'United 93' Audience Experiences Suspicious Malaise

Friday, April 28, 2006 |

On Friday, April 28, 2006 at 4:40 PM, twelve Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, six LAFD Rescue Ambulances, two Hazardous Materials Task Forces, three EMS Battalion Captains, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Assistant Chief Roy Kozaki responded to a Hazardous Materials Investigation at 6081 Center Drive in Westchester.

Image by John Gregory - LAFirePhotos.com

Firefighters arrived quickly at The Promenade at Howard Hughes Center and were directed to The Bridge: Cinema De Lux,a multiplex theater.

According to witnesses, one person noticeably and abruptly fled an upstairs theater after which an irritating odor and respiratory discomfort ensued among several of the forty remaining patrons who had been watching the movie "United 93".

With the guidance of theater personnel, these patrons were moved to the large lobby area and sequestered pending the Fire Department's arrival.

Image by John Gregory - LAFirePhotos.com

Los Angeles Police Officers arrived promptly and secured the perimeter, as Joint Command was established. Firefighters walked the forty patrons outdoors and swiftly triaged, tagged and documented their status.

Image by John Gregory - LAFirePhotos.com

None were experiencing a life-threatening illness or injury.

Though patrons and witnesses surmised that there may have been a brief discharge of an irritant like pepper spray, LAFD Hazardous Materials experts with sensitive monitoring equipment found no evidence of a lingering chemical hazard or toxic substance in the auditorium.

Image by John Gregory - LAFirePhotos.com

Bystanders and guests from other theaters were kept apart those effected, as it was subsequently determined that only two adult females, with general malaise secondary to nausea, were desirous of further treatment.

They were later transported by LAFD ambulance to area hospitals.

The remaining patrons, declining transportation, were politely referred to Police officials for interviews prior to their departing the scene. With approval by the County of Los Angeles Fire Department's Health Hazardous Materials Division, the theater was returned to the control of theater management.

There were no other civilian or Firefighter injuries associated with this incident, which remains under formal investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.

(video) (photos)

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Handles Haz Mat Incident in Atwater Village

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On Friday, April 28, 2006 at 2:20 PM, six Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, six LAFD Rescue Ambulances, two LAFD Hazardous Materials Task Forces, one LAFD EMS Battalion Captain and one LAFD Battalion Chief Officer Command Team as well as one Battalion Chief, a Hazardous Materials Squad, and Engine Companies from the Glendale Fire Department, under the direction of LAFD Battalion Commander Christopher Logan responded to a Hazardous Materials Investigation at 5121 San Fernando Road West in the north Atwater Village neighborhood of Los Angeles, bordering the City of Glendale.

Los Angeles Firefighters arrived quickly at an industrial firm to discover the calm self-evacuation of personnel after a trio of 55-gallon drums in a covered exterior breezeway between buildings, suddenly discharged their lids, producing voluminous acrid vapors without fire.

Firefighters immediately established a perimeter, as well as an uphill and upwind Command Post and staging location as the building's former occupants were accounted for and assured to be uninjured.

As a fourth 55-gallon drum discharged its lid, Los Angeles Police and Transportation officials were asked to take charge of bystander and traffic control as additional LAFD resources, including two Hazardous Materials Task Forces, arrived at the scene.

According to employees of Huntsman Advanced Materials (HUN), their employees had produced the four drums of Araldite ®, an epoxy resin, approximately fourteen hours earlier.

After pertinent information was shared with City of Glendale responders, it was determined that LAFD crews would manage the incident, while the Glendale Fire Department addressed any concerns within their nearby jurisdiction.

LAFD Haz-Mat experts utilized sophisticated instruments, including thermal imaging cameras, to determine that portions of the drums exceeded 200 degrees Fahrenheit and had become increasingly unstable while producing sizable and intermittent vapor clouds.

After briefly conferring with Huntsman's onsite technical staff regarding the atypical product behavior, Firefighters chose to construct cardboard enclosures and utilize large amounts of dry ice to cool the drums and render the substance stable.

Their efforts succeeded, and by dusk, with approval and guidance from the County of Los Angeles Fire Department's Health Hazardous Materials Division, the site was returned to Huntsman staff for remediation and resolution.

