Swift and Massive LAFD Response Saves Hospital Patients From Fire

Thursday, May 04, 2006 |

On Thursday, May 4, 2006 at 3:46 AM, seventeen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, fifteen LAFD Rescue Ambulances, the Fire Chief, one Deputy Chief, one Heavy Rescue, two Arson Units, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Hazardous Materials Team, three EMS Battalion Captains, six Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one Division Chief Officer Command Team, Emergency Air, and the Los Angeles County Health Department, under the direction of Assistant Chief Roy Kozaki, responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at 2231 South Western Avenue in the West Adams/Harvard Heights area.

First units on the scene reported a five story Medical Center building with a report of heavy smoke on the fourth floor.

Ascending to the fourth floor via the stairways, Firefighters encountered a considerable amount of heavy smoke banked down below waist in the hallway leading to the fire room.

Using handlines, Firefighters aggressively attacked the fire confining it to the one room and preventing fire spread to other portion of the floor. The fire was extinguished in approximately twenty minutes.

Due to pre-existing medical condition of many patients in the Medical Center, most were immediately evacuated to a treatment area on the first floor by Firefighters for assessment and as a safety precaution. Others were sheltered in place until the incident was completely under control and then assessed.

To ensure that all occupants of the "Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center" were accounted for and assessed, Firefighters searched each room in the building.

During the incipient stage of the fire, many of the patients on the fire floor were assisted to safety by nurses prior to the arrival of the Fire Department thus preventing many injuries and possible fatalities.

After a thorough search of the building by over one hundred Firefighters and assessment of all patients and staff members, it was determined that only two of the patients were in need medical intervention and transportation by Fire Department personnel for pre-existing medical conditions.

As a result of the fire, no injuries were reported. Fire damage is estimated at $35,000. ($25,000 structure and $10,000 contents). The cause of the fire is listed as under investigation.


Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Anonymous said...

All hospitals shoud be equiped with smoke extraction systems built in to the ventilation systems, this is a requirment.
The smoke should have been contaioned to the fouth floor, If not, then the hospital is in violation. When I saw the news, I did not see any water in the fourth floor hallway, did the fire supression system fail?

Christin Phelps said...

On behalf of all hospitals, I wish to express our heartfelt appreciation to LAFD for the excellent work in preventing loss of life with this hospital fire. The accompanying video would be a wonderful tool to use for educating our staff on the seriousness of fires and emergency preparendess planning.

Thank you!!
Christian Phelps, RN, CEN, NREMT-P
EMS & Emergency Preparedness Coordinator
Southwestern Vermont Medical Center
100 Hospital Drive, Box 10
Bennington, VT 05201

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Please know that the video, as presented, is not meant to offer comprehensive or investigative insight.

Pursuant of protocol, the circumstances surrounding the fire remain under investigation by both Fire and Health Department officials.

We are very pleased that there were no injuries directly attributable to this fire.

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...


Thank you for your kind words, they mean more than you know.

As you might imagine, a smokey 3:46 AM fire in a mid-sized multi-story hospital filled with patients who have limited mobility is a textbook challenge to both the hospital staff and responding Firefighters.

Thankfully, the coordinated effort of health care staff and Fire Department personnel allowed this situation to be handled swiftly and without injury.

The video you see was provided to KCBS-TV/KCAL-TV in Los Angeles by an independent news photographer.

By clicking on the link above, you may be able to contact their newsroom to determine how footage can be obtained for the training purposes you describe.

Kindly again accept our appreciation for your kind words, and our best wishes for success at your endeavor.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

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