Los Angeles Firefighters Perform Swiftwater Rescue

Saturday, December 31, 2005 |

On Saturday, December 31, 2005 at 2:56 PM (PST), ten Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Rescue Ambulance, two Swift Water Rescue Teams, one Heavy Rescue Company, one Hazardous Materials Squad, two LAFD Helicopters, two EMS Battalion Captains, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, all under the direction of Assistant Chief Greg West responded to a Swiftwater Rescue in the Los Angeles River south of Los Feliz Boulevard in the Silverlake/Griffith Park area.

Summoned by City of Los Angeles Park Rangers, scores of Firefighters were deployed strategically on the ground, water and in the air.

The first-due LAFD Engine Company arrived quickly to find an adult male clinging to vegetation on a sandbar approximately thirty feet off the river's west shore, among waters moving 20 to 25 miles-per-hour.

The 53 year-old man, who stated he was homeless and living in the river, had been stranded for an unspecified amount of time before being noticed by the Rangers.

Conscious and alert, the man was immediately thrown a Fire Department flotation vest tethered to a rope. He donned the vest in accordance with Firefighters instructions, but then against their wishes, immediately jumped into the swift-moving water.

Thanks to Firefighters having firmly secured the vest and planned for this potential action, the man was immediately swung to shore in a tangential fashion, where he was readily pulled from the water by Firefighters.

In fair condition yet exhibiting signs of hypothermia, the man was quickly stripped of his damp clothing, wrapped in warm blankets and placed in a waiting LAFD ambulance. He was transported to the Los Angeles County - USC Medical Center for further evaluation.

Firefighters downstream on LAFD personal watercraft, serving as a safety element, were pulled from the water after all Fire Department personnel retreated from the shore.

A pair of Los Angeles Fire Department helicopters which had been poised to assist in the rescue, were subsequently used to patrol more than 15 adjacent miles of the Los Angeles River for any signs of additional victims or persons imperiled. None were discovered.

No other injuries were reported.

The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department remind local residents of the significant danger of swift water in flood control channels, and ask them to take the precautions necessary to remain safe during winter storms in Los Angeles.

In the event someone is trapped or endangered by swift moving water, Firefighters stress the importance of closely following rescuer instructions to avoid greater injury and possible loss of life.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Firefighters Attack Attic Fire To Save House

Friday, December 30, 2005 |

On Friday, December 30, 2005 at 9:29 PM (PST), fourteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, one Hazardous Materials Squad, two EMS Battalion Captains, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, and one Division Chief Officer Command Team all under the direction of Assistant Chief Roy Kozaki responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 910 West 23rd Street in the USC University Village area.

As Firefighters arrived, they reported a two story, multi-unit residence (a four-plex on each floor), with smoke showing.

Firefighters, using thermal imaging cameras, were able to locate the fire inside of a wall, which had then traveled up the inside of the wall and took hold in the attic.

Firefighters began an aggressive attack from the interior of the structure as fellow firefighters on the roof cut ventilation holes. Due to the aggressive fire attack, and well coordinated ventilation efforts, ninety-five firefighters were able to control the fire in just seventeen minutes.

An investigation has determined that a wall heater, which had been left on when the occupants had gone out, starting the fire and then traveled to the attic. The damage was estimated at $70,000 ($50,000 Structure and $20,000 Contents).

Fortunately, there were no reported injuries.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Reseda Man Injured By Illicit Fireworks

Thursday, December 29, 2005 |

On Thursday evening, December 29, 2005 at 9:01 PM (PST), while responding to a medical call in a North Hills neighborhood, Los Angeles Firefighters operating an ambulance with emergency lights and siren activated entered the 15900 block of Bahama Street when they saw a bright flash and heard an explosion coming from a nearby driveway.

As their colleagues sprinted to the nearby address of the earlier reported medical call, the LAFD Paramedics identified and came to the aid of a 48 year-old Reseda man who was running toward them with hand injuries.

According to the man's later statements, he had been handling a variety of fireworks, including some possibly modified devices, when they inadvertently discharged. He stated this happened when he was startled by the ambulance siren, which he believed may have been police officers coming for him.

Firefighters offered emotional support to the man while cleaning and dressing his wounds, which included an avulsion of the left thumb and small finger as well as significant tissue damage to that hand.

Following consultation with medical control, and with concern for the neurovascular status of the man's hand, LAFD Paramedics received approval to transport him in "fair" condition fifteen miles to awaiting specialists at the UCLA Medical Center in Westwood.

The man's neighbor who had earlier requested medical aid was promptly treated at his home by Firefighters before being transported to a different hospital by another ambulance.

No other injuries were reported. The injured Reseda man's relationship with the North Hills neighborhood was not immediately established by Fire Department officials.

LAFD Arson Investigators and Los Angeles Police Officers were notified and are investigating.