There were no civilian or Firefighter injuries within the incident sector controlled by the Los Angeles Fire Department, and a precautionary evacuation of a commercial area to the east in the City of Glendale was handled entirely by Glendale authorities.

(video) (images)

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

A Day in the Life: LAFD Ubergeek Brian Humphrey

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LAFD's Brian Humphrey, click to read more...From LAVoice.org:

"It's dark down here, four stories under City Hall East.

It's always 73 degrees. It's usually quiet. Just the murmur of..."


Read more of Mack Reed's visit with LAFD's Brian Humphrey...

Man Dies at LAX When Construction Vehicle Overturns

Thursday, April 27, 2006 |

On Thursday, April 27, 2006 at 8:25 AM, two Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one LAFD Rescue Ambulance, one EMS Battalion Captain and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Acting Battalion Chief Glenn Zink, responded to a Civilian Worksite Fatality on Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) property near 11390 South Pershing Drive in Los Angeles.

Firefighters arrived quickly and were directed to a remote temporary access road being utilized by a contract construction crew involved with an airport lighting and fencing improvement project at the far west end of the 3,425 acre facility.

Firefighters subsequently discovered an adult male worker trapped beneath an asphalt compactor. According to witnesses, the 61 year-old man, an employee of Excel Paving, had been operating the vehicle when it suddenly overturned, trapping his head against the ground beneath the safety cage that enclosed the operator's control station.

Despite the quick response of LAFD personnel, the man sustained traumatic head injuries incompatible with life. He was declared deceased at the scene.

There were no other injuries.

City of Los Angeles Crisis Response Team volunteers provided on-site emotional support and guidance to the decedent's coworkers, while Firefighters utilized heavy-lift air cushions to assist Coroners' officials with removing the man from beneath the compactor.

LAX officials have confirmed that this incident, at a remote and inaccessible location of the airport, would have no direct effect on passengers or aviation operations.

The Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles International Airport Police Department each responded to the scene and will assist the Coroner's office in their efforts to positively identify the man, as well as determine the precise cause, exact time and manner of his death.

Questions regarding the presence, need or operator's use of a seat belt, helmet or other safety systems remains within the purview of Cal-OSHA officials, who are investigating this incident as a worksite fatality.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Woman Dies After Being Struck By Train

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 |

On Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 2:23 PM, one Company of Los Angeles Firefighters, one LAFD Rescue Ambulance, one EMS Battalion Captain and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team under the direction of Battalion Chief Michael Bowman responded to a Metrolink Commuter train vs. a pedestrian at San Fernando Road and Brand Blvd. in Mission Hills.

Paramedics arrived to find a 35 year-old female, with major injuries after being struck by a Northbound Metrolink Commuter Train. Paramedics assessed the woman and declared her deceased at the scene.

The Northbound and Southbound rail line was shut down for several hours until it was determined safe to reopen the tracks for train traffic. There were no other injuries reported at this incident. The circumstances of this fatal train accident are under investigation by local law enforcement and transportation authorities.

Submitted By Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Man Loses His Life In San Pedro Boat Fire

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On Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 2:34 AM, five Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one LAFD Rescue Ambulance, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, and LAFD Fire Boats 2 & 5, under the direction of Battalion Chief John Buck responded to a Fatality Boat Fire at Berth 35: Slip E34 in the San Pedro area.

First units on the scene reported a 45' sail boat, the "La Buena Vida, at the Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club with smoke showing. Using forcible entry tools to enter the cabin area of the boat, Firefighters used handlines from Boat 2 and quickly extinguished the fire in fourteen minutes.

The fire was confined to the 45' sail boat and no other boats were threatened. During the search and rescue phase of the incident, the body of an eighty year old male was found and declared dead at the scene, also, a small dog was found dead in the same area, no other injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is listed as under investigation and fire damage is still being tabulated. This report will be updated as additional information is made available.

