Christmas Tree Fire Displaces Family

Friday, December 31, 2004 |

On Friday, December 31, 2004 at 1137 Hours (11:37 AM PST), five Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters and two LAFD Rescue Ambulances under the direction of 3rd Battalion Commander Michael Arguelles responded to a Structure Fire at 1818 South Wilton Place in Los Angeles.

The first Company arrived quickly to discover one unit of a two-story residential fourplex well involved with fire. Firefighters using handlines made a swift assault on the fire, confining the fire to a second-floor living room and extinguishing the flames in just 12 minutes.

There were no injuries.

The resident family of four however, including a teenage boy and girl were displaced by the fire and referred to the American Red Cross for placement assistance. Monetary loss from the fire is estimated at $40,000 ($20,000 structure & $20,000 contents).

The home’s Christmas Tree was determined to be the point of fire origin. The cause of the blaze is directly attributed to the careless, improper and unsupervised use of a candle by the teenage boy.




Dear Friend of the LAFD:

To view some truly compelling video of how fast your Christmas Tree can burn - and how little time you and your family have to escape alive, please click here.

The LAFD and City Bureau of Sanitation are asking Los Angeles residents to prevent such fires by removing and recycling live Christmas Trees today. Nationwide, Christmas Trees are involved in about 300 fires annually, resulting in 10 deaths, 30 injuries and an average of about $10 million in property damage and loss. In addition, candle-related fires each year result in 140 deaths and $205 million in property loss.

New data from the National Fire Protection Association shows that candles are becoming an increasingly prevalent cause of home fires. Candles started fires in 18,000 homes in 2001, a 15 percent rise from 2000, and more than triple the number in 1990.

...and since we're speaking frankly about Holiday Safety, the men and women of the LAFD ask you to consider safe party guidelines from our friends at MADD, and join us in applauding the Automobile Club of Southern California, which is again offering a free Tipsy-Tow on New Year's Eve.

On behalf of all of us at the Los Angeles Fire Department, please have a Safe and Joyous New Year!

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Firefighter/Specialist
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Website: http://www.lafd.org

GREATER ALARM STRUCTURE FIRE #0141

Tuesday, December 28, 2004 |

On Tuesday, December 28, 2004 at 0332 Hours (3:32 AM PST), eleven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one EMS Battalion Captain and four Chief Officer Command Teams, all under the direction of 14th Battalion Commander Evan Williams responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 10600½ West Ventura Boulevard in Studio City.

The first Company arrived quickly to find fire showing from one of five businesses in a 150’ x 25’ L-shaped mini mall.
Firefighters briskly extended handlines to do battle with heavy fire in the attic of a hamburger restaurant that was open for business in the early morning hours.

Thanks to precise and timely vertical ventilation by LAFD Truck Companies, horizontal fire spread was severely limited and the bulk of the blaze was readily confined by handlines within the attic of “Fatburger”. The fire was fully extinguished in just 20 minutes and there were no injuries.

Total fire loss is estimated at $300,000 ($200,000 structure & $100,000 contents). The cause of this early-morning blaze is categorized as electrical, with the point of origin in the building’s common attic.

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GREATER ALARM STRUCTURE FIRE #1159

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On Monday, December 27, 2004 at 2338 Hours (11:38 PM PST), fifteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one EMS Battalion Captain, four Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and various LAFD support and investigative units, all under the direction of Assistant Chief Greg West responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 8708 West Pico Boulevard in the Pico-Robertson area.

The first Companies arrived quickly to find fire showing from the arched roof of a 60’ x 100’ one-story market. Firefighters forced entry into the closed business and did battle with intense flames within the seventy-plus year-old building as the structure began to compromise.

A methodical and well-coordinated transition was made to defensive tactics with master streams as a large billboard on the northeast corner of the building collapsed into the structure, taking a large portion of the roof with it, and fanning flames. The diligent efforts of Firefighters, combined with the modern fire safe construction of two adjacent buildings to the west, prevented the fire’s spread beyond the walls of the now destroyed market.

During this assault on the fire, one Firefighter sustained a ground-level fall, injuring his ankle. He was transported to Midway Hospital in good condition. No other injuries were reported.

Despite the voracity of the flames, they were confined to the heavily damaged Kosher food store, and extinguished in just 96 minutes. Fire loss to “Glatt Mart” is still being tabulated. The cause of this early morning blaze remains categorized as under active investigation.

