Tree onto Vehicle with Civilian Fatality

Thursday, March 31, 2005 |

On Wednesday, March 30, 2005, at 1026 hours, (10:26 a.m. P.S.T.), three companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Battalion Officer Command Team, one EMS Battalion Supervisor, one LAFD Rescue Ambulance, Heavy Rescue 56, and one Urban Search and Rescue Team, under the direction of Battalion Commander John Comerford, responded to the report of a tree onto a car near the intersection of North Mecca Avenue and North Reseda Boulevard in the Tarzana area.

First units on the scene reported that a pine tree, approximately 75’ in height had fallen onto a vehicle traveling southbound on Reseda Boulevard, crushing the vehicle and the sole occupant (the driver) inside.

The seventy-five year old male inside the vehicle was declared dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported.

The cause of the incident is under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Bureau of Street Services.

Multi-Patient Traffic Collision in Reseda

Wednesday, March 30, 2005 |

On Tuesday, March 29, 2005 at 1824 Hours (6:24 PM PST), three Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, seven LAFD Rescue Ambulances and two EMS Battalion Captains under the direction of 10th Battalion Commander Joseph Foley responded to a Multi-Patient Traffic Collision at the intersection of Lindley Avenue and Victory Boulevard in Reseda.

The first Company arrived quickly to discover a collision involving three passenger vehicles without entrapment. A forty-eight year-old woman and seven males, ranging from thirteen to seventy-six years of age, were promptly triaged, treated and transported to three area hospitals for non-life threatening injuries.

Los Angeles Police officials are investigating this collision.

Natural Gas Leak in North Hollywood

Tuesday, March 29, 2005 |

On Monday March 28, 2005 at 1104 Hours (11:04 AM PST), nine Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances under EMS Captain Gould, three Chief Officer Command Teams under the direction of Assistant Chief Anthony Varela, responded to Leaking Natural Gas at 11150 Burbank Boulevard at Bonner Avenue in North Hollywood.

The first in company arrived on scene to find an approximately 3” high-pressure gas main, rapidly spewing natural gas into the atmosphere after a back hoe struck it during construction operations being conducted by DWP.

After careful assessment of potential danger to the community, a decision was made to evacuate the surrounding area as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of residents and patrons in the City of Los Angeles. Approximately 15 total occupancies were evacuated.

The gas line was shut down at 1227 Hours (12:27 PM PST), residents and patrons were then allowed to return to their dwellings. Due to the quick work of the LAFD in conjunction with DWP, DOT and the Gas Company, no injuries were reported.

Civilian Fatality at Structure Fire in Van Nuys

Thursday, March 24, 2005 |

On Wednesday, March 23, 2005, at 0552 hours (5:52 a.m. P.S.T.), six companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Battalion Officer Command Team, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, and three teams of Arson Investigators, under the direction of Battalion Commander Joseph Foley, responded to a reported structure fire at 7560 North Woodman Place in the Van Nuys area.

First units on the scene reported a mobile home park with smoke and fire showing from one mobile home inside the park. Firefighters using handlines entered the 15’ x 35’ mobile home and aggressively attacked the fire in the front portion of the mobile home confining the fire to the front portion of the structure and extinguished the fire in seventeen minutes.

During the initial search and rescue phase of the incident, the body of a male in his fifties was discovered in a rear bedroom and was declared dead on the scene. No other injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is listed as under investigation. Fire damage is estimated at $50,000. ($40,000 structure and $10,000 contents).

Greater Alarm Structure Fire in the Coliseum area

Tuesday, March 22, 2005 |

On Tuesday, March 22, 2005 at 1823 Hours (6:23 PM PST), eight Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters and three LAFD Rescue Ambulances under the direction of Battalion Commander Michael Arguelles responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 1213 West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in the Coliseum area.

The first Company arrived quickly to discover heavy fire showing from the upper floor of a vacant two-story residential duplex. Firefighters used handlines to mount a brisk and decisive assault on the flames, confining the fire to the structure and extinguishing the flames in just 24 minutes.

There were no injuries.

Due to its advanced state of demolition or preparation for remodeling at the time of the fire, structural loss to the unfurnished wood-frame building was estimated to be only $15,000.

The cause of this blaze is attributed to a warming fire built within the structure by transients.

