Fullerton, CA Plane Crashes Into Apartment, Nov 1995


Fullerton, Calif. (AP) - The nightmare that residents of Malvern Avenue, a half-mile from the runway at Fullerton Municipal Airport, hoped would never happen came true on a foggy morning.
People were just waking up and getting ready for work when a small plane crashed into their apartment building as it tried to land Monday.
"I looked upstairs and there was this orange glow, and I just took off," resident Robert Corbin said.
The crash at 6:35 a.m. killed the pilot, MIKE BENSON, 40, of Big Bear, his passenger, LES AREHART, 46, of Big Bear; and SHARAN ERNST, a 43-year-old apartment resident who had been asleep in her bed.
"I thought it was the grace of God,"
said Rachel Schweiger, who lives in the building next door. "It could have been any one of us."
Fire swept through the four-unit building, sending residents fleeing from their apartments to the street in towels and blankets. A firefighter
was hospitalized with burns on his face.
Officials said it could take months to determine the cause of the crash.
Some people on the ground heard a
"pop" and the sound of a motor revving before they felt a jar like an earthquake and ran outside.
"I thought it was somebody mowing a lawn," neighbor Cindy Stuart said.
Neighbor Alan White feared he could have been one of the casualties.
"I think if I had been lying in bed,
I'd be gone," he said.

Daily Sitka Sentinel Alaska 1995-11-21