It is important to note that all fireworks, even the so-called "safe and sane" variety are at all times illegal in the City of Los Angeles and have been for decades.

The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department remind local residents that using fireworks or firearms to celebrate the coming New Year is not only unwise and unsafe but also illegal.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Valorous Deputies Save Lives of Watts Family

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 |

On Tuesday, December 27, 2005 at 2:43 AM (PST), six Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two Rescue Ambulances, one EMS Battalion Captain, and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team under the direction of Battalion Chief Kwame Cooper responded to a Structure Fire at 2267 East Imperial Highway in Watts.

Imperial Courts housing project in Watts

Firefighters arrived to find a two story apartment complex with smoke showing from one unit within the Imperial Courts housing project. Firefighters quickly gained access and were able to extinguish the fire in 12 minutes.

Prior to the arrival of Firefighters, Deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department arrived on scene. As the deputies arrived, the occupants who had been awoken by the sound of a smoke alarm, were attempting to escape via a second floor window.

The deputies assisted the occupants by convincing them to drop a one-year old baby to them from the smoke filled second floor window. The Deputy was able to skillfully catch the child and avert life threatening injuries.

Moments later, a nine-year old boy was able to leap to safety from the same smoke filled window. Again, Deputies were able to catch the child and prevent further injuries.

One Deputy did suffer minor injuries and smoke inhalation during the rescue. In all, it appears that at least four occupants were able to escape via the second floor window.

Paramedics transported a total of four patients complaining of minor injuries and/or smoke inhalation to local hospitals for evaluation.

The patients included the one-year old and nine-year old children who had been skillfully caught by waiting Deputies. In addition, one seventeen-year old and one Deputy were treated and transported to local hospitals for minor injuries and smoke inhalation. No other injuries were reported.

The fire appears to have started downstairs in the area of the Christmas Tree and then quickly spread throughout the lower floor. The location of the fire prevented all occupants from exiting the residence from the first floor exits.

The cause is listed as accidental. The total dollar loss is still being tabulated.

VIDEO AVAILABLE

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Flames Displace Eight on Christmas Morning

Sunday, December 25, 2005 |

On Sunday, December 25, 2005 at 6:07 AM (PST), six Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three Rescue Ambulances, two Arson Units,and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team under the direction of Battalion Chief Michael Arguelles responded to a Structure Fire at 1619 East 42nd Street in the Newton area of South Los Angeles.

As Firefighters arrived they were immediately confronted with a single story, single family residence, with fire showing from the front of the structure.

Firefighters immediately began an interior fire attack, coordinated with simultaneous vertical ventilation by firefighters on the roof. Additional firefighters conducted a search of the occupancy for any trapped victims.

Fortunately, all occupants of the home had been assisted to safety by neighbors prior to the arrival of Firefighters.

In all, fourty Firefighters controlled the incident in just fourteen minutes. The incident was completed in 5 hours and six minutes.

As a result of the fire, five adults and three children have been displaced and are being assisted by the American Red Cross.

Thankfully, there were no injuries reported on this Christmas Morning fire.

The dollar loss is estimated at $84,000 ($40,000 structure, $25, 000 contents, $18,000 to two vehicles, and $1,000 to a neighbors home).

The cause the fire is under investigation.


Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Massive Blaze Strikes Eastside Metalworking Firm

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On Saturday, December 24, 2005 at 11:14 PM (PST), fifteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, five LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, one Hazardous Materials Squad, one EMS Battalion Captain, six Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 109 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Assistant Chief Michael Fulmis, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 3450 East Pico Boulevard in South Boyle Heights.

Firefighters responded quickly to a report of "alarms ringing" to discover heavy fire showing from a 75' by 100' one-story industrial building.

The unoccupied business was quickly laddered and Firefighters took to the flat lightweight roof as their colleagues used handlines to mount a bold initial offense within the stucco over woodframe structure. Both offensive flanks were driven back within moments by fire through the roof and signs of pending structural compromise.

Following a swift and seamless transition to defensive tactics, heavy stream appliances were brought to bear on the massive volume of fire within "Grover Products", a diversified metalworking firm.

The fire was confined to the structure, which suffered partial collapse. The flames were extinguished in just fifty-nine minutes.

There were no injuries.

Loss from the fire is estimated at $700,000 ($200,000 structure & $500,000 contents). The cause of this late Christmas Eve blaze remains undetermined.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Hollywood Magicmakers Help Fulfill Holiday Dreams

Saturday, December 24, 2005 |

If you're like many Americans, chances are you'll venture out this holiday season to see a feature film with family or friends.

Though we often refer to the "magic" of the movies, the truth is what we see on the silver screen is the result of hard work by teams of unseen people who labor long hours to create realistic images that suspend our disbelief, if only for ninety minutes at a time.

