Electrical Short Causes $35,000 Damage in Venice

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 |

On Wednesday, November 30, 2005, at 4:20 PM PST, ten companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Santa Monica engine, one Assistant Chief Officer Command Team, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one Battalion EMS Captain, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, and one Arson Unit, under the direction of Assistant Chief Ralph Terrazas, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 503 South Ocean Front Walk in the Venice area.

503 Ocean Front Walk following extinguishment. Photo by John Gregory LAFirephotos.com - Click for more photos
First units on the scene reported a three-story center hallway apartment with smoke showing from the third floor.

During the initial investigation phase of the incident, Firefighters were unable to immediately ascertain the source of the smoke.

To locate the source, Firefighters opened vertical walls, pulled ceilings, used a Thermal Imaging Camera and cut an exploratory hole in the roof. It was during the roof operation that Firefighter discovered a fire burning in the attic.

Using handlines, Firefighter aggressively attacked the fire and extinguished it in thirty-seven minutes.

As a result of the fire forty-eight residents of the building were displaced. The American Red Cross was requested to assist with temporary placement of the occupants.

The cause of the fire is listed as an electrical short from a steam table.

No injuries were reported and fire damage is estimated at $35,000 ($30,000 structure and $5,000 contents)

Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Suspicious Fire Held in Check By Sprinkler System

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 |

On Tuesday, November 29,2005 at 2:19 PM (PST), nine Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Hazardous Materials Squad, one EMS Battalion Captain, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, under the direction of Battalion Chief Jay Turner responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 122 East 7th Street in the Central City/Fashion District.

First units on the scene reported a twelve-story textile building with light smoke showing from the fourth floor.

Initiating the High Rise Incident Command System, arriving fire companies were immediately assigned duties to commence fire attack and other High Rise fire related operations.

After arriving on the fourth floor via an interior stairway and an exterior fire escape, Firefighters hoisted handlines up to the involved floor using drop bags. Entering the involved portion of the floor, Firefighters immediately encountered heavy smoke but no flames.

Hearing sprinklers discharging, Firefighters were able to ascertain to some degree that the fire was being held in check by the building's Sprinkler System.

Using handlines brought aloft by Firefighters via the stairwell and drop bags, Firefighters aggressively attacked the fire and confined the fire to several piles of rubbish and extinguished the fire in twenty-two minutes.

Further investigation by Firefighters revealed that the fire floor was "vacant".

As a safety precaution during fire containment and control, seventeen occupants were safely evacuated by Firefighters while others were sheltered in placed and others had self-evacuated prior to the arrival of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Because the floor was vacant, no structure or content damage was assessed.

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

Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

The LAFD: Nothing But a Bunch of Blockheads?

Sunday, November 27, 2005 |

Some people say that pictures speak louder than words. While members of the Los Angeles Fire Department have been portrayed in many ways, we really have to hand it to Ralph Savelsberg for his unique and painstakingly accurate representation of LAFD vehicles (and our members?).

Click here to see more...

In a congenial fashion, we offer a respectful tip o' the helmet to Mr. Savelsberg for his amazingly detailed and surprisingly functional LAFD fleet, including a tractor-drawn Aerial Ladder Truck, a Ford E-450 Rescue Ambulance as well as the increasingly rare Ford E-350 and Seagrave Pumper... all made with LEGO ®.

For a look at more of his creative work, we welcome you to visit:

www.mocpages.com/home.php/2168

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Fire in Koreatown Displaces Eighteen

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On Sunday, November 27, 2005 at 4:23 Hours, (PST), fifteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three Battalion EMS Supervisors, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, and one Arson Unit under the direction of Battalion Chief John Drake, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 830 South Catalina Street in Pico Heights/Koreatown area.

First units on the scene reported a two-story residential four-plex well involved in the front.

Using handlines, Firefighters made an aggressive attack on the fire and confined the fire to the two story structure. The fire was extinguished in twenty-one minutes.