Submitted By Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Residents Narrowly Escape Van Nuys Apartment Fire

Saturday, April 22, 2006 |

On Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 2:33 AM, eighteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, seven LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Heavy Rescue Unit, one Arson Unit, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, one Hazardous Materials Team, two EMS Battalion Captains, five Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, an Emergency Air Unit, and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Assistant Chief Curtis James, responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at 15440 Sherman Way in Van Nuys.

First units on the scene reported a large three-story center hallway apartment building with two units on the second floor well involved with fire.

As Firefighters made their way to the third floor with handlines to attack the fire, they encountered heavy smoke and heat in the hallway just prior to entering the involved units.

Attacking the fire with handlines and simultaneously conducting search and rescue operations for trapped occupants, Firefighters confined the bulk of the fire to one unit with moderate damage a second unit and extinguished the flames in approximately twenty-nine minutes. Moderate water damage was restricted to two units just below the fire floor.

It took over one-hundred and twenty Firefighters to mitigate the incident. There were five injuries, including one Firefighter and four civilians adults.

During the initial search of the exterior of the building for victims, Firefighters located three adults who had apparently jumped from upper floor windows in separate locations and were suffering from minor to moderate injuries to their lower extremities. One adult from the fire floor was also assessed for minor smoke inhalation.

The four civilians were treated on the scene, with three later transported to local hospitals. During firefighting operations, one firefighter suffering from heat exhaustion was treated on the scene and released.

The American Red Cross was contacted to assist six occupants with temporary shelter.

Fire damage is estimated at $265,000. ($250,000 structure and $15,000 contents). The cause of the fire remains under active investigation.

(video)

Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Men Seriously Burned at Los Angeles Upholstery Firm

Thursday, April 20, 2006 |

On Thursday, April 20, 2006 at 8:31 AM, four Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Heavy Rescue, three Arson Units, one EMS Battalion Captain and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team under the direction of Battalion Chief John Biggs responded to a Vehicle Fire with Civilian Burn Injuries at 512 West Rosecrans Avenue in the City's Harbor Gateway area near Gardena.

Firefighters responded quickly to initial reports of a bus fire with at least one person trapped. Arriving in an alley to the rear of a commercial upholstery firm, Firefighters learned that two workers had escaped a full-sized privately-owned charter bus that was well involved with fire.

The first arriving Paramedic staffed Engine Company prevented the fire from extending to the nearby buildings and an adjacent oil well as their crew were soon joined by others in promptly caring for the two seriously burned men.

The fire was confined to the bus and extinguished in less than ten minutes without Firefighter injury.

Burned prior to the Fire Department's arrival were a 42 year-old male with second- and third-degree burns to more than 60% of his body, including circumferential head, arm, and hand injuries as well as full back, calf and ankle burns. In critical condition, he was taken to the Torrance Memorial Medical Center, which hosts a specialized Burn Unit.

His 37 year-old colleague sustained second- and third-degree burns to more than 12% of his body, including his head, face, neck and arms. He was transported to the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in serious condition.

According to witnesses, the men were dealing with adhesives during renovation of the bus, and may have intermittently used a hand-held propane torch and solvents.

The value of the bus, which was destroyed by the blaze, is still being tabulated. The incident remains under active investigation by Fire Department and Cal-OSHA officials.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

The Facts About Bubonic Plague in Los Angeles

Wednesday, April 19, 2006 |

With recent confirmation, yet at-times mysterious or sensational reports that one Los Angeles woman has contracted bubonic plague, we wanted to remind you that factual sources of information remain available to you about this well documented disease.

We encourage you join us in learning about plague, while separating the fact from fiction:

  • CDC Plague Information

  • California Department of Health Services Plague Brochure (PDF)

  • LA County Department of Health Services

  • LA County DHS Communications Office


  • Los Angeles County Health Care Providers and Emergency Responders may wish to register for the recently established Health Alert Network, which debuted on March 10, 2006.

    The LAFD Reminds You: When it Comes to Staying Healthy - Knowledge is Power!

    Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    LAFD Implements New Photo Banner

    Saturday, April 15, 2006 |

    In an effort to enchance your visit to the Los Angeles Fire Department, we are implementing an LAFD Photo Banner(Beta). We hope you enjoy the photos and will continue to add more photos in the future.