With sometimes enigmatic titles that range from "best boy" and "key grip" to "gaffer" and "production assistant", it could make you wonder how anyone might decipher the credits of a feature film.

Therefore how nice it is these days, to see many members of the public now join us in respectfully watching the credits - and even applauding - the otherwise anonymous cast and crew members that work so hard to entertain us.

And so it gives us great pleasure today, to openly identify and publicly applaud a group of entertainment industry professionals who have reached out to help make the holidays brighter for the less fortunate.

Though they are at their best when their work goes truly unnoticed, their job title and duties are instantly recognizable and understood.

They are members of the Set Decorators Society of America (SDSA), and this past week they stunned members of the Los Angeles Fire Department with a generous donation to our Spark of Love Holiday Toy Program for Needy Children.

Joining us in putting the final decorations on a seventeen-foot Christmas Tree at Fire Station 27 in the heart of Hollywood were Mae Brunken, Phil Hoffman and Joanne Baker of SDSA's Outreach Committee.

What they brought with them in truckloads was the answer to many children's dreams.

When the recently released "Fun With Dick and Jane" starring Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni finished production, members of SDSA were faced with a monumental task. What to do with the $75,000 worth of toys used to decorate an elaborate toy store set?

For them, the answer came as easy as four letters of the alphabet. No, not E-B-A-Y, but rather L-A-F-D and the Spark of Love Toy Program.

Thanks to the generosity of SDSA and its members, many Southern California children will awaken Christmas morning to experience a pure magic and sense of wonder that Hollywood could never hope to rival.

We therefore offer a respectful a tip o' the helmet and our sincerest thanks to SDSA and our many friends in the entertainment industry. Thanks to their generosity, and that of many members of our community, there will be no need for a child to suspend their belief in the magic of Christmas morning.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Firefighters Battle Greater Alarm Fire in South L.A.

Friday, December 23, 2005 |

On Friday, December 23, 2005 at 10:17 PM (PST), fifteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, six LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, one Hazardous Materials Squad, one Foam Tender, one EMS Battalion Captain, four Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, all under the direction of Assistant Chief Roy Kozaki responded to a Greater Alarm Fire involving outside chemical storage at 5508 South Bandera Street in South Los Angeles.

Firefighters arrived quickly to face heavy fire from scores of 55-gallon drums stacked three-high and believed to contain flammable water-based paint.

Using handlines in a well-coordinated fashion, Firefighters swiftly tackled the blaze, which had destroyed much of a combustible awning-type structure designed to protect the hundreds of drums from the elements. The flames also consumed the southern half of a fire-sprinklered 30' x 100' warehouse.

Thanks to the brisk and effective teamwork of 107 Los Angeles Firefighters, the fire was confined to the warehouse and stored liquids and fully extinguished in just 32 minutes.

There were no injuries.

Efforts were made by Firefighters to limit and monitor foul-water runoff. With the possibility that some product may have been carried in the effluent during the firefight, the County Fire Department's Health Haz-Mat Division was also summoned to the scene.

Fire loss to "Bandera Paint Manufacturing Company" is still being tabulated, while the cause of the fire remains under active investigation.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

The LAFD: By Land and By Sea...

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LAFD Fireboat #2
LAFD Fireboat #2

LAFD Fireboat #5
LAFD Fireboat #5

Land-based members of the Los Angeles Fire Department as well as LAFD Fireboats 1, 2 & 5 quickly responded in the pre-dawn hours of Friday, December 23, 2005 to a sinking 22-foot vessel by the Fish Markets near Signal Place and 22nd Street in San Pedro.

This 5:01 AM response was promptly and efficiently handled by the Fireboat personnel. We're pleased to say there were no injuries.

The LAFD staffs five Fireboats to proudly serve the busiest port on the Pacific rim.

We thank "Life On the Edge" for the photos above, and for routinely chronicling the endeavors of Firefighters working in LAFD's Battalion 6.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Flames Skillfully Confined at Encino Office Building

Thursday, December 22, 2005 |

On Thursday, December 22, 2005 at 5:14 PM (PST), seventeen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 5 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 2 Arson Units, 1 Urban Search and Rescue Unit, 1 Hazardous Materials Squad, 1 EMS Battalion Captain, 4 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, all under the direction of Battalion Chief Joseph Foley responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 16542 Ventura Boulevard in Encino.

Firefighters arrived quickly and despite initially discovering no signs of active fire at the five story sealed office building, immediately initiated LAFD's High Rise Operations Plan and Incident Command System. The building's Fire Control Room was identified while the lobby and elevators were promptly secured.

As Firefighters swiftly aided more than a dozen occupants in safely exiting the 40,295 square-foot multi-tenant building, they received reports of moderate smoke on north end of the uppermost floor.