During firefighting operations, one Firefighter /Paramedic suffered a burn to his hand. He was transported to Sherman Oaks Community Hospital in good condition. No other injuries were reported.

All occupants of the the building self evacuated prior to the arrival of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Eighteen ccupants were displaced. The American Red Cross has been contacted to assist with temporary placement (15 adults and 3 children).

The cause of the fire is listed as under investigation. Fire damage is estimated at $275,000. ($200,000 structure and $75,000 contents)

Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Apartment Fire Takes Life in Los Angeles

Thursday, November 24, 2005 |

On Thursday, November 24, 2005 at 9:23 PM (PST), 10 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 3 Rescue Ambulances, 2 Arson Units, 1 EMS Battalion Captain, 2 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, and 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team all under the direction of Assistant Chief Roy Kozaki responded to a Civilian Fatality Structure Fire at 458 1/2 West 52nd Street in a neighborhood just south of Exposition Park and the Coliseum.

First arriving Firefighters were confronted with a 2-story, four-plex apartment building with heavy fire showing from both units on the second floor. Firefighters quickly initiated an aggressive interior fire attack in coordination with Firefighters conducting simultaneous ventilation operations on the roof.

Additional Firefighters began providing first aid to an injured adult female found lying on the sidewalk in front of the building.

As Firefighters were extinguishing the fire, they discovered the lifeless body of an adult female in an upstairs bathroom. Unfortunately, she had perished and was determined to be deceased at the scene.

The woman earlier found injured on the sidewalk was transported by LAFD Rescue Ambulance to Good Samaritan Hospital in serious condition with hand burns and possible respiratory complications.

One Firefighter was subsequently transported to Sherman Oaks Hospital in good condition with 1st degree burns to his left hand sustained during the fire attack.

Though physical evidence of a Smoke Alarm was found within the unit where the woman was discovered deceased, the functional status of that device could not be immediately determined.

Battalion Chief Mike Arguelles, a 27-year LAFD veteran was among the first to arrive at the fire. He made a noteworthy observation that underscores the importance of personal escape planning.

Noting that both women were upstairs at the time of the fire with their normal exitway blocked by flames, it was clear to him that each was forced to make a split-second decision regarding their path to safety.

He stated "the woman who died chose a door that led to a bathroom, a location in most homes that is difficult if not impossible to escape from".

In speaking of her housemate, Chief Arguelles said "the woman who survived chose a different door that led to a bedroom, and from there, was able escape via a balcony with less than life-threatening injuries."

"This fire makes it clear that practicing Exit Drills In The Home (EDITH) must be an essential part of every family's survival plan" he added.

Monetary loss from the fire is estimated at $60,000 ($40,000 structure and $20,000 contents). A positive identification of the decedent, as well as the cause, manner and time of her death will be determined by Coroner's officials.

The cause of the fire remains under active investigation.

Submitted by Ron Myers and Brian Humphrey, Spokesmen
Los Angeles Fire Department

Smoke Alarm Alerts Residents of Westwood Fire

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On Thursday, November 24, 2005, at 1:56 A.M. PST, ten companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Assistant Chief Officer Command Team, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one Hazmat Squad, one Battalion EMS Supervisor, and three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, under the direction of Assistant Chief Michael S. Fulmis, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 1414 South Greenfield Avenue in the Westwood area.

First units on the scene reported a three-story, garden style condo complex with fire showing from one unit on the second floor.

Firefighters using handlines aggressively attacked the fire and confined it to the one unit on the second floor with some fire extension to the third floor. The fire was extinguished in approximately thirty-four minutes.

One occupant was inside the unit when the fire started but escaped uninjured. The occupant said the smoke alarm alerted her to the smoke and fire in the unit.

No injuries were reported and the cause of fire is listed as careless smoking. Fire damage is estimated at $70,000. ($20,000 structure and $50,000 contents).

Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Firefighters Rescue Residents From Southeast LA Blaze

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On Thursday, November 24, 2005, at 12:49 A.M. PST, thirteen companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Deputy Chief, one Assistant Chief Officer Command Team, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one HAZMAT Squad, one Rehab Tender, three Battalion EMS Supervisors, and six LAFD Rescue Ambulances, under the direction of Assistant Chief Ralph Terrazas, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure fire at 555 West 92nd Street in the Southeast Los Angeles area.

First units on the scene reported a three-story apartment building with fire showing from one unit on the third floor. Upon arrival Firefighters were immediately confronted by a number of people exiting the building via the stairways and a half dozen occupants dangling precariously from windows on the upper floors.

Firefighters were immediately assigned the task of rescuing those individuals from the upper floor windows using ground ladders while other Firefighter were simultaneously tasked with fire attack and search and rescue on the third floor.

Using handlines, Firefighters aggressively attacked the fire and confined it to one unit and the hallway and extinguished the fire in thirty-four minutes.

As a result of the fire there were only two injuries: a male and female adult, both suffered minor smoke inhalation. The elderly male was transported to a local hospital in good condition and the female was treated on the scene and released.

Most of the occupants of the building were senior citizens and were sheltered in place during the incident.

A working smoke alarm is attributed to alerting the occupants of the fire in their unit.

No other injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is listed as food left unattended on the stove. Fire damage is estimated at $95,000. ($75,000 structure and $20,000 contents).

Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Farewell Superman... and Thank You!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 |

Dear Friend of the LAFD:

I wanted to take a moment, in spirit of the season - to share a personal message.

While trying - or should I say struggling - to develop a theme for saying "thanks" to the thousands of weekly media and public visitors to our LAFD News & Information web log, our office phone rang.

It was Joyce.

Joyce has been an active Los Angeles Fire Department supporter for many years, and quite frankly, her first question caught me off guard. "Are you planning on shaving your head in March" she asked.

Before I could offer an upbeat answer to that seemingly inane question, she blurted out... "How is Firefighter Kelly Taggart's boy?"

As I stumbled for words, Joyce could immediately sense the answer. Before I could utter a meaningful sound, she said in a comforting tone "We are all so very sorry".

The phone fell awkwardly silent as countless images of the recent past raced through my mind. In each of the cascading images, a crowd had gathered for a purpose. In each of those memories was a clear sense that those in LAFD uniform were never alone.

We Are Never Alone...


As Joyce and I carried on, it became apparent to me that often the shortest and simplest of words say the most of all. In this case, it was "we". Yes, as Los Angeles Firefighters we are blessed to never walk alone.

Her seemingly bizarre question about the shaving of heads of course, was related to our annual St. Baldrick's fundraiser for children with cancer. You know... when we shave our heads to help "those" kids, the one's that belong to someone else, in another community, and for some, seemingly in a different world.

But that's not always the case.

John and Kelly Taggart


When John Taggart, the young son of Firefighter Kelly Taggart commenced his battle with neuroblastoma, countless members of the community, including Joyce came forward to help.

In fact, some very well known people showed up without a scintilla of interest in publicity. Like the others, they were simply there to help - because they cared.

Jay Leno volunteers his time


How heartening it was to see the generous outpouring of help. How touching it was to read the strong words of support from those who checked in more than 70,000 times on-line to help John and his family through difficult times.

The Taggart Family


You see, when we take off our uniforms and go home to our families, we're not too different from your other friends and neighbors.

During John's battle, our Fire Department family and supporters learned many lessons. Including how much one little boy enjoyed Halloween, and especially his fondness of Superman.

Oh, if only a real-life Firefighter could be so brave.

Superman


We also learned of a strong family and the ties that bind them. In viewing photos and reading the kind words of so many, we gained insight regarding the wonderful doctors, nurses and support staff at Children's Hospital of Orange County, of the "Angel Network" of Cancer Warriors, and the phenomenal local volunteers of the Make-A-Wish-Foundation. The list could go on, but would not be complete without also mentioning the fabulous faith community that then as now hold the Taggart family close.

