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,
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department
LAFD Website: http://www.lafd.org