Given this information, additional LAFD resources were requested as teams of Firefighters continued to climb stairs with the hundreds of pounds of equipment necessary to battle a potential high-rise fire.

Clearing each floor of the building as they ascended the stairs, Firefighters established a logistics and support base on the a 4th floor as well as a rooftop ventilation group as they investigated pervasive smoke within the office and attic above a 5th floor orthodontic suite.

Aided by strategic opening of a composition roof over plywood sheathing by Firefighters using chainsaws, the considerable smoke and heat from the fire was quickly vented vertically with the subsequent aid of positive pressure fans as Firefighters fully extinguished a stubborn fire among the wooden rafters and recently applied roofing materials in just 37 minutes.

Quick and skillfull teamwork by 117 members of the LAFD kept this fire above the attic and out of multitude of offices, several of which were undergoing renovation.

Firefighters were quick to credit building occupants for their prompt yet calm evacuation upon hearing the fire alarm, and for their swift activation of the 9-1-1 system.

There were no civilian or Firefighter injuries.

Loss from the fire is estimated at $30,000 ($20,000 structure & $10,000 contents). The cause of this early evening blaze is attributed to a roofing operation earlier in the day.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Cache of Dynamite Consumed in Controlled Blaze

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 |

7955 Haskell Avenue during prescribed burn of unstable explosives. Photo by Josh Harville - Firelinephoto.com
On Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 4:51 PM (PST), twenty-eight Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, eight LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Rehab Unit, one Helicopter, three EMS Battalion Captains, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one Division Chief Officer Command Team, four Brush Patrols, one LAFD Foam Tender, and various other supporting companies all under the direction of Deputy Chief Mario Rueda responded to an LAPD Bomb Squad Standby at 7955 Haskell Avenue in Van Nuys.

The Los Angeles Police Department had discovered approximately fifty pounds of dynamite stored inside of a refrigerator, located inside a commercial storage building.

Upon examination of the dynamite, it was determined to have become so degraded and unstable as to be extremely hazardous to attempt to remove from the building. A decision was made to conduct a controlled burn of the structure in an effort to incinerate the dynamite and render it harmless.

Firefighters took several actions to prepare the structure for the controlled burn, in an effort to limit damage and protect adjacent occupancies. The preparation included precutting ventilation holes in the roof, applying Barricade fire retardant gel to exposures and removing combustibles where safely possible.

In addition, apparatus and heavy stream appliances were pre-positioned to provide the most effective firefighting strategy available while still providing for Firefighter safety.

All Firefighters and other individuals were evacuated to a distance of 1000 feet to prevent injuries should an explosion occur. LAFD personnel were ordered to wear full personal protective gear including ballistic vests to prevent injuries.

The structure was ignited at approximately 6:23 AM on Wednesday, December 21.

Firefighters and Law Enforcement personnel allowed the building to freely burn until such time that Bomb Squad personnel believed that the dynamite was rendered harmless. The fire was controlled using master streams and hand lines on a limited basis.

When the fire was extinguished, the LAPD Bomb Squad evaluated the explosives and determined them to have been rendered harmless.

There were no reported injuries.

Due to preplanning and extensive structural preparation prior to igniting the fire, the incident hazard was abated with minimal damage to adjacent businesses or structures.

The dollar loss is still being tabulated. The incident is under formal investigation by LAFD and Law Enforcement officials, including the LAPD, FBI and ATF.

The Los Angeles Police Department later released a statement that reported four persons arrested in connection with this event.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Transient's Fire Damages Service Center For Blind

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On Wednesday, December 21, 2005 at 6:04 AM (PST), eleven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, five LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, one EMS Battalion Captain, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team all under the direction of Battalion Chief Robert Franco responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 544 North Larchmont Boulevard in Southeast Hollywood.

Firefighters arriving on scene found a one-story, 50' X 75', commercial building with fire showing through the roof. Firefighters gained access to the interior of the structure and discovered a well involved attic fire. As Firefighters attacked the fire from the interior of the structure, fellow Firefighters on the roof simultaneously conducted vertical ventilation operations.

Firefighters were able to contain the fire in thirty minutes and limit the damage to the attic portion of the building.

The involved facility, Jewish Blind of California, was unoccupied at the time of the fire, and there were no injuries.

The dollar loss was estimated at $170,000 ($150,000 structure and $20,000 contents.)

An investigation conducted by an LAFD Arson Unit determined that a transient had started a warming fire against the building which eventually found it's way into the attic causing the fire.

The transient was arrested by LAFD Arson investigators.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Faulty Generator Sparks Granada Hills Blaze

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 |

On Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 4:31 p.m. (PST), six companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, one Battalion EMS Captain, one Hazmat Squad, and one Arson Unit, under the direction of Battalion Chief Robert M. Rose responded to a Structure Fire at 11140 Jellico Avenue in Granada Hills.