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GREATER ALARM STRUCTURE FIRE #0940

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On Monday, December 27, 2004 at 1916 Hours (7:16 PM PST), fifteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one LAFD EMS Battalion Captain, two Companies and one Battalion Chief from the Los Angeles County Fire Department and three LAFD Chief Officer Command Teams, all under the direction of LAFD Assistant Chief Roderick Garcia responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 4715 North Nomad Drive in Tarzana.

The first Companies arrived quickly during an intense wind and rainstorm to discover massive fire showing from the upper floor of a 5,000 square foot two-story single-family hillside home.

Firefighters entered the residence with handlines to make a bold offense against the well-entrenched and blossoming fire. More than ten minutes into their battle, a sudden shift in the flames drove Firefighters to their knees, at which time one Los Angeles Firefighter sustained serious burn injuries to his hands, knees and torso. The eighteen-year LAFD veteran was transported to the Grossman Burn Center at Sherman Oaks Community Hospital, where he was admitted in fair condition for the painful though non-life-threatening injuries.

A well-coordinated transition was made to defensive operations as upstairs portions of the structure began to fail within 20 minutes of Firefighters arrival. Following the strategic application of a defensive heavy stream, Firefighters again entered the home to confine the flames to upper floor and attic of the wood-frame and stucco building. Stalwart efforts were also made to protect and salvage the family’s first floor belongings.

Firefighters again entered the home to confine the flames to upper floor and attic of the wood-frame and stucco building. Extensive efforts were made to protect and salvage the families first floor belongings. The fire was fully extinguished in less than 50 minutes.

The teenage male and adult male residents, who had reportedly left the home briefly unattended, were uninjured. Loss from the fire is estimated at $600,000 ($450,000 structure & $150,000 contents). The cause of this blaze is categorized as accidental and attributed to the careless use of candles.

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12-26-2004 MULTI-PATIENT TRAFFIC COLLISION #0561

Sunday, December 26, 2004 |

On Sunday, December 26, 2004 at 1404 Hours, four companies of Firefighters, six Rescue Ambulances and two EMS Battalion Captains under the direction of Battalion Commander Richard F. Markota responded to a multi-patient traffic collision at Vanowen Street and De Celis Place in the Reseda area.

First units on scene reported a two-vehicle collision involving five patients. Rapid triage and assessment revealed four female patients, two that are twenty-one years old and two that are twenty-four years old and a fifty-one year old male suffered serious injuries. All were transported to Northridge Hospital and Tarzana Regional Medical Center.

LAPD Valley Traffic Division will investigate the cause of the collision.

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12-26-2004 LAFD Greater Alarm Structure Fire #0172

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GREATER ALARM STRUCTURE FIRE:

On Sunday, December 26, 2004 at 0440 Hours (4:40 AM) eleven companies of Firefighters, four Battalion Officer Command Teams, four Rescue Ambulances, two EMS Battalion Captains and one Hazardous Materials Squad under the direction of Division Commander John Ware responded to a greater alarm structure fire at 221 N. Avenue 52 in the Highland Park area.

First units on scene reported a two-story apartment building with fire showing. Firefighters using handlines confined the fire to the unit of origin and extinguished the fire in twenty-three minutes.

During firefighting operations a nineteen-year old male was rescued from the burning apartment and was subsequently transported to Huntington Memorial Hospital in very critical condition with second and third degree burns over fifty percent of his body. An adult male was treated for a cut hand and released at the scene. No Firefighter injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire was determined to be combustibles too close to a portable space heater and the loss was estimated at $150,000. ($125,000 to structure and $25,000 to contents).

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12-20-2004 LAFD Greater Alarm Structure Fire #0968

Tuesday, December 21, 2004 |

GREATER ALARM STRUCTURE FIRE:

On Monday, December 20, 2004 at 2014 Hours (8:14 PM PST), nine
Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one
EMS Battalion Captain, two LAFD Chief Officer Command Teams and a cadre
of LAFD Fire Cause Investigators under the direction of 17th Battalion
Commander Joseph Castro responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at
20050 West Vanowen Street in Canoga Park.

Firefighters arrived quickly on the southeast corner of Vanowen Street
and Winnetka Avenue to discover heavy fire and thick smoke emanating
from one unit within a one-story strip mall.

