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Navigating the road to recovery

Woman and her live-in caretaker are trying to reclaim their property, including medication, after a fire last week.

August 22, 2009|By Christopher Cadelago

BURBANK — For Lauri Michele Feigenbaum-Pettengill, whose list of maladies and the medications to cure them stretches almost as long as the letters in her name, the past week has been nothing short of horrendous, the 46-year-old said.

Feigenbaum-Pettengill, along with her 26-year-old live-in caretaker, Todd Pulling, saw their apartment go up in flames last week, killing their rescued dogs Scooby and Shaggy and setting off a weeklong standoff with the landlord.

The Burbank Fire Department responded to the small fire at 8:21 p.m. Aug. 13, knocking down the fire and clearing the scene within two hours, according to the initial report. An investigation reveals that the fire began inside a kitchen trash can, where Feigenbaum-Pettengill said she dumped fully extinguished, cold coals.


Damage was estimated at $30,000 to the apartment, $100,000 to the building.

Property managers had the front door and windows, which were destroyed in the fire, boarded, and put the couple up for the night at the Holiday Inn. The pair grabbed a few personal items from the apartment before it was sealed and was cleared to return the night of the fire, said Burbank Fire Capt. John Nare.

“It was an accidental fire,” he said. “I feel bad about the situation, and spent some time on their behalf talking to management.”

But property managers refused, said Feigenbaum-Pettengill, who is not on the lease.

“All of this happened so fast. They told us we were too hysterical that night because of the dogs, to calm down,” she said. “There’s 15 different medications in there, for everything from blood pressure to antibiotic creams to something for my chemical imbalance.”

Feigenbaum-Pettengill said she recently shed 400 pounds, rolling up sleeves to reveal large winding scars, which she said were from a recent automobile accident.

In the 400 block of North Pass Avenue, the apartment is part of Avalon at Media Center, whose representatives on several occasions denied requests for interviews.

Officials would neither confirm nor deny whether the pair had paid its rent through August and whether they’ll get a pro-rated return. Pulling maintains that they’ve paid and are being treated poorly.

The duo, who work a laundry list of part-time jobs, including hairdressing, personal training, video editing and post production, also have important court records and legal documents that Feigenbaum-Pettengill said she needs to prolong her health care.

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