First units on the scene reported a large, 3,000 square foot, one-story single family dwelling well involved with fire.

With handlines, Firefighters entered the structure through the uninvolved portion of the house to make an aggressive attack on the fire when they encountered “pack-rat” like conditions. Making their way thru the maze-like areas of the dwelling, Firefighters used the handlines to extinguish the fire in approximately twenty-three minutes.

An adult male was in the house at the time of the blaze but escape prior to the arrival of the Fire Department suffering from minor smoke inhalation and first and second degree burns to his hands and feet. He was transported to Northridge Hospital Medical Center in good condition.

No other injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is listed as a “faulty generator” in the home. Fire damage is estimated at $275,000 ($200,000 structure and $75,000 contents).

Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Aircraft Returns to LAX with Landing Gear Problem

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On Monday, December 19, 2005, at 9:36 p.m. (PST), twenty-two companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Assistant Chief Officer Command Team, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, six Battalion EMS Captains, sixteen LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Hazmat Squad, Crash 80, Foam 280, Foam 180, and Foam 380, under the direction Assistant Chief Donald R. Austin, were pre-deployed to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in response to an inbound Air India aircraft with a blown tire and a right landing gear problem.

Firefighters were informed that the Air India 747 jet with 273 passengers and crewmembers onboard had departed LAX Airport at 8:33 p.m. PST en route to Mumbai via Frankfurt Germany had blown a tire on take-off and had been directed to return to LAX.

At approximately 10:00 pm PST, Air India Flight #136 landed on Runway 25 Left amidst sparks, smoke and a small fire at the right landing gear. Using firefighting foam to quickly extinguish the burning rubber and cool down the hot metal, the incident on the exterior was quickly brought under control.

There was no smoke or fire in the interior of the jet.

Passengers were briefly evaluated onboard for any physical or emotional impact as a result of the landing. One female with unspecified complaints was transported to the Centinela Freeman Marina Hospital in good condition.

No other injuries were reported at the time the passengers were permitted to leave the aircraft.

The cause of this incident is under investigation by the FAA, the NTSB, LAX authorities and other investigative agencies.

Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Man Dies in Home Fire - No Working Smoke Alarms

Wednesday, December 14, 2005 |

On Wednesday, December 14, 2005 at 5:56 PM (PST), five Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two Rescue Ambulances, two Arson Units, one EMS Battalion Captain, and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team all under the direction of Battalion Chief Timothy Kerbrat responded to a Structure Fire with a Civilian Fatality at 1524 East 54th Street in South Los Angeles.

Firefighters arrived to find a single family dwelling well involved. As firefighters began advancing a firefighting handline through an unlocked, front security door, they noticed a badly burned body just inside the front threshold.

Firefighters removed the victim to the porch, passing patient care on to waiting LAFD Paramedics. Firefighters continued an aggressive attack on the seat of the fire, controlling the incident in only thirteen minutes.

Unfortunately, the eighty-five year-old patient had suffered significant burns and succumbed to his injuries. He was declared deceased by Paramedics at the scene.

No other injuries were reported.

During the fire investigation, it was determined that the residence lacked working smoke alarms.

The fire and subsequent fatality is currently under investigation by Fire Department and Law Enforcement authorities. The dollar loss has been estimated at $65,000, ($40,000 Structure and $25,000 Contents).

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Lucky Woman Thanks LAPD & LAFD Rescuers

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As we prepare our list of "top ten" LAFD blog posts for 2005, it gives us great pleasure to share a heartwarming update regarding our fifth most popular web log entry of this past year.

Through mention at Kevin Roderick's popular "L.A. Observed", many of your learned about the seemingly miraculous rescue by Los Angeles Police and Fire Department members of motorist Armanda Donnelly in the early morning hours of November 17th.

While our original post with photos continues to amaze, today's video update by veteran television reporter Paul Dandridge on KCAL-TV brings it all home.

We welcome you to review the photos and story in our original post, and then view KCAL's on-line video (Macromedia Flash required).

What an honor it has been for us to finally meet this amazing and gracious woman, and what a pleasure it is for us to again salute the efforts of our LAPD colleagues for their brave and timely deeds.

Yes, it's heartwarming to know that Ms. Donnelly is home - and indeed safe - for the holidays.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Three Vehicle Collision in Hollywood Injures Four

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On Wednesday, December 14, 2005 at 12:52 AM (PST), seven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, seven LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Heavy Rescue, two EMS Battalion Captains, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Mark Stormes responded to a Physical Rescue Traffic Collision on the Northbound 101 Freeway near Sunset Blvd in Southeast Hollywood.

The first companies on scene found a three vehicle traffic collision with one car rolled over. Firefighters reported one patient trapped under the vehicle in critical condition.