And so the purpose of this message is to say thank you for something truly tangible, and something that was both recent and painful, and also for two things that will always remain:

Our need to have you in our lives, and our need to say thank you for always being there.

Whether actively supporting our widows and orphans, or helping win our recent conquest to construct a permanent memorial to our fallen colleagues, we have always been comforted by your presence and support, and for that we will always be grateful.

In closing, I wanted to share the story of John's passing to the many of you, like Joyce, who have been keeping the Taggart family in their prayers. While next years St. Baldrick's event will go on, it was with a very heavy heart that I told Joyce one superhero would be missing.

John Kelly Taggert


Farewell Superman.. and Thank You!

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

The Passing of a Fire Service Canine Icon

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 |

It's been more than ten years, but it seems like yesterday: the April 1995 act of domestic terrorism that took 168 lives in Oklahoma City.

Among the memorable images of that horrific day is a photograph of Oklahoma City Firefighter Chris Fields cradling the lifeless body of 1 year-old Baylee Almon. For most, that Pulitzer Prize winning photo remains an indelible reminder of the immediate and local impact of the cowardly attack.

An equally lasting image for many was a photograph of exhausted Florida Firefighter Skip Fernandez and his disaster search dog partner Aspen, who worked tirelessly for days in search of survivors.

For a nation that sat poised at the television clinging to hope, that widely published photograph and later oil painting and derivative works by noted artist Fred Stone have come to represent the indefatigable rescue efforts, while also capturing the collective emotion of our country in the aftermath of terrorism.

Skip Fernandez and Aspen by Fred Stone

Thanks to Skip and Aspen, many Americans learned of our nation's nascent Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) system, and of the heroic disaster search canines that serve as highly respected - and often beloved - "force-multipliers" for this national network.

It is therefore with sadness that we share word of Aspen's passing, following a battle with cancer during his well-earned but all-too-brief retirement.

As a team, Skip and Aspen served with distinction during many of Florida Task Force 1's noteworthy deployments, and the men and women of America's Fire Service remain proud to this day of their long-term devotion and commitment to our mission of saving lives.

Skip Fernandez and Aspen in Partners by Fred Stone

Our condolences go out to Skip for his loss, and to members of the disaster search canine community who will remain challenged to replace Aspen's spirit and capabilities.




To learn more about the Oklahoma City National Memorial:

www.oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org

To meet and learn how you can actively support the amazing Disaster Search Dogs in our area:

www.searchdogfoundation.org

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

30 to 40 Foot Flames Engulf South LA Apartment

Saturday, November 19, 2005 |

On Saturday, November 19, 2005, at 10:46 P.M. PST, fourteen companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Assistant Chief Officer Command Team, four Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one Battalion EMS Supervisor, four LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Hazmat Squad, one helicopter the Tractor Company, one Arson Unit and other City Agencies, under the direction of Assistant Chief Ralph Terrazas, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 4507 South Normandie Avenue in the Coliseum area.

First unit on the scene reported a vacant (under going renovation), two-story four-plex well involved with fire exposing three apartment buildings.

Google Earth Image - Click to Enlarge
Using handlines, Firefighters aggressively attacked the fire on the interior of the structure while Firefighters on the exterior used heavy stream appliances to set up water curtains between the fire building and the exposures.

Successfully preventing major fire spread to the exposures, Firefighters confined the fire to the four-plex and a palm tree and extinguished the fire in approximately twenty-six minutes.

4507 S Normandie Ave following extinguishment. Photo by John Gregory LAFirephotos.com - Click for more photos
One helicopter was ordered to patrol down wind for flying brands from the structure and a palm tree that was ignited by the 30-40 foot flames.

A Department of Building and Safety inspector was requested to evaluate the integrity of the structure.