Greater Alarm Structure Fire in Venice

Sunday, March 20, 2005 |

On Sunday, March 20, 2005 at 0637 Hours (6:37 AM PST), thirteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one EMS Battalion Captain and three Chief Officer Command Teams under the direction of Battalion Commander Steven Coleman responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 1905 South Ocean Front Walk on the Venice Boardwalk.

The first Company arrived quickly to discover smoke showing from a well-secured 50’ X 100’ one-story commercial building.

Firefighters used power and hand tools to promptly force entry through rolling steel doors and security bars, and then extended handlines to battle fire which had extended from the south portion of the structure to the shared mezzanine of the nearly 2,000 square-foot conjoined pair of formerly separate retail occupancies.

Assisted by strategic and timely vertical ventilation, Firefighters prevented the flames from spreading to a pair of immediately adjacent two- and three-story apartment buildings. They confined the fire to the structure of origin and extinguished the flames in just twenty-six minutes.

There were no injuries.

Loss to “Fashions Miss USA”, a retailer of women’s clothing, is estimated at $500,000 ($300,000 structure and $200,000 contents). The cause of the blaze remains undetermined.

Greater Alarm Structure Fire in Sherman Oaks

Saturday, March 19, 2005 |

On Friday, March 18, 2005 at 2119 Hours (9:19 PM PST), eight Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one EMS Battalion Captain, and three Chief Officer Command Teams under the direction of Battalion Chief Joseph Foley responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 15228 Hartsook Street in Sherman Oaks.

The first Company arrived quickly to discover fire showing through the roof of a large two-story single-family residence.

Firefighters forced entry into the unoccupied 2,896 square-foot home and extended handlines to do battle with intense flames in a large upstairs walk-in closet.

The fire was confined to the closet area and extinguished in just nineteen minutes. The tall flames earlier believed to have pierced the roof, had broken only through an adjacent skylight, and were quickly contained with the rest of the blaze.

There were no injuries.

Displaced residents, who later arrived at the scene, chose to seek their own alternate accommodations. Loss from the fire is estimated at $150,000 ($100,000 structure and $50,000 contents).

Following an on-site investigation, the cause of this blaze remains categorized as undetermined.

Greater Alarm Structure Fire in Panorama City

Friday, March 18, 2005 |

On Thursday, March 17, 2005 at 1747 Hours (5:47 PM PST), ten Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one EMS Battalion Captain, three LAFD Chief Officer Command Teams and various LAFD support and investigative resources under the direction of Assistant Chief Anthony Varela, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 15012 Parthenia Street in Panorama City.

The first Company arrived quickly to discover large volumes of pressurized smoke showing from one end-unit of a two-story condominium over parking structure located deep within a large complex of identical buildings.

A teenage occupant, who was alerted to the fire by the smell of smoke, had safely evacuated with her one younger female and two younger male siblings prior to the Fire Department's arrival.

Firefighters quickly extended handlines to mount a brisk and decisive interior assault on the flames, which had taken hold of both floors and the attic of the difficult to access building.

Well-coordinated and aggressive firefighting efforts, aided by precise vertical ventilation, confined the fire to the condominium of origin, sparing the adjacent occupancy and nearby buildings.

The flames were extinguished in just thirty-one minutes. There were no injuries. Displaced by the fire was a family of six who chose to seek accommodations with next of kin.

Loss from the blaze is estimated at $380,0000 ($300,000 structure and $80,000 contents). The fire's origin was traced to the laundry area of the ground floor common garage. The exact cause of the fire remains under active investigation.

Helicopter Rescue of Child from the Arroyo Seco

Thursday, March 17, 2005 |

On Wednesday, March 16, 2005, at 1328 hours (1:28 p.m. PST), two companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Battalion Officer Command Team, two Helicopters, and one Brush Patrol, under the direction of Battalion Commander Douglas Graft, responded to a River Rescue near Avenue 45 and Arroyo Seco in the Lincoln Heights area.

The individual that had made the 911 call of a child in the wash met the first units on the scene. Stating that the child in his care had wandered into the wash approximately forty-five minutes prior to his activating the 911 system and was being swept down stream. Also, he stated that he had made several attempts to rescue the child but his attempts were unsuccessful.

Ground units supported by LAFD Helicopters immediately initiated a down stream search for the child. Approximately twenty to thirty minutes after the search had begun; the observation helicopter spotted the child floating down stream near Olympic Boulevard and the Los Angeles River.

