99 Years Ago Today: The Dodd's and Engine Co. 20

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 |

As students of Los Angeles history, we've often followed The 1947 Project, where the intrepid blog team of Kim Cooper, Larry Harnisch and Nathan Marsak take us along in their time machine to the Los Angeles of yore.

After a year spent immersed in the Los Angeles of 1947, Kim, Larry and Nathan are now focusing their efforts on an equally fascinating "L.A minus 99 years".

Today they focus on August 29, 1907 and a Los Angeles Times article about newlywed LAFD Lieutenant Samuel Dodd and his bride Juanita, and the 'present' given them by members of Engine Company 20.

"Around Engine Co. 20 at Sunset Boulevard and Mohawk Street, Lt. Samuel Dodd is something of a practical joker, so when he left on his honeymoon with his bride, Juanita, his fellow firefighters decided to get even..." (more...)


For more than a century, members of the Dodd family have proudly served the City of Los Angeles as members of its Fire Department. If you happen to encounter one of them, now you'll know why they're rarely surprised to find an extra shoe in their locker when working at modern-day Fire Station 20.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Fire Consumes North Hollywood Furniture Factory

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On Tuesday, August 29, 2006 at 4:30 PM, twenty-one Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, eight LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Urban Search and Rescue Company, the LAFD Tractor Company, one LAFD Hazardous Materials Squad, two EMS Battalion Captains, six Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, as well as one Engine, one Truck, one Rescue and one Battalion Chief from the Burbank Fire Department, all under the direction of LAFD Assistant Chief Ralph Terrazas responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at 6800 block of Vineland Avenue in North Hollywood.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover intense fire throughout an 150' x 100' one story 'L-shaped' metal clad industrial building. Firefighters briskly deployed handlines and master streams in a clearly defined defensive posture until a decisive offense with handlines was possible against the specter of fallen high-voltage electric lines and stubborn flames.

The fire was confined to the structure of origin and extinguished in less than ninety minutes.

A 21 year-old employee and a 61 year-old contractor within the furniture manufacturing and warehouse facility at the time of the fire, were able to escape unaided prior to Firefighters arrival.

The older man, suffering a minor thermal burn to his right arm, declined LAFD transportation before leaving for medical care via a private vehicle.

The younger male, who sustained an electrical burn to his right hand and lower back was transported by LAFD Paramedics to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank in fair condition.

One Los Angeles Firefighter was medically evaluated and immediately returned to active fireground duty after having been struck on the helmet by a falling chair.

Loss to Vanowen Custom Furniture is estimated at $2,750,000 ($750,000 structure & $2,000,000 contents). The cause of this late afternoon fire remains under active investigation.

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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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LAFD Assists County Firefighters in Northeast Valley

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On Tuesday, August 29, 2006 at 3:43 PM, twenty-eight Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one LAFD Arson Unit, one LAFD Rehab Air Tender Unit, four LAFD Helicopters, one LAFD contract Helitanker, one LAFD Water Tender, one LAFD Brush Patrol, one LAFD EMS Battalion Captain, three LAFD Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one LAFD Division Chief Officer Command Team under the direction of Assistant Chief Curtis James responded in Automatic Aid to assist the Los Angeles County Fire Department at a Mutual Threat Zone Brush Fire in their jurisdiction near the Foothill Freeway and Paxton Street in the northeast San Fernando Valley.

As this fire remained entirely within the County of Los Angeles, all media and public information regarding this incident must come from the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Last Plea: Save The New Guy

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While there are many fire service stories we'd love to share from across the globe, we know that you come here for 'LAFD News & Information'.

We were however, particularly moved by an article in today's New York Daily News. In a stirring account of a tragedy that befell our FDNY colleagues this week, Michael Daly wrote...

The rescuers breached the wall of the cellar behind the burning building, and a firefighter was tunneling into the debris when he felt a tug on his pant leg.

By several accounts, the firefighter had worked his way into a small void and had been trying to wiggle past a huge storage cabinet. He eased around and saw that the tug had come from one of his trapped comrades. "I'm here," the trapped firefighter mumbled.

The firefighter asked his trapped comrade's name and company. The trapped man was clearly in great physical distress, but he managed to say he was Lt. Howard Carpluk and he was working that day with Engine 75.

Then, his words labored, his life being squeezed out of him, Carpluk spoke not of himself but of the young comrade who was foremost in his mind.

"My nozzle man's under me..." (more...)


As Firefighters, we often speak so passionately about our vocation, the bond we share with co-workers and our willingness to serve, that some people think it's a shtick.