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

Fire damage is estimated at $500,000, structure only.

Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Helps Battle "School" Fire Near Ventura

Friday, November 18, 2005 |

Pursuant of a formal Mutual Aid Request, the Los Angeles Fire Department has assigned two Strike Teams of ground based Firefighters to assist the Ventura County Fire Department and other agencies battling a wildfire in rugged terrain near the City of Ventura (San Buenaventura) in west Ventura County, 52 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

These sixty members of the Los Angeles Fire Department have been dispatched in accordance with California's Fire and Rescue Emergency Mutual Aid System, administered by the Governor's Office of Emergency Services. The system is designed to ensure that additional resources are provided to local jurisdictions whenever their own resources are committed or insufficient for a specific emergency incident.

The City of Los Angeles remains fully protected by the use of additional staff and reserve apparatus to cover forseeable local needs, and we remind local residents that these resources can be recalled to our City as necessary.

The men and women of the LAFD ask motorists to remain watchful for these and other convoys of emergency apparatus, and to be mindful of the space necessary for them to safely maneuver on local roads and highways.

Pursuant of protocol, all public and media information regarding this incident, including the actions of assigned LAFD personnel, will be provided by the Ventura County Fire Department, which maintains daily jurisdictional authority of the area where the fire is burning.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Fire Damages Baldwin Hills Furniture Business

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On Thursday, November 17, 2005, at 3:57 p.m. PST, eleven companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Assistant Chief Officer Command Team, four Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, four LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Hazmat Squad, and two Arson Units, under the direction of Battalion Commander Fred Mathis, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 4126 West Jefferson Boulevard near the Baldwin Hills area.

First units on the scene reported a one-story, 50’ x 75’, commercial building with heavy smoke and fire showing.

Firefighters entered the well-involved structure and using handlines aggressively attacked the fire confining it to “South Bay Furniture Stripping” a finishing and refinishing business and extinguished the fire in approximately fourteen minutes.

One employee was inside the structure at the time the fire occurred but escaped uninjured. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is listed as accidental (malfunctioning spray gun).

Fire damage is estimated at $120,000. ($100,000 structure and $20,000 contents).

Submitted by Brian Humphrey and Jim Wells, Spokesmen
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAPD and LAFD Effort Saves Life of Motorist

Thursday, November 17, 2005 |

From KNBC-TV:

LOS ANGELES -- A Los Angeles motorcycle police officer on his way to work Thursday helped save the life of a woman who became trapped in a car fire following a crash on a Los Angeles freeway.

Officer Tyrhone Ragland was riding to work on the Santa Monica (10) Freeway about 4:35 a.m. when he saw flames engulfing a 1995 Lexus 3000 beside the freeway near the La Brea Avenue off-ramp... more...

In the words of LAFD Battalion Chief Mike Arguelles, Armanda Renee Donnelly, the westbound motorist trapped in the burning car, "is going to be home for Thanksgiving dinner".

Reassuring words indeed, especially when you see remnants of the burning sedan in which she was trapped.

Burning sedan in which Armanda Donnelly was trapped
Click here or on the photo above to enlarge


LAFD's Task Force 26 arrived quickly after Police Officers and fully extinguished the blaze. Within moments LAFD Firefighters were crawling into the smoke-filled and highly confined remnants of the almost unrecognizable vehicle, searching diligently for expected human remains - only to discover Ms. Donnelly, conscious and alert - but badly entangled in the wreckage.

Though hydraulic powered rescue tools were immediately at-the-ready, and with LAFD's renowned Heavy Rescue Company 56 just minutes away, the situation dictated that Firefighters with hand tools would be best suited to safely and most expeditiously extricate Ms. Donnelly.

Crawling through the wreckage - the sedan still on its side at the top of an embankment but now secured by rope to a nearby Fire Engine - Firefighters offered words of comfort and reassurance to Ms. Donnelly as they worked non-stop in oppressive and highly confined conditions for nearly one-half hour to fully disentangle her from the wreckage.