A "Physical Rescue Assignment" was immediately requested and Firefighters using various extrication tools were able to extricate the patient from under the vehicle.

Two additional patients were extricated from a separate vehicle. In all, four patients were treated and transported to area hospitals. Three patients were transported in serious/critical condition and one patient was transported in moderate condition. The cause of the collision is under investigation by the proper law enforcement agencies.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Elevator Car Fire in High Rise Caused by Welders

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On Wednesday, December 14, 2005 at 10:37 AM (PST), twenty Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, four Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, and one Division Chief Officer Command Team all under the direction of Assistant Chief Richard Warford responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at 460 South Spring Street in the Central City/Fashion District.

First arriving units reported a 12 story, older hotel, under renovation, with heavy smoke showing from the top floor.

The Incident Command System was immediately implemented and a fire attack team began the arduous trek towards the fire floor. As Firefighters assessed the 11th floor, fire was discovered in an elevator car between the 11th and 12th floors.

Firefighters attacked the fire and were able to limit the spread of the fire from other areas of the building. The fire was controlled in just 22 minutes and the overhaul was completed in 2 hours.

There were no reported injuries.

The fire was contained to the "old style" elevator which was constructed of wood products over a metal structure. The fire was caused by welders renovating the building and working on the elevators.

The dollar loss is still being tabulated.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Bus and Catering Truck Collision Injures 24 in L.A.

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On Wednesday, December 14, 2005 at 9:09 AM (PST), five Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, eleven LAFD Rescue Ambulances, four EMS Battalion Captains, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Dean Ulrich responded to a Multi-Casualty Traffic Accident at Broadway and 27th Street in the South Park/Convention Center area.

Firefighters arrived to find a traffic collision involving a Metro bus and a private catering truck. Firefighters immediately began triaging patients in an effort to identify the number of persons requiring medical care and assess the severity of their injuries.

Treatment areas were established to provide medical treatment consistent with the patients injuries. In all, twenty-four patients were treated on the scene for injuries sustained during the incident. Fortunately, all twenty-four patients complained of only minor neck, back, and extremity injuries.

Eighteen patients were transported to area hospitals while the remaining six patients were treated and released at the scene. The cause of the collision is under investigation.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

No Injuries at Greater Alarm Fire in Encino

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 |

On Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 5:02 AM (PST), thirteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one EMS Battalion Captain, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, and one Division Chief Officer Command Team all under the direction of Assistant Chief Tony Varela responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 17817 Magnolia Bouelvard in Encino.

Firefighters reported a 100'x 150', two story, garden style apartment building with fire in the attic.

As Firefighters were attempting to gain access to the attic fire, fellow Firefighters conducted salvage operations below the fire, to protect the residents personal property from water damage. Simultaneously, Firefighters on the roof coordinated ventilation operations with the fire attack teams.

Even though the fire was well established in the attic portion of the building, Firefighters were able to gain control in just 43 minutes.

There were no reported injuries.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. The dollar loss is still being tabulated.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Pre-Dawn Apartment Fire Erupts in Silver Lake

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On Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 3:15 AM (PST), ten Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, six LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one EMS Battalion Captain, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, and one Division Chief Officer Command Team all under the direction of Assistant Chief Richard Warford responded to a Structure Fire at 975 North Vendome Street in the Silver Lake area.

When units arrived on scene, they immediately reported heavy smoke and fire showing from at least one basement unit of a two story apartment over commercial building.

Firefighters attempting to access the fire were immediately confronted with a "major evacuation problem" as frightened residents were exiting the building.

While Firefighters attempted to gain access to, and control of the fire, additional Firefighters conducted search and rescue operations on the first and second floors.

Firefighters located two residents on the second floor and evacuated them to safety.
Both occupants were evaluated by paramedics with one being treated and transported to an area hospital for smoke inhalation.

In addition, three Los Angeles Police Officers were evaluated and transported to Queen of Angels/Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital for treatment of minor smoke inhalation.

The fire was controlled in just 35 minutes.

The Fire Department guided rehousing of building occupants. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation. The dollar loss is still being tabulated.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Fire Causes Damage in Koreatown Structure

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On Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 2:06 AM (PST), ten Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one EMS Battalion Captain, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Commander John Drake responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 2479 West Pico Boulevard in the Pico Heights/Koreatown area.

When Firefighters arrived they found lazy smoke in the area and began investigating to locate the source. As Firefighters made access to the two story structure, a bar on the first floor with an apartment located above, they began an initial search of the structure.

A significant amount of smoke was found on the second floor. Firefighters discovered that a flash fire had occurred in the second floor hallway causing significant damage to the hallway.