Relaying this information to the second helicopter, a dangerous (high tension wires in the immediate area) but successful hoist operation was initiated and the child was expertly retrieved from the cold and murky waters in full cardiac arrest.

CPR was administered to the child immediately and transported to Children’s Hospital in very critical condition by LAFD helicopter. The staff at Children’s Hospital continued the CPR process and performed other life saving techniques for the child but they were unable to revive the two-year-old female.

No other injuries were reported and the Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the incident.

Civilian Fatality Structure Fire in South Los Angeles

Sunday, March 13, 2005 |

On Saturday, March 12, 2005, at 1937 hours (7:37 p.m. PST), four Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one LAFD Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, one LAFD Battalion EMS Supervisor, and three LAFD fire cause Investigators under the direction of Battalion Commander Michael Rhodes, responded to a Civilian Fatality Structure Fire at 855 East 103rd Place in South Los Angeles.

First units on scene reported a one-story, single family dwelling with smoke showing from the rear and reports of a person trapped inside. Firefighters utilized forcible entry tools to cut away a steel entry door and quickly entered the structure with handlines to battle flames in a back bedroom that was fully involved with fire.

During fire suppression and the initial search, the body of a seventy-one year old female was found inside the bedroom, brought out of the structure and declared dead at the scene.

The fire was extinguished in just fifteen minutes. No other injuries were reported.

Firefighters discovered a melted smoke alarm in the area of the bedroom but were unable to determine if it was functioning at the time of the fire. Fire damage is estimated at $25,000. ($20,000 structure and $5,000 contents). The cause of the fire is listed as under investigation.

River Rescue in the Northeast San Fernando Valley

Saturday, March 12, 2005 |

On Saturday, March 12, 2005, at 1839 hours (6:39 p.m. PST), eight companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Battalion Officer Command Teams, one Battalion EMS Supervisor, three LAFD Helicopters, and two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, under the direction of Battalion Commander Mark Saxelby, responded to a River Rescue near the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and the Pacoima Wash in the Sylmar area.

Informed by the San Fernando Police Department that one of their Officers had entered the Pacoima Wash in an attempt to rescue two boys ages ten and thirteen that were being swept down stream by a current of about fifteen miles per hour and approximately twelve inches deep, Firefighters immediately responded to the first known area of sighting and to a rescue point about two miles downstream.

During a search of the area by Fire Department Helicopters, the three victims were located near the rescue point at the 5 Freeway and the Pacoima Wash in the Pacoima area. Performing a hoist operation from the helicopter, Firefighters rescued one of the boys and using ground ladders and ropes, the San Fernando Police Officer and the other boy were rescued by Firefighters and brought to safety.

All three victims were suffering from hypothermia, cuts and abrasions. They were transported to local hospitals in good condition. No other injuries were reported.

The boys are reported to have slipped and fell into the wash during an attempt to carry their bicycles across the water near Foothill Boulevard.

Major Emergency Structure Fire in Westlake

Thursday, March 10, 2005 |

On Thursday, March 10, 2005 at 0156 Hours (1:56 AM PST), twenty-one Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one EMS Battalion Captain, four Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and various LAFD support units under the direction of Assistant Chief Michael Fulmis responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at 1414 West 7th Street in the Westlake area.

The first Company arrived quickly to discover large volumes of thick, dark smoke showing from one centrally located unit of four separate businesses within a 50’ x 120’ one-story commercial building.

Firefighters skillfully forced entry through rolling steel doors that sealed the full front of the 1920-era structure while their colleagues laddered the masonry and stucco building to strategically ventilate smoke and heat through the arched-truss roof.

These coordinated actions allowed additional Firefighters with handlines to mount an aggressive and well-coordinated attack on the fire, which had extended to the mezzanine and attic of the “98 Cent Store”, a discount retailer.

The fire was confined to this one business and extinguished in just 39 minutes. Spared from serious damage were an adjoining hair salon, check cashing firm and a substance abuse treatment center.

No injuries were reported.

Loss from the blaze is still being tabulated. The cause of this early morning fire remains under active investigation.


Greater Alarm Structure Fire in Playa del Rey

Tuesday, March 08, 2005 |

On Monday, March 07, 2005, at 1959 hours (7:59 p.m. P.S.T.), twelve companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Assistant Chief Officer Command Team, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one EMS Battalion Supervisor, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson unit, and other support personnel, under the direction of Assistant Chief Roxanne V. Bercik responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 127 Waterview Street in Playa del Rey.

