The owner of the home that became engulfed in flames after Anne Heche's recent car crash is speaking out.
Jennifer Durand — the owner of the Mar Vista house that Heche, 53, crashed into last week — tells PEOPLE that she initially learned about the incident through the home's current tenant, Lynne Mishele.
"Lynne called me and asked me if I was sitting down, and then told me a car had crashed through the home and it was on fire," recalls Durand, who has owned the house for 24 years. "She could barely speak so it took a few minutes to really understand what was happening."
"When I arrived, we hugged and cried a lot. In that moment, I was just so relieved and grateful that she and her animals had survived this," Durand continues. "Nothing could have prepared me for what the house looked like."
Noting that the residence was her "first", Durand says of her current tenant, "Lynne has made it her home … there are a lot of memories there, and it is just gone."
"The firefighters helped us sift through it — I can't accurately describe how that feels," she adds. "Every firefighter and officer that I spoke with were incredibly kind and helped in every way they could. They spent so much time with us, explaining everything and helping search for things. I am especially grateful for their response."
Mishele was on the property of her small home when Heche crashed her car into the Los Angeles residence on Friday, causing it to catch fire.
In a statement to PEOPLE, her lawyer said of the incident: "Ms. Mishele is devastated by what happened to her on Friday — not only because she and her pets almost lost their lives, but because all of her property, including items of profound sentimental value, were destroyed. She asks for privacy at this incredibly difficult time."
Michael Bezjian/Getty for Mammoth Media Institute; Marissa Charles
Mishele's neighbor, Lynne Bernstein, previously told PEOPLE that Mishele "was extremely fortunate" to survive the accident with no injuries. "So were the dogs and her turtle," Bernstein added of Mishele's pets.
According to Bernstein, Heche's vehicle drove "almost all the way through" the house and "almost immediately" caught fire. The Los Angeles Fire Department told PEOPLE that the accident caused "structural compromise" and "heavy fire" to the one-story home.
Bernstein added that Mishele "was in shock" before she even noticed the vehicle, as she saw him and two other neighbors inside her house trying to help everyone get out safely. "I don't think she got what was going on. She said, 'What happened? What happened?' " he recalled.
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Heche's condition has not improved in the days following the crash, a representative for the star told PEOPLE on Monday.
Noting that Heche is now in "critical condition" at the hospital, the rep said, "She has a significant pulmonary injury requiring mechanical ventilation and burns that require surgical intervention. She is in a coma and has not regained consciousness since shortly after the accident."
Her hospitalization comes after witnesses told TMZ that Heche first crashed into a garage of an apartment complex. She reportedly managed to reverse and drive off before crashing into Mishele's home nearby.
At this time, Los Angeles authorities are still investigating the incident.
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Durand, as well as her husband John, have since set up a GoFundMe to help Mishele cover the loss of "the place she loves" and most of her belongings.
"Lynne lives with her beautiful pups Bree and Rueban, and tortoise Marley in the Mar Vista home that was destroyed this week by a car driving into the home at a high rate of speed, catching the house on fire," the Durands wrote on the campaign. "Lynne and her family very narrowly escaped physical harm, and for that we are very, very grateful."
They noted that the Los Angeles Fire Department "immediately red-tagged" the house and Mishele lost an "entire lifetime of possessions, mementos, all equipment for her business including her laptop and iPad, all of her clothing and basic necessities, and all household items."
"With firefighters' help, she was able to pull a few damaged sentimental belongings from the wreckage. Everything else is gone," they added.
"A kind and generous person, Lynne is always first to offer help to others," they wrote. "Today we are asking the community to come together and help Lynne start over."