Firefighters using both firefighting handlines and ventilation in a
strategic fashion kept the fire from spreading to adjacent businesses,
but not before the intense heat and flames had caused obvious structural
compromise to the roof of the building.

Less than 22 minutes after the fire was reported, the flames were
extinguished within the unnamed full-service ethnic market and
delicatessen, with only slight collateral smoke and heat damage to
adjacent firms.

There were no injuries.

Fire loss is estimated at $130,000 ($100,000 structure & $30,000
contents), while the cause of this fire is categorized as electrical.

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12-20-2004 LAFD Civilian Fatality Structure Fire #0165

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CIVILIAN FATALITY STRUCTURE FIRE:

On Monday, December 20, 2004 at 0545 Hours (5:45 AM PST), four
Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one
EMS Battalion Captain and a cadre of LAFD Fire Cause Investigators under
the direction of 13th Battalion Commander Kwame Cooper responded to a
Civilian Fatality Structure Fire at 114 East 75th Street in South Los
Angeles.

The first Engine Company arrived quickly to discover thick smoke and
heavy fire showing from a small residential duplex. Firefighters
extended handlines to the home, located at the rear of the property and
using power tools, made quick work of breeching a
double-key-locked-with-key-removed steel security screen door and
non-code compliant window bars that trapped the home's sole adult male
occupant.

Immediately entering the inferno, Firefighters were able to find and
remove the 69 year-old physically impaired man from the floor of a
flaming interior hallway. Despite the quick response, skilfull rescue
and immediate medical care, the badly burned man died within hours of
his arrival at King/Drew Medical Center in Willowbrook. Firefighters
confined the fire to the structure and extinguished the flames in just
14 minutes. No other injuries were reported.

Monetary loss from the fire is still being tabulated. Along with the
double-locked front security screen door, Investigators discovered a
rear door of the home to be nailed shut and similarly secured, limiting
egress. There was no evidence of a functional Smoke Alarm within the
residence. The cause of this tragic blaze is attributed to careless
smoking.

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12-20-2004 LAFD Greater Alarm Structure Fire #0928

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GREATER ALARM STRUCTURE FIRE:

On Monday, December 20, 2004 at 1928 Hours (7:28 PM PST), nine
Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one LAFD Rescue Ambulance, one
EMS Battalion Captain, one Company of Los Angeles County Firefighters,
as well as two LAFD Battalion Officer Command Teams and a cadre of LAFD
Investigators, all under the command of LAFD Assistant Chief Roderick
Garcia responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 6834 West Quinton
Lane in Tujunga.

The first Company arrived quickly to reports of persons trapped or
missing in the 800 square-foot one story wood-frame and wood-sided
single-family home, which was fully ablaze threatening structures to the
north, south and east.

Firefighters made a swift offense against the fire, with repeated
searches of the home and basement, which determined no persons to be
trapped or injured by the flames. The stubborn fire was confined to the
structure of origin, and fully extinguished within an hour.

No injuries were reported.

Four residents were displaced by the blaze and will seek their own
accommodations. Loss from the fire is estimated at $95,000 ($80,000
structure & $15,000 contents). The cause of this blaze is listed as
incendiary.

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12-20-2004 LAFD Greater Alarm Structure Fire #0287

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GREATER ALARM STRUCTURE FIRE:

On Monday, December 20, 2004 at 0846 Hours (8:46 AM PST), ten Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one EMS Battalion Captain, two Companies and two Battalion Chiefs from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, as well as two LAFD Battalion Officer Command Teams, all under the command of LAFD Assistant Chief Douglas Barry responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 5331South Chesley Avenue in Southwest Los Angeles.

The first Company of Firefighters, led by a huge plume of dark smoke, navigated a series of residential streets to discover heavy fire showing from a cluster of garages to the rear of single-family homes.

Firefighters made a quick offense with handlines to stem the spread of the swift-moving fire, which had consumed one garage and threatened similar structures to the west, north and south. Firefighters confined the fire to the garage of origin, with slight radiant heat and fire damage to the five adjacent buildings. The flames were extinguished in just 26 minutes and no injuries were reported.

Contained in the garage of fire origin was what witnesses described a "classic" Cadillac El Dorado convertible. Both the building and the vehicle were destroyed by the blaze.

Fire loss is estimated at $100,000 ($80,000 structure & $20,000 contents), while the cause of this fire is attributed to careless smoking.

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