First units on scene reported a large, tri-level, single-family dwelling with heavy smoke showing. Firefighters with handlines entered the structure and immediately encountered heavy smoke throughout the home. They were unable to immediately locate the source. Searching each level of the multi-level structure, the fire was finally located on the second level. On the second level, Firefighters were faced with limited access to the bedroom where the fire was located.

Entering the bedroom, Firefighters encountered extreme “pack rat” conditions with combustibles stacked from floor to ceiling throughout the room area with little or no space to maneuver to locate the seat of the fire. Working their way over, around, and digging through the heavy fire load, Firefighters located the seat of the fire and extinguished the flames in just forty-six minutes.

One female adult was home at the time of the fire and escaped without injury prior to the arrival of the Fire Department. During fire fighting operations, one Firefighter who suffered an ankle injury was treated on the scene and released for further evaluation. No other injuries were reported.

Fire damage is estimated at $300,000. ($100,000 contents and $200,000 structure). The cause of the fire is listed as under investigation.

Greater Alarm Structure Fire in Hancock Park

Friday, March 04, 2005 |

On Thursday, March 03, 2005, at 2130 hours, (9:30 p.m. P.S.T), fourteen companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Assistant Chief Officer Command Team, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one Battalion EMS Supervisor, the Tractor Company, one Arson Unit, and other support personnel, under the direction Assistant Chief John Ware, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 554 South Hobart Boulevard in the Hancock Park area.

First units on scene reported a two-story, “vacant”, 4-plex well involved with fire. Due to the large volume of fire confronting Firefighters upon their arrival, an interior fire attack was immediately called off and fire Firefighters took up a defensive position on the exterior of the building using heavy stream appliances to knock down the bulk of the fire.

The fire was confined to the structure and extinguished in just forty-five minutes. During a safety reconnaissance by Firefighters, it was noticed that the integrity of the building’s wall on one side had been compromised.

An Emergency Traffic alert was immediately issued to warn Firefighters of the imminent danger of a possible structure collapse. Shortly after the Emergency Traffic tones were sounded, a major portion of the structure collapsed.

No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is listed as under investigation.

Physical Rescue of Stranded Highrise Painters

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On Thursday, March 03, 2005, at 0718 hours (7:18 a.m. PST), seven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, one Battalion EMS Supervisor, two Urban Search and Rescue Teams, and two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, under the direction of Battalion Commander Daryl Arbuthnott, responded to a physical rescue of stranded highrise painters at 606 South Hill Street in the Central City area.

First units on scene reported two painters clinging to individual safety lines on the side of a twelve-story commercial building, “Western Jewelry Mart”, approximately ten stories up from ground level.

Apparently the platform being used by the workers malfunctioned and collapsed causing the two workers to be tossed off the platform and be supported only by their attached safety ropes and harnesses.

Firefighters and Paramedics quickly set up ground rescue cushions to break the fall of the painters in case their safety equipment failed. On the tenth floor adjacent to where the workers were suspended by their safety equipment, Firefighters removed a window and secured by a harness and safety ropes, reached out of the window and captured each worker bringing them safely into the building.

The men, ages thirty-five and fifty-seven were transported to Good Samaritan Hospital for evaluation. The cause of the incident is under investigation by Cal OSHA.

Greater Alarm Fire in Central City Highrise

Tuesday, March 01, 2005 |

On Monday, February 28, 2005 at 1502 Hours (3:02 PM PST), thirteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, two EMS Captains and three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams under the direction of Assistant Chief Michael Fulmis responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 548 South Spring Street in the Central City.

The first Company arrived quickly to report smoke showing from the third floor of the twelve-story Valuta Building, a commercial structure being actively converted to loft-style residential units.

Firefighters first secured the lobby and elevators of the 23,116 square foot building, and then briskly ascended stairs to discover one third-floor room on the northeast corner of the pre-World War I building well involved with fire.

Firefighters using handlines expertly confined the fire to the room of origin and extinguished the flames in just 21 minutes. There were no injuries to Firefighters or workers who self-evacuated the vacant building.

Because fire damage was limited to structural elements undergoing demolition, no monetary loss estimate was established. The cause of the fire is categorized as accidental and is attributed to a welder’s torch.