    Please click on the banner to subscribe to the LAFD Photo Banner.



    Depending on your "admin" rights for your computer, you may or may not be able to utilize this service. Most home computers will not have any problems.

    Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Banquet Hall Shooting Wounds Five

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    On Saturday, April 15, 2006 at 8:28 PM, four Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, eleven LAFD Rescue Ambulances, two EMS Battalion Captains, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, and one Division Chief Officer Command Team all under the direction of Battalion Chief John Buck responded to a Shooting in the 6700 block of Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood.

    When Firefighters arrived on scene they were informed that a shooting had occurred inside a banquet hall and several people were injured. Firefighters immediately began assessing and triaging patients. A treatment area was established within the lobby area and patients were treated and prepared for transport according to the severity of their injuries.

    In all, five patients were treated for suspected gunshot wounds, two of those patients appeared to have suffered life threatening injuries. In addition, three others were complaining of medical type problems. All patients were treated on scene and transported to local hospitals for medical treatment.

    Several blocks away in the 7000 block of Coldwater Canyon Avenue a separate shooting is being investigated by LAPD to determine if it is related to this incident. In that incident, one patient was transported in critical condition with a suspected gunshot wound to the chest. The incident is currently under investigation by the LAPD.

    Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    In case you wondered why a Fire Department report on this particular shooting: Our protocol requires us to create and distribute a report whenever five or more LAFD ambulances transport from an incident.

    Language Not a Barrier in Getting Los Angeles Help

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    This message can be translated into:
    Deutsch | Español | Français | Italiano
    Português | 日本語 | 한국어 | 汉语


    With concern expressed by local clergy and elected officials following one or more recent acts of family violence by those new to Los Angeles or with limited English language skills, the men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department remind you that multi-lingual and culturally sensitive personal assistance is always available by telephone.

    Within Los Angeles County, any person needing physical or emotional crisis support and advocacy, including referral to substance abuse, health, shelter, senior help and care concerns, disabled or public social services, can request non-emergency human services assistance at any hour by simply calling Infoline LA/2-1-1 LA County at (800) 339-6993 or 2-1-1.

    Additionally, anyone experiencing or witnessing an emergency: defined as a situation that endangers human life and demands the immediate response of Police, Firefighters or Paramedics, can request that help in more than 150 languages from anywhere in California by calling 9-1-1.

    Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Five Gunned Down in Boyle Heights Market

    Friday, April 14, 2006 |

    On Thursday, April 13, 2006 at 9:02 PM, five Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, nine LAFD Rescue Ambulances, three EMS Battalion Captains and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team under the direction of Battalion Chief Mark Stormes responded to a Multi-Patient Shooting at 1526 East 1st Street in Boyle Heights.

    Firefighter/Paramedics arrived quickly alongside Los Angeles Police Officers to discover five male shooting victims inside a small market.

    A brisk and efficient triage determined that none of the patients had life-threatening injuries.

    The patients, age 17-51 were tagged in the "delayed" care permissive category yet received prompt treatment at the scene by Fire Department Paramedics prior to their transport to area hospitals.

    Officials from the Los Angeles Police Department's Hollenbeck Community Police Station will be handling the investigation.

    Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    In case you wondered why a Fire Department report on this particular shooting: Our protocol requires us to create and distribute a report whenever five or more LAFD ambulances transport from an incident.

    Fire Consumes Vacant Commercial Building in LA

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    On Thursday, April 13, 2006 at 8:41 PM, Eighteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, five LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Heavy Rescue, one Arson Unit, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Hazardous Materials Team, two EMS Battalion Captains, six Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one Division Chief Officer Command Team and two Companies of Los Angeles County Firefighters, all under the direction of Assistant Chief Michael Fulmis responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at 4856 East Valley Boulevard in the Hillside Village/University Hills area near South El Sereno.

    Firefighters arrived quickly to discover heavy fire showing from a vacant 100' x 100' one story masonry commercial building.

    While Firefighters deployed handlines, flames suddenly shot though the roof of the unoccupied building, the scene of a fire within the past two weeks.

