On Friday, October 21, 2005 at 11:55 PM (PDT), nine Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 3 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one EMS Battalion Captain and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team under the direction of Assistant Chief John Ware responded to a Fire Investigation with Firefighter Injury at 6855 West Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood.
During the investigation of light smoke on the 4th floor of a five story office building, Captain Eric J. Greene, a 28 year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department sustained a severe electric shock while traversing an LAFD aerial ladder being operated near high-voltage power lines.
Captain Greene, age 52, was pulseless and non-breathing when removed from the ladder by fellow Firefighters.
Firefighters promptly defibrillated their injured colleague, providing immediate basic and advanced life support measures during emergency transport to nearby Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center.
Early Saturday, October 22, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined Fire Chief William Bamattre in visiting with Captain Greene's family and fellow Firefighters at the hospital.
That evening, Captain Greene was transferred to the Grossman Burn Center at Sherman Oaks Hospital.
A Monday, October 24 morning announcement that Captain Greene was no longer on a respirator, and the later statement by Burn Center Founder and Medical Director Dr. Richard Grossman, that he was "awake, alert and talking", brought great relief to the many family members and off-duty Firefighters who kept vigil at the world renowned burn care facility.
According to Dr. Grossman,“Captain Greene underwent debridement surgery [which is the removal of dead tissue] and a homograft procedure [which is the use of cadaver skin to act as a biological dressing] to both right and left hands” on Tuesday morning.
A Tuesday, October 25, afternoon statement from the Grossman Burn Center indicating that the "surgery went well and (the) patient is resting comfortably" and further elaborating that Captain Greene "continues to be listed in stable condition" and "is expected to make a complete recovery" was warmly received by the injured Captain's colleagues.
A press conference took place on the morning of Thursday, October 27, at the Grossman Burn Center, with yet another surgical procedure for Captain Greene the following morning.
Captain Greene was released from the Grossman Burn Center on Saturday, October 29. He is now resting at home.
Captain Greene continues to be surrounded by family, friends and fellow Firefighters. His grateful family has expressed a wish for privacy, and do not have a public statement to offer at this time.
The source of smoke that spurred the initial fire investigation was determined to be an electrical panel on the roof of the building. The precise cause of the small fire has not yet been determined.
As a result of this incident and in accordance with Los Angeles Fire Department protocol, Fire Chief William Bamattre has assembled a multi-disciplinary "Significant Incident Investigation Team" (SIIT).
Comprised of LAFD members with specialized training, investigative and analytical skills, the SIIT has not announced a date for the formal release of its findings.
The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department are deeply thankful for the outpouring of public and Fire Service support for Captain Greene and his family. They also remain profoundly indebted to all of the nurses, physicians and hospital staff who have rendered superb care to Captain Greene and solace to his family and fellow Firefighters.
In response to numerous inquiries, Eric's family has politely suggested that in lieu of flowers, concerned persons consider a donation to FireFighters Quest For Burn Survivors.
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Submitted by Ron Myers, Jim Wells and Brian Humphrey, Spokesmen
Los Angeles Fire Department