The fire was extinguished in twenty-seven minutes. There were no reported injuries. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Major Emergency Commercial Building Fire

Monday, December 12, 2005 |

On Sunday, December 11, 2005, at 2112 hours (9:12 p.m. PST), twenty seven companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Deputy Chief, one Assistant Chief Officer Command Team, five Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, three Battalion EMS Captains, seven LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one HAZMAT Squad, one Arson Unit, the Tractor Company, and other LAFD resources, under the direction of Deputy Chief Mario D Rueda, responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at 2433 East 8th Street in the Industrial East Side area. VIDEO AVAILABLE

First units on the scene reported a large one story, 100’ x 300’ commercial building well involved with fire. After using forcible entry tools to gain initial access into the building, Firefighters entered the structure and commenced an aggressive interior fire attack using handlines. Faced with an over whelming volume of heat and fire during fire containment, Firefighters were ordered to withdraw from an interior fire attack and take up defensive positions on the exterior of the building using heavy stream appliances.

Firefighters that were conducting roof operations were also ordered off the roof because of the large volume of fire inside the structure that had penetrated the entire attic area and most of the roof. Shortly after Firefighters were evacuated from the roof, most it collapsed.

When the bulk of the fire was contained with heavy stream appliances, Firefighters re-entered the building with handlines for final fire extinguishment. Over one hundred and forty Firefighters confined the fire to “Swinstar Inc. Transworld Luggage”, a luggage business, and extinguished the fire in approximately two hours and six minutes.

Due to the heavy fire load in the structure, the Tractor Company was requested to respond to the incident to assist in the overhaul phase of the incident. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is listed as under investigation. Fire damage is still being tabulated.

Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Greater Alarm Fire in Los Angeles Displaces 13

Wednesday, December 07, 2005 |

On Wednesday, December 7, 2005, at 10:53 P.M. (PST), eleven companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Assistant Chief Officer Command Team, four Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one Hazmat Squad, two Battalion EMS Captains, four LAFD Rescue Ambulances, and one Arson Unit, under the direction Assistant Chief John Ware, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 1037 ½ South Irolo Street in the Pico Heights area.

First units on the scene reported a two-story residential 4-Plex, with fire showing from one unit on the second floor.

Using handlines, Firefighters entered the involved unit and aggressively attacked fire and extinguished it in approximately nineteen minutes.

A forty-year old occupant of the involved unit was treated and released on the scene for minor smoke inhalation. No other injuries were reported.

As a result of the fire ten adults and three children were displaced and the American Red Cross has been requested to assist with temporary placement.

The cause of the fire has been listed as undetermined. Fire damage is estimated at $35,000. ($30,000 structure and $5,000 contents).

Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Hollywood Traffic Collision Sends 7 to Hospital

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On Wednesday, December 07, 2005, at 7:13 P.M. (PST), four companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, one EMS Battalion Captain, and five LAFD Rescue Ambulances, under the direction of Battalion Commander Craig Fry responded to a Multi-Patient Traffic Collision at the intersection of North Western Avenue and West Sunset Boulevard in the Hollywood area.

First units on the scene reported a traffic collision involving two passenger vehicles without entrapment.

Seven victims were triaged, treated and transported to four area hospitals: a 24 year old female and a 47 year old female were listed in serious condition; three females ages 8, 12, & 47 suffered minor injuries, and one male 21 years of age also suffered minor injuries; a three-year old female in cardiac arrest was transported to Los Angeles County USC Medical Center in critical condition.

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating this collision.

Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Responds to Disturbance at Santee High School

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On Wednesday, December 7, 2005 at 12:07 PM (PST), three companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, two Battalion EMS Captain, and six LAFD Rescue Ambulances, under the direction of Battalion Commander Raymundo Gomez, respond to the report of an altercation at "South Los Angeles Area New High School #1" (aka Santee High School), located at 1921 South Maple Avenue in the Convention Center area.

First units on the scene reported a calm and under control situation on the school grounds after an altercation involving many students at the school.

Fire Department resources were immediately directed to several injured students located in a secure area of school. Firefighters quickly triaged, treated and transported ten students with minor injuries including ankle, stomach, elbow and irritated eyes from pepper spray.

All of the injuries were reported to be non-serious. The students were transported to two area hospitals in good condition.

School Police, the Los Angeles Police Department, and School Officials are investigating the cause of the disturbance at the school.

Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Pickin' Bill & Henry the Fiddler come to the Firehouse

Tuesday, December 06, 2005 |

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita had barely left the Gulf Coast when Bill Hudson slung his guitar from Virginia and Henry Tarrson packed up his fiddle in Colorado.

Their mission? To bring some manner of joy to those so deeply impacted by the devastating storms. It's a journey that continues to this day.

They call it "The Feel Good Tour", a selfless effort to lift the spirits of others. Little did they know how many lives they would ultimately touch, including those working at Fire Station #7 in Slidell, Louisiana.

We think you'll enjoy learning about their adventure living at the firehouse.