    As the untenable structure quickly exhibited signs of physical compromise, a Command decision was confidently made to use defensive tactics with master streams to bring the flames under control.

    Within sixteen minutes of the first 9-1-1 call, the building began to fail, as portions of the roof collapsed into and further fed the fire. The well-coordinated effort of more than 130 Firefighters confined the fire to the structure and extinguished the flames in just 64 minutes.

    There were no injuries.

    Monetary loss was not immediately established. The cause of the fire remains under active investigation.

    Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Girls Thank Rescuers from LAFD Station 98

    Tuesday, April 11, 2006 |



    It's always nice to have visitors at the Fire Station and today two very special visitors dropped by Fire Station 98 in Battalion 12. The two young girls (above) that were rescued by the members of 98s from the waters of the Pacoima Flood Control Channel surprised their rescuers with cookies and home made "Thank You" cards today.

    Much drier and warmer than when last seen, the two happy girls, along with family members, toured the station and chatted with the members who saved their lives. Knowing that the incident could have resulted in a tragedy there were smiles all around on what was an unexpected and very happy occasion.

    The girls had traveled over 3 miles in the 20 mph current before being rescued and knew the gravity of their situation. Battalion 12 Chief Mike Bowman stated "The girls told me that they thought they were going to die, were swallowing water and were losing strength from the cold. They were so happy that our members were there to rescue them." Chief Bowman also remarked "I am so proud of our crew. It was like everything was in alignment. Engine 98 did everything perfect and if they hadn't it would have been a much different outcome".

    Division 3 "A" Platoon Assistant Chief Tony Varela acted as the Incident Commander during the rescue out of the Division 3 Headquarters. Following the rescue Chief Varela visited the rescue site and spoke with the members of Fire Station 98. Chief Varela commented that "It's because of the quick actions, knowledge and experience of the members of 98s that the girls are alive today".


    Our thanks to Chief Williams for the story and photos.

    One Dead in Mishap at Wilmington Refinery

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    On Monday, April 10, 2006 at 9:31 AM, seven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, four LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Heavy Rescue, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Hazardous Materials Team, one Helicopter, one EMS Battalion Captain, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Jeffrey A. Marcus responded to a Confined Space Rescue incident at 1660 West Anaheim Street in Wilmington.

    First units on the scene were met by employees of "ConocoPhillips Petroleum" directing them to five workers that had escaped from the inside of a tank where a Floating Roof had collapsed injuring the workers.

    At the time of the collapse, the workers were installing steel in the flooring of the tank that was fifty five feet high and one hundred twenty five feet long.

    The Floating Roof was approximately seven feet above the workers when they heard sounds that were indicative of a possible imminent collapse.

    As they attempted to escape through a side door of the tank, the Floating Roof collapsed causing one twenty-five year old male worker to be critically injured, that worker was subsequently pronounced dead at the hospital.

    Of the four other male workers, ages 25-40, three of them suffered minor to moderate injuries to their lower extremities and one suffered serious trauma to his neck,
    back and legs.

    All five escaped from the tank prior to the the arrival of the Los Angeles Fire Department. The victims were were transported to Harbor UCLA Medical Center.

    ConocoPhillips and CAL-OSHA Officials are investigating the incident.

    Reported by Jim Wells, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Man Found Dead Atop Los Angeles Parking Structure

    Sunday, April 09, 2006 |

    On Sunday, April 9, 2006 at 1:55 PM, one Company of Los Angeles Firefighters, one LAFD Rescue Ambulance and four Arson Units under the direction of Captain Richard Andrade responded to a Civilian Death Associated With Fire near 1013 Alpine Street in the Figueroa Terrace neighborhood northeast of Chinatown.

    In response to a 9-1-1 call reporting a possible person deceased, Firefighters were directed to the northeast uppermost floor of a vacant two-story parking structure to discover the lifeless remains of an adult male.

    While completing the medical assessment necessary to declare death, Firefighters determined the person may have been recently associated with a fire.

    The adjacent "rooftop" parking area of the structure, which was owned by a local utility and leased for weekend use by a neighborhood church, was immediately cordoned off pending the arrival of Police and Fire Department Investigators, who did not release the precise age or physical condition of the decedent.

    No other injuries were reported.

    The circumstances surrounding the man's death remain under joint Police and Fire Department investigation.

    A positive identification of the deceased man, as well as the exact cause, time, manner and location of his death will be determined by Coroner's officials.

    Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Girls Rescued From Swift Water of Pacoima Wash

    Saturday, April 08, 2006 |

    On Saturday, April 8, 2006 at 5:35 PM, ten Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Heavy Rescue, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, two Helicopters, one EMS Battalion Captain, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team under the direction of Battalion Chief Michael Bowman responded to a Swift Water Rescue reported near 13142 West Foothill Boulevard in Sylmar.

    Despite fair weather, local flood control channels remain swelled with recent stormwater, causing the Los Angeles Fire Department to remain in a "River Rescue" preparedness status.

    When a 9-1-1 caller reported persons in distress within the Pacoima Wash, seventy-three LAFD personnel from across a broad expanse of the San Fernando Valley sprang quickly into action on the ground and in the air as Firefighter/Dispatchers queried callers to determine that two young girls were imperiled in frigid fast-moving water.

    Guided by the LAFD Computer-Aided Dispatch system and Firefighter/Dispatcher's expertise, Pacoima-based Engine Company 98 was sent downstream to a pre-planned rescue point near the intersection of Del Sur Street and Haddon Avenue.

    Traveling unimpaired to the scene as they donned flotation vests, sneakers and water rescue headgear, they alighted from the Engine at lightning speed with bolt cutters to breach a locked gate and then rapidly position their apparatus as a hard-point to anchor rescue - or recovery - operations from alongside the trapezoidal channel.

    Within moments of their arrival, they saw the two girls no more than 100 yards upstream in the 20 mile-per-hour water.

    Knowing that both girls, clad in dark clothes, were as little as three-hundred yards from the profound danger of churning and life-taking waters near a clamshell dam, Firefighter Mike Celestino grabbed Engine 98's life ring flotation device with tether as his colleagues secured him to the Engine with a rescue line. Witnesses describe these vital tasks being completed in split-seconds.

    Knowing he would have only one chance to rescue the girls, Firefighter Celestino sprinted down the 45-degree concrete channel embankment and leaned out over the water to extend the life ring to the oldest girl.

    The 16 year-old grabbed the ring as her rescuer began to run down the edge of the channel to lessen the force of the rapidly moving water. The younger girl, 11 years of age, held strongly to the older girl but was unable to grab the ring.

    As the trio moved down the channel for seconds that seemed like an eternity, Firefighter Celestino was able to pull both children to the waters edge and attempted to hold them until members of Engine Company 98 could get into position to assist him.

    Noticing that the younger girl was losing her grip on the older girl and might be swept away, Firefighter Celestino partially entered the water in order to fully capture the youngest victim.

    He was successful and both girls were soon brought to dry level ground.

    Members of LAFD Engine 98 comfort rescued girls. Photo by Evan Williams


    As the sixteen year-old Pacoima girl and her 11 year-old cousin from Littlerock were wrapped in Firefighters turnout jackets and later warm blankets in an LAFD ambulance, they stated that they had been playing near the flood control channel when they fell or slipped in.

    With an accompanying parent who later arrived at the rescue site, the girls were transported in good condition by LAFD ambulance to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills for treatment of multiple abrasions sustained in their three mile trip down the concrete lined urban river.

    As the Captain of Engine 98 stated "If we had arrived seconds later we wouldn't have been able to save them".

    Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Special Thanks and Photo Credits to
    Battalion Chief Evan Williams, Battalion 14 blog

    Los Angeles Apartment Fire Injures Teen, Displaces Two

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    On Friday, April 7, 2006 at 4:45 PM, nine Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, four LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, two EMS Battalion Captains, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, two Los Angeles County Fire Companies, and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Fred J. Mathis, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 321 South Hamel Road in the Pico-Robertson area.

    First units on the scene reported a two story apartment building with fire and heavy smoke showing from one unit on the second floor.

    Firefighters using handlines aggressively attacked the fire in the involved unit and extinguished it in twenty-one minutes.