Amazingly, once freed she had no obvious injuries, and LAFD Paramedics described her as being in good condition during a precautionary transport for further medical evaluation at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

The photo below was taken after LAFD Heavy Rescue 56 righted the vehicle and brought it to the roadway. The obvious force of the impact to the roof and door of this vehicle, combined with the fact that the vehicle was on its side and ablaze, makes Ms. Donnelly's survival an almost miraculous occurrence.

Burning sedan in which Armanda Donnelly was trapped
Click here or on the photo above to enlarge


That morning, Ms. Donnelly's guardian angel was riding a Police Motorcycle.

Thanks to Officer Ragland and swift-acting members of LAPD's Wilshire Community Police Station and West Traffic Division, combined with the efforts of Los Angeles Firefighters, next Thursday will indeed be a special Thanksgiving Day for Armanda Renee Donnelly.

UPDATE: While the photos above continue to amaze, a touching video by veteran television reporter Paul Dandridge of KCAL-TV brings it all home.

We welcome you to view KCAL's on-line video update of this story Macromedia Flash required).

What an honor it has been for us to finally meet this amazing and gracious woman, and to know that through the teamwork described above, she is safely home for the holidays.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Hydraulic Leak Forces Industrial Building Evacuation

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 |

On Wednesday, November 16, 2005 at 9:17AM PST, ten Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, including an LAFD Hazardous Materials Task Force, fourteen LAFD Rescue Ambulances, three EMS Battalion Captains and three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, under the direction of Assistant Chief Michael Fulmis responded to a Hazardous Materials Investigation at 1735 South Santa Fe Avenue in the Industrial Eastside of Los Angeles.

According to witnesses, hydraulic fluid from a very large compressor on the second floor of a voluminous two-story industrial building had ruptured at approximately 7:00AM, causing an unspecified quantity of lubricant to vaporize when it came into contact with heated machinery.

The management at Superba, Inc., a manufacturer of neckwear, shut down the machinery and requested employees to leave the building at that time.

With belief that the situation had been abated and the 200' x 200' cinder block building had been adequately ventilated, management allowed employees to re-enter the firm at approximately 9:00AM.

At 9:17AM, the Los Angeles Fire Department was first summoned when a handful of the 75 employees working near the earlier leak began complaining of minor respiratory irritation and general malaise.

Arriving in less than three minutes, and confronted by scores of workers then leaving the building, Firefighters escalated their initial report of "smoke in a structure" to a formal Hazardous Materials Investigation.

Working closely with Los Angeles Police and Department of Transportation officials, Firefighters closed Santa Fe Avenue to all traffic between Olympic and Washington Boulevards to safely accommodate as many as 600 evacuees from the business.

Thanks to an efficient triage process, eleven employees stating a desire for medical evaluation were quickly identified. With minor to moderate complaints of respiratory irritation, subjective shortness of breath and dizziness, these eleven ambulatory adults were quickly assessed by LAFD Paramedics before seven were taken by Fire Department ambulance to area hospitals in fair to good condition.

The remaining four stated a desire to seek their own medical treatment, and no other injuries were reported.

LAFD Hazardous Materials experts, wearing protective gear and outfitted with sophisticated sensing devices, made a cursory evaluation of the building and found no immediate evidence of an escalating hazard.

The building was subsequently allowed to ventilate naturally pending the requisite presence of Los Angeles County Fire Department, Health HazMat Division officials, who will complete the investigation.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Firefighters Rescue Worker From Electric Vault

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 |

On Tuesday, November 15, 2005 at 0933 Hours (PST), eight Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Heavy Rescue, one USAR Task Force, one EMS Battalion Captain, and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team under the direction of Battalion Commander Greg Gibson responded to a Confined Space Rescue at 800 North Alameda Street at Union Station.