We also hope that you'll read other entries of their blog, and learn about men who have made a genuine difference in a grief stricken region.

They came with little more than their instruments and a desire to serve, and along the way showed a community - and America's Firefighters, the true spirit of the season.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Body Discovered Following Fire in Lake View Terrace

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On Tuesday, December 6, 2005 at 6:35 PM (PST), one Company of Los Angeles Firefighters and four LAFD Arson Investigation Units under the direction of Battalion Chief Jack Wise responded to an apparent Rubbish Fire with Civilian Fatality near 11900 Terra Bella Street in Lake View Terrace.

Firefighters responded quickly to extinguish the apparent rubbish fire beneath the Foothill Freeway overpass, only to find human remains among the debris.

The fire was rapidly extinguished and there were no injuries.

Pursuant of protocol, LAFD Arson Investigators were summoned and the Los Angeles Police Department was notified.

Due to physical conditions at the scene, the age and gender of the decedent could not be immediately determined.

The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office will seek to positively identify the deceased, as well as to formally determine the cause, manner and time of their death.

This incident remains categorized as a joint active investigation by the Los Angeles Fire Department and Police officials, who also issued a news release.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Firefighters Quickly Confine Blaze in North Hollywood

Thursday, December 01, 2005 |

On Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 4:49 PM (PST), nine Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team under the direction of Battalion Chief Evan Williams responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 5520 Cleon Avenue in North Hollywood.

First units on scene found a one-story, brick commercial building, approximately 50' x 100' with heavy, pressurized smoke escaping from two large roll-up steel doors and the front glass entry door.

Firefighters were immediately confronted with access problems which required the cutting and removal of security bars on the windows and doors.

5514 Cleon Ave following extinguishment. Photo by Orlando Ramos LAFirephotos.com - Click for more photos
In addition, the large rolling steel doors had to be breached using rotary saws and hand tools. Due to the close proximity of neighboring buildings, access to the fire had to be accomplished through the front of the building.

Heavy fire was located in two rooms in the rear of the building. As Firefighters gained access and began to attack the fire, Firefighters on the roof simultaneously conducted ventilation operations. Firefighters were able to gain control of the fire in just 16 minutes.

The building appeared to be a music equipment storage facility which was currently being renovated for use as a studio.

There were no reported injuries and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Damage estimates are still being tabulated.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Kudos for one of LAFD's Finest

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If you know but one thing about the Los Angeles Fire Department, you know that we pride ourselves in being a full-spectrum life safety agency

The LAFD's 3,562 uniformed personnel are honored to protect life, property and the environment through their direct involvement in fire prevention, firefighting, emergency medical care, technical rescue, hazardous materials mitigation, disaster response, public education and community service.

While much public focus is understandably on our highly visible emergency response activities, it is our public education and fire prevention efforts that often bring us the greatest personal and professional reward, with most of our success in this realm taking place well outside the public spotlight.

Though last year alone, the men and women of the LAFD responded more than 713,000 times to come to the aid of their neighbors in need, we truly feel that the best emergency response is the one that can be - and often is - prevented in the first place.

To make that happen, the Los Angeles Fire Department maintains one of the most stringent and purposeful Fire Codes in the nation, and one that is unique to our City. The code is created, maintainted, interpreted, explained and ethically enforced by a hard-working cadre of 160 uniformed LAFD members and 53 civilian staff.

One of the most well respected members of our Bureau of Fire Prevention and Public Safety is Inspector Joseph Johnson, suitably considered by many to be an unsung hero of our Department. That is, until today.

It gives us great pleasure to share a letter that recently arrived at LAFD Headquarters:

Dear Chief Bamattre:

This letter is written to acknowledge the professionalism of one of your staff - Inspector Joseph Johnson.

I have been in the planning and development business for over thirty years, and have had the opportunity to interact with many persons in nearly one hundred jurisdictions throughout Southern California.

Inspector Johnson is a standout.

Whether commenting (or rather educating) at public hearings or reviewing and approving (or denying) projects, Inspector Johnson can be counted on as being thorough, courteous and competent. In short, an excellent representative of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

A lot of people take the time to write about City or County employees only when they have a gripe or when they are displeased. I believe that one should take the time to call attention to those who are exemplary. I believe that the best people work not just for pay, but also for the satisfaction of doing a job right. These people, such as Inspector Johnson, should therefore, be acknowledged for their attitude, knowledge and work ethic.

Thank you for you attention to this letter.

Sincerely yours,
Jerome Buckmelter Associates, Inc.


The letter above gives us a great opportunity to remind everyone that the crews you see aboard LAFD Fire Engines, Ambulances and Ladder Trucks are but one part of a very strong team devoted to your protection.

Without people like Inspector Joseph Johnson working hard behind the scenes, we would never be as successful in truly protecting this great City.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department