 25850 The Old Road, Stevenson Ranch, CA 91381. Checks must reference account number 8606155136. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img