Please know however, that in Fire Departments large and small across this great land, there are men and women like those in Daly's column, who are ready in the blink of an eye to place your needs - and if necessary your life, ahead of their own.

The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department would like to extend their condolences to the Carpluk and Reilly families and all of our Brothers and Sisters at the FDNY. They are by no means the only members of our vocation to make such sacrifice this year, but their story resonates strongly and inspires us all.

For more details about this past Sunday's tragedy and the valor that ensued, please visit Firehouse.com

Tip o' the LAFD Helmet to FirefighterCloseCalls.com

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Multiple Victim Traffic Accident

Sunday, August 27, 2006 |

On Sunday, August 27, 2006 at 7:19 AM, three Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, seven LAFD Rescue Ambulances, three EMS Battalion Captains, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Patrick Shanley responded to a Traffic Accident at Laurel Canyon Bl X Sherman Wy in North Hollywood.

First units on the scene reported a four-car accident with eight injures. After assessment and triage by Firefighters and Paramedics, three victims were listed with critical injuries and five were listed with minor injuries.

The vehicle's occupants with critical injuries, a 25 year old male, a 30 year old male, and a 25 year old female were transported to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center and Los Angeles County USC Medical Center respectively.

The victims with minor injuries were transported to other local area hospitals. The cause of the accident is under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.


Submitted by Brian Ballton, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Firefighters Spare Homes in Encino Hills Wildfire

Saturday, August 26, 2006 |

On Saturday, August 26, 2006 at 2:05 PM, forty Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, five LAFD Helicopters, one EMS Battalion Captain, one LAFD Helitender, LAFD Emergency Air, one LAFD Rehab Air Tender, four LAFD Brush Patrols, eleven LAFD Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one LAFD Division Chief Officer Command Team, as well as eight Handcrews and two Helicopters from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, all under the direction of LAFD Assistant Chief Roderick Garcia responded to a Major Emergency Brush Fire near 4501 Encino Avenue in Encino.

Firefighters on the ground and in the air responded quickly to find five acres of medium to heavy brush burning in terrain surrounding the Encino Reservoir.

A mild off-shore breeze at first pushed the fire in a southwest direction towards more than a dozen homes in what proved to be a wind and terrain driven fire.

More than 250 Los Angeles Firefighters, nearly a quarter of the Department's on-duty force, were ultimately brought to battle flames in the steep and rugged terrain of the Santa Monica Mountains surrounding the 209 acre reservoir.

Seven water-dropping helicopters, including an annually LAFD-leased high impact Erickson Air-Crane Helitanker, on it's first local deployment of this year's wildfire season, worked with immense precision to stop the spread of the fire, as ground crews flanked the flames.

A sudden shift in winds allowed some spot fires to hook at the south side of the reservoir, but their presence was short-lived in the face of an effective aerial assault and the onslaught of crews separating fuel from fire with handtools.

It was during this arduous phase of fire attack in thick chaparral that one Los Angeles County Fire Department Handcrew member sustained multiple bee stings, provoking a medical reaction and need for transport to Encino Hospital via LAFD Ambulance. His injury was not believed to be life-threatening.

No other injuries were reported.

Firefighters took full advantage of tactical pre-planning, including the factors of wind, terrain and historical fire behavior to ultimately spare any home from damage.

The fire, which consumed nearly sixty acres of vegetation, was fully contained in just three hours and thirty-two minutes. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Man Dies in Motorhome Fire on L.A. Freeway

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On Saturday, August 26, 2006 at 10:48 AM, two Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, three Arson Units and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Kwame Cooper responded to a Vehicle Fire with Civilian Fatality on the northbound 110 Freeway at 111th Street in South Los Angeles.

Firefighters responded quickly to a passerby's 9-1-1 call of a vehicle fire to discover a fiberglass bodied Class C motorhome thoroughly ablaze without clear evidence of collision, at a gore point of the Harbor Freeway just north of Imperial Highway.

One California Highway Patrol (CHP) Officer and two Los Angeles Police (LAPD) Officers had tenaciously but unsuccessfully battled the flames and at great personal peril, attempted repeated rescue of an adult male who was trapped and calling for help from within the vehicle prior to the Fire Department's arrival.

Despite the prompt response and teamwork between the three agencies, and the timely extinguishment of the blaze by the first arriving fire crew, the man tragically succumbed to flames within the well involved recreational vehicle, and was declared deceased at the scene.

During their valiant effort to rescue the man or prevent flames from reaching him within the rear section of the 1982 Winnebago motorhome, the trio of male Law Enforcement Officers each sustained painful burn injuries.