Firefighters found a 48 year-old male who had fallen from a ladder, approximately 5 to 10 feet, into an underground, 10 foot by 8 foot electrical vault. The patient was complaining of moderate neck and back injuries with some numbness to his extremities.

Paramedics initiated spinal precautions by placing the patient on a backboard. Due to the limited access into the vault through a small hatch, Firefighters were unable to extricate the patient using the available access hole.

The LAFD Urban Search and Rescue team along with local Firefighters were able to breach an adjacent wall and safely remove the patient through the wall and into the men's restroom. The patient was transported to USC Medical Center in stable condition. The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

L.A. Firefighter Injured Battling Beverly Hills Blaze

Friday, November 11, 2005 |

On Thursday, November 10, 2005, at 8:51 PM (PST) sixteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Assistant Chief Officer Command Team, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, three EMS Battalion Captains, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, three Arson Units, one Hazmat Squad and Rehab Tender 59, under the direction of Assistant Chief Ralph Terrazas responded to a request for Automatic Aid at 355 South McCarty Drive in the City of Beverly Hills.

First LAFD units on the scene reported a 200’ x 200’, 2 and 3 story apartment building with heavy smoke showing from the second and third floors.

LAFD units were immediately directed to the roof for ventilation and to the third floor to perform a search and rescue operation. Additional LAFD units were assigned interior fire attack.

Aggressively attacking the fire with handlines, Firefighters from the Beverly Hills and Los Angeles Fire Departments extinguished the fire in approximately one hour and eight minutes.

During firefighting operations, one LAFD Firefighter suffered a strained left shoulder and was transported Cedars–Sinai Hospital in good condition. He was subsequently admitted to the hospital.

No other injuries were reported.

The Beverly Hills Fire Department will establish fire cause and dollar loss.

Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Arson: The Crime That Kills Firefighters

Thursday, November 10, 2005 |

Arson. Firefighters see the hurt of this crime on a daily basis. This week, our Brother Eduardo "Ed" Teran of the City of Riverside (California) Fire Department paid the ultimate price in response to that crime.
Riverside Firefighter Eduardo Teran
From the City of Riverside Fire Department:

$5000 REWARD OFFERED FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO AN ARREST
The November 5, 2005, house fire where Firefighter Eduardo "Ed" Teran collapsed and went into full arrest has been determined to be an arson fire. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is offering a reward of $5,000 for any information leading to the arrest of the person or persons found responsible for setting the fire. The number to call is 1-888-ATF-FIRE. The Riverside City Arson Task Force, consisting of members of ATF and the City of Riverside Fire and Police Departments, is aggressively pursuing this case and is urging that anyone having any information about the fire please call (951) 358-2799.
John A. Torres, Special Agent in Charge, Los Angeles Field Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) said:
"ATF remains committed to bringing to justice the person or persons responsible for committing such a cowardly act."
For information about our Brother Eduardo "Ed" Turan and memorial services, please visit:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Woman Dies in South Los Angeles Fire

Wednesday, November 09, 2005 |

On Wednesday, November 9, 2005 at 9:02 AM (PST), four Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one EMS Battalion Captain and a cadre of Los Angeles Fire Department Investigators under the direction of Battalion Commander John Biggs responded to a Civilian Fatality Structure Fire at 1536 West 94th Street in South Los Angeles.

Summoned by neighbors, Firefighters arrived quickly to discover heavy smoke showing from a one story single family home.

Firefighters used power and hand tools to skilfully force entry through multiple security doors upon and within the redundantly secured residence. While extending hoselines into the home's entry to battle the well involved fire in the rear of the 1,336 square foot building, they discovered the lifeless body of an adult female.

Firefighters immediately rescued the woman and initiated basic and advanced life support measures while rushing her to Centinela Hospital in grave condition.

While continuing a systematic search of the smoke charged two-bedroom home for additional victims, Firefighters mounted a bold and decisive interior attack on the fire, confining it to two rooms in the rear of the home, and extinguishing the flames in just fourteen minutes.