    The fire was confined to the bedroom, bathroom and a portion of the attic. The residents of the eight unit apartment building self-evacuated prior to the arrival of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

    As a result of the fire, one female, age sixteen, was transported to Cedars-Sinai Hospital in good condition suffering from minor smoke inhalation. The American Red Cross was requested to assist two displaced occupants.

    There were no Firefighter injuries and the cause of the fire is listed as "undetermined".

    Fire damage is estimated at approximately $100,000 ($75,000 structure and $25,000 contents).

    Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Firefighters Rescue Colt From Empty Sunland Pool

    Thursday, April 06, 2006 |

    On Thursday, April 6, 2006 at 9:16 AM, two Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Heavy Rescue, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Michael Bowman responded to a request for Animal Assistance at 9701 Wheatland Avenue in Sunland.

    Firefighters were summoned by a neighbor who heard some manner of commotion the previous night. This morning, the woman, who resides in a nearby guest house in the largely equestrian neighborhood, learned of a horse stranded near the bottom of a neighbors almost empty swimming pool.

    She subsequently notified Fire officials via 9-1-1 when Department of Animal Services personnel were not immediately available to respond.

    Neighborhood Firefighters discovered the unnamed and somewhat skittish one year-old equine to have only minor injuries. Because the young horse, unaccustomed to being led, would not readily walk up a narrow and somewhat flexible metal ramp placed in the pool's shallow end by neighbors, a cadre of Firefighters began to swiftly construct a sturdier ramp with lumber.

    As the ramp took shape, other Firefighters sought to comfort and reassure the horse, gaining its trust and keeping it from the brackish water at the pool's deep end.

    Finding they had closely bonded with the animal, and prior to bringing the large wooden contrivance into the nearly dry pool, Firefighters elected to use hay to entice the now calmer gray colt up the steel ramp, which they had fortified with scrap lumber.

    Their effort proved successful, and the animal was transferred calmly to the care of Department of Animal Services staff, including a Veterinarian who assured Firefighters that the horse would survive his ordeal.

    Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Los Angeles Firefighters Perform Swift Water Rescue

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006 |

    On Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 6:24 PM, six Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Heavy Rescue, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, two LAFD Helicopters, one EMS Battalion Captain, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team and two Swift Water Rescue Teams under the direction of Assistant Chief Roderick Garcia responded to a Swift Water Rescue near 16721 Sherman Way in West Van Nuys.

    Firefighters on the ground and in the air arrived quickly to commence a brief search for a boy reportedly swept away by the shallow yet fierce current of Bull Creek. The concrete-lined urban tributary, fed by recent storms, had nearly five feet of rapidly moving cold water, enough to entrap, immobilize and imperil even the strongest of adult swimmers.

    The muffled cries of the twelve-year old victim had been heard by a nearby resident who called 9-1-1 after discovering the young man clinging to a concrete vertical bridge abutment in the center of the channel.

    Firefighters, including LAFD Swift Water Rescue Team members, soon arrived at the north side of the Sherman Way overpass and commenced a ground-based rescue operation with harness and rigging as a Fire Department Helicopter hovered overhead.

    Additional LAFD resources were staged downstream.

    Photo by Brian Litt. Click to see more...


    Using an LAFD Aerial Ladder in a crane-like fashion, a harnessed Firefighter was lowered 25 feet into the steep walled channel, where he tethered the wet and shivering boy, placing him in a flotation vest and rescue harness.

    The Firefighter then offered the boy comfort and reassurance during their joint ascent to the roadway above.

    Conscious yet exhibiting mild signs of hypothermia, the youth, who suffered no obvious injuries, was briefly assessed street-side before being assisted to a waiting ambulance. His wet clothes were removed in the ambulance as warming measures were instituted during a routine transport to nearby Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys.

    He arrived in good condition.

    LAFD ground crews and helicopters performed a brief aerial reconnaissance of the region. No other victims were discovered and there were no other injuries.

    The reason for the boy initially being in or near the river was not immediately determined by Fire Department officials.

