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The Malibu/Lost Hills sheriff's station said Lake was trying to refuel a portable heater when a couch caught fire. She and her two sons, ages 9 and 13, evacuated quickly and were standing outside the rented home when the first fire truck rolled up.
The home had flames shooting from the roof as the first firefighters arrived at 7:28 a.m. They ran hoses down from the highway onto the beach and sprayed water up into the structure's burning wooden piers, according to eyewitnesses.
Flames rose 30 feet on the air as the attic and roof burned, and firefighters used power tools to cut into gates at adjacent houses to protect them. The fire was declared, "knocked down" at 7:51 a.m.
Lake first rose to fame in the movie "Hairspray," and had roles in several movies before starting a syndicated daytime talk show. She ended that program in 2005 to spend time with her kids.