No other injuries were reported.

Despite the prompt work of Los Angeles Firefighter/Paramedics and exhaustive efforts by hospital staff, the approximately sixty-year old woman's pulse and breathing could not be restored at the hospital. She was declared deceased there at 9:56 AM.

Seeking to offer additional comfort to grieving friends and neighbors, the LAFD mobilized Crisis Response Team volunteers to provide compassionate assistance to those closest to the victim.

During the initial phase of the fire investigation, there was no immediate evidence of functional Smoke Alarms within the home.

Monetary loss from the fire is estimated at $50,000 ($40,00 structure and $10,000 contents). A positive identification of the decedent, as well as the cause, manner and time of her death will be determined by Coroner's officials.

The cause of the fire was careless smoking.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Mourns Loss of Fallen Riverside Firefighter

Monday, November 07, 2005 |

Members of the Los Angeles Fire Department would like to express their deepest sympathy to the City of Riverside Fire Department and the family of Firefighter Eduardo Teran, who reportedly collapsed and later died while on-duty after battling a structure fire in the City of Riverside (sixty miles east of Los Angeles) on Saturday evening, November 5, 2005.

Teran, 43, was a 17-year veteran of the Fire Service and survived by his wife, Nanci, and daughter, Lauren.

According to the City of Riverside Fire Department:

A public viewing and rosary will be held on Thursday, November 10, 2005 from 5:00 - 9:00PM at Acheson & Graham Garden of Prayer, located at 7844 Magnolia Avenue in Riverside. The memorial service for Firefighter Teran will be held at 10:30AM on Friday, November 11,2005 at St. Francis Catholic Church, located at 4268 Lime Street, Riverside. A burial will immediately follow at Olivewood Cemetery, at 3300 Central Avenue, Riverside.

Official information and additional details are available at: www.riversideca.gov/fire

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Sedan Collides With Metro Orange Line Bus

Wednesday, November 02, 2005 |

Sedan that collided with Metro Orange Line Bus in Van Nuys/Valley Glen. Photo by Rick McClure, LAFD

Photo above, gallery and slideshow images by Rick McClure, LAFD

On Wednesday, November 2, 2005 at 2:05 PM PST, eight Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, ten LAFD Rescue Ambulances, three EMS Battalion Captains and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team under the direction of Assistant Chief Curtis James responded to a Multi-Patient Traffic Collision near 6020 Woodman Avenue in the Van Nuys/Valley Glen area.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover a two-vehicle collision involving a MetroLiner bus. According to witnesses, the eastbound sixty-foot 24-ton articulated bus, operating on the recently opened Metro Orange Line busway, was struck broadside by a southbound gray compact sedan.

The driver and sole occupant of the sedan, a 78 year-old Woodland Hills woman, was transported in fair condition to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills by LAFD ambulance. In light of the damage to her vehicle, Firefighter/Paramedics treating the woman are confident that her seat-belt use combined with the deployment of her vehicle's airbag minimized her injuries.

From aboard the bus, fourteen persons, most complaining of neck and back discomfort, stated a desire for medical treatment and transportation. They were quickly triaged and treated as necessary for minor injuries before LAFD ambulance transport to regional hospitals.

This incident is being investigated by Los Angeles Police and Metro officials, as well as the County of Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, which provides contract policing for the 14-mile busway that extends across the San Fernando Valley on a dedicated right of way from Warner Center to North Hollywood.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Firefighters Mourn the Passing of Edward Roybal

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 |

Los Angeles Firefighters tender a crisp salute to Edward Roybal in a Los Angeles Times photo

Men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department in dress uniform, tender a crisp salute to the hearse carrying former City Councilmember and Congressman Edward Roybal, a man deeply devoted to the cause of social justice.

A stirring photo tribute, his life story and word from those he deeply inspired can be found in today's Los Angeles Times.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department