On Tuesday, January 17, 2006 at 11:02 AM, seven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one EMS Battalion Captain, and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Greg Gibson responded to a Smoke Investigation at 1143 S. Wall St. in Central City/Fashion District.
Firefighters arrived to find light smoke in a three story commercial building. As firefighters were investigating, attempting to find the origin of the smoke, it was determined to be coming from an elevator shaft. Firefighters used ground ladders to access the roof of the structure in an effort to locate the fire. A 26 year-old firefighter from a local fire station entered the penthouse.
Finding heavy smoke in the penthouse, the firefighter stepped off the penthouse landing, attempting to descend to the floors below using the stairwell. The stairs descending from the penthouse had be either partially or totally removed during renovation of the occupancy. The missing stairs were obscured due to the heavy smoke within the penthouse.
The Firefighter began falling head first, approximately 10' to 15' to the floor below. Fortunately, the firefighter was able to grab hold of a stationary object as he fell, causing his body to spin, which caused his lower extremities hit the floor below first. A "Firefighter Down" alert was immediately transmitted and fellow firefighters began to conduct a rescue operation of their injured comrade.
The Firefighter was removed from the building by fellow Firefighters and transported to California Hospital. The Firefighter suffered a severe fracture to his ankle. The injury will require surgery and the Firefighter will be hospitalized for several days.
After the Firefighter was removed from the building, a small fire was located on the second floor, near the elevator shaft. The cause of the fire and the circumstances surrounding the injury is currently under investigation. The dollar loss is still being tabulated. There were no other injuries reported.
Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department