    (video) (images) (slideshow)


    Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Roof Collapses at Los Angeles Drugstore

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    On Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 4:11 PM, six Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one LAFD Rescue Ambulance and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team under the direction of Battalion Chief Mark Saxelby responded to a Roof Collapse with Flooding at 334 South Vermont Avenue in the Mid-Wilshire/Wilshire Center area.

    Firefighters arrived quickly following a period of intense rain to discover persons self-evacuating in response to a roof failure, plumbing rupture and massive flooding within a one-story 300' x 300' Rite-Aid drugstore on the southeast corner of Vermont Avenue and 3rd Street.

    Firefighters promptly surveyed the scene and accounted for all occupants, including a 66 year-old woman who had been knocked to her knees during a sudden rush for the door. She proved to be the only injured person among dozens, and was subsequently transported to Hospital of the Good Samaritan in good condition for assessment of minor knee injuries.

    A 30' by 30' section of the wood frame building's flat roof was noted to have suddenly given way in the northwest portion of the building, bringing as many as eight inches of water into the store.

    Firefighters worked swiftly to protect the building's contents and manage utilities as they swept water from the structure.

    Noting that hundreds of local residents used the location to obtain important prescription medicine, Firefighters worked with profound diligence for several hours with the permission of Health Department and Rite-Aid Staff to conserve, protect and transfer hundreds of filled and pending prescriptions from the pharmacy to an adjacent Rite-Aid store.

    Monetary loss from the roof collapse and flooding was estimated at $180,000 ($80,00 structure & $100,00 contents).

    Though the roof drains appear to have been functioning inadequately and were likely clogged, the specific reason(s) for the roof's localized failure under a high volume of accumulated water was not officially analyzed or determined by Fire Department officials.

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    Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    One Burned Two Dead in Downtown Car Fire

    Sunday, April 02, 2006 |

    On Sunday, April 2, 2006 at 4:43 PM, six Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one LAFD Rescue Ambulance, three Arson Investigation Teams, one Hazardous Materials Squad, one EMS Battalion Captain and a Battalion Chief Officer Command Team under the direction of Battalion Chief Greg Gibson responded to a Vehicle Fire with Civilian Fatalities in the 1200 block of Stanford Avenue south of Downtown Los Angeles.

    Firefighters responded quickly to a report of a vehicle fire threatening nearby buildings to find a full-sized sport-utility vehicle well involved with fire in an alley behind a row of mid-rise commercial structures.

    Nearby the burning vehicle was an adult male with severe burn injuries who was promptly treated by Firefighters and Paramedics as their colleagues aggressively attacked the fire. Firefighters swiftly extinguished the flames, preventing damage to the adjacent businesses.

    As the smoke and steam cleared, Firefighters discovered human remains within the vehicle and cordoned off the area for Investigators. Preliminary indications were that two persons were deceased inside the Toyota Sequoia, which was destroyed by the flames.

    The 54 year-old male burn victim, whose affiliation with the fire and apparent victims was not immediately determined, was transported to the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in critical condition with burns to both legs, his face and both hands.

    There were no other injuries reported.

    The exact cause and circumstances surrounding the fire remain under joint Police and Fire Department investigation.

    UPDATE: Los Angeles Police officials issued a news release the morning following the incident.

    A positive identification of the decedents, as well as the exact cause, time and manner of their death will be determined by Coroner's officials.

    Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Los Angeles Collision Sends 8 To Hospital

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    On Saturday, April 1, 2006 at 10:16 PM, five Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, eight LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Heavy Rescue, two EMS Battalion Captains, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Greg Gibson responded to a Multi-patient Traffic Collision at the intersection of South Flower Street and West Adams Boulevard in the South Park/Convention Center area.

    First units on the scene reported a collision between a small truck and a mini-van with eleven individuals in need of medical treatment. As additional resources arrived, the patients were quickly assessed and triaged for treatment (five children and six adults).

    There were two individuals in the truck and nine in the mini-van. Of the eleven injuries, two were assessed with critical injuries and six with minor to moderate injuries, all were transported to five local hospitals: Children's, California, County USC Medical Center, White Memorial and Good Samaritan.

    Three adults were treated on the scene and released.

    The cause of the collision is under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.

    Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department