- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 9, 2007

MALIBU, Calif. (AP) — Suzanne Somers’ home was one of four destroyed by a wind-driven wildfire that swept through an exclusive seaside neighborhood of multimillion-dollar homes.

Four other houses were significantly damaged Monday. One resident who was not identified was hospitalized for treatment of smoke inhalation.

“My nature is to look at the glass half-full,” Mrs. Somers said yesterday. “I truly believe we will learn something great from this experience.”

The 60-year-old actress and her husband, former game-show host Alan Hamel, were out of town when the fire hit, and a Hamel spokesman said the home was a total loss. Mrs. Somers is best-known for playing a ditsy blonde on the 1970s sitcom “Three’s Company.”

The burned properties were still smoldering yesterday, and about 150 firefighters and arson investigators were on the scene.

The blaze had been fanned by Santa Ana winds as it raced through the celebrity enclave near Pepperdine University. “Red flag” fire-danger warnings posted by the National Weather Service remained in effect for much of Southern California because of the strong wind and low humidity.

“I think they did a great job, the fire people. What can you do? It’s terrible,” said lawyer George Roland, who also lost his home. Not much remained there beyond a few trees and a pink front gate.

Fire officials didn’t identify the owners of the other destroyed houses, but actress Victoria Principal was among those who rushed out to hose down their homes after the fire was reported about 5 p.m. Monday.

Miss Principal’s publicist, Alan Nierob, said her home wasn’t damaged. “She covered her house with water,” he said.

The blaze burned near the Malibu Colony, one of the area’s original beachfront neighborhoods, dating to the 1930s. The densely built stretch of luxury homes has been a favorite of celebrities over the years.

“Right now, we cannot speculate about how this happened,” Inspector Rick Dominguez said.

Residents of Malibu include Mel Gibson, Pierce Brosnan, Pamela Anderson, Barbra Streisand, Ted Danson, David Geffen and Courteney Cox Arquette.

Malibu has frequently been the scene of devastating fires. In 1993, hundreds of homes were lost and three persons were killed. A 1996 fire injured 11 persons and destroyed six homes.

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