The first-arriving CHP Officer suffered second degree (moderate) burns to his right ear and first degree (minor) burns to his face, while both LAPD Officers who came to his aid suffered first degree burns to their ears.

No other injuries were reported.

Stoic yet visibly disheartened by the loss of life they had witnessed firsthand, the officers allowed Firefighters to transport them by ambulance to the Emergency Department at Torrance Memorial Medical Center, which hosts a specialized Burn Unit.

Though painful, the officer's injuries were considered to be non-life threatening, and their same-day release from the hospital following initial treatment was anticipated.

While the fire appears to have started in or near the motorhome's engine compartment and spread rapidly rearward, the exact cause of the blaze has yet to be determined.

A positive identification of the dead man, as well as the specific cause of his death will be determined by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Man Drowns in San Fernando Valley Swimming Pool

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On Saturday, August 26, 2006 at 12:05 PM, one Company of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulance and one EMS Battalion Captain responded to a Reported Drowning at 19501 Rinaldi Street in the Porter Ranch area of Los Angeles.

Firefighters, responding to a 9-1-1 call from a passerby unable to effect a rescue, arrived quickly to physically remove the lifeless body of a swimsuit clad adult male from the bottom of a condominium swimming pool.

The 36 year-old man was not seen entering the fenced common-area swimming pool, and his affiliation with the neighborhood could not be immediately determined. Without vital signs of life, he was declared deceased at the scene.

Firefighters surmise that the man may have been swimming alone, breaking one of the cardinal rules of water safety.

Los Angeles Police will be investigating the circumstances surrounding this death, while the man's identity, as well as the precise cause, time and manner of his demise will be determined by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Woman Found Deceased in Winnetka Fire

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UPDATE:On Saturday, August 26, 2006 at 2:22 AM, four Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, three Arson Units, one EMS Battalion Captain and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team under the direction of Battalion Chief James Gaffney responded to a Structure Fire with Civilian Fatality at 7037 Laramie Avenue in Winnetka.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover a small but active blaze in a rear bedroom of a one-story three-bedroom single family home, and made quick work at extinguishing a mattress fire which had filled the 1,225 square-foot residence with thick, blinding smoke.

The body of a forty year-old woman was subsequently discovered by Firefighters in an adjacent closet. Without vital signs of life, she was declared deceased at the scene.

Firefighters surmise that smoke, heat or other factors may have caused the woman to become disoriented, as she appears to have sought refuge from fire in a bedroom closet, rather than directly escaping the flames via the bedroom door or window.

A trio of pre-teen friends staying at the home were awakened from their "sleepover" by a properly functioning smoke alarm and safely escaped the blaze in their night clothes. They alerted the neighbor parent of one of the boys, who called the Fire Department via 9-1-1.

No other injuries were reported.

Firefighters strongly agree that a functional smoke alarm played a key role saving the three young lives.

According to Battalion Chief James Gaffney, a twenty-nine year LAFD veteran, "There is no doubt in my mind that the smoke alarm saved these boys lives" from the thick smoke which had filled the home from floor to ceiling.

The 10 year-old neighbor boy who had been visiting the home overnight was immediately reunited with his parents, while the sons of the deceased, brothers age 9 and 11, were soon met and consoled at the scene by their grandparents.

There were no security bars or other obvious impairment to egress from the home, which was not equipped with fire sprinklers.

Physical damage from the fire was confined to the room of origin. Monetary loss from the blaze is estimated at no more than $10,000 ($5,000 structure & $5,000 contents).

LAFD Investigators have attributed this deadly fire to carelessness with multiple lit candles in the woman's bedroom, which ignited furnishings, including an end table and mattress, which greatly contributed to the heat and intense smoke of the blaze.

The exact cause, time and manner of the woman's death will be determined by staff at the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.

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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Wildfire Scorches Three Acres near Forest Lawn

Thursday, August 24, 2006 |

On Thursday, August 24, 2006 at 5:15 PM, twenty-six Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one LAFD Arson Unit, four LAFD Helicopters, one LAFD Water Tender, one LAFD EMS Battalion Captain, five LAFD Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one LAFD Division Chief Officer Command Team, as well as two Hand Crews, one Supervisor and a Battalion Chief from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, one Company and one Battalion Chief from the Burbank Fire Department, one Company from the Warner Brothers Studio Fire Department and Griffith Park Rangers, all under the direction of LAFD Assistant Chief Michael Fulmis responded to a Brush Fire near 6711 Forest Lawn Drive near Forest Lawn/Hollywood Hills.

Firefighters arrived quickly in response to timely reports of a vegetation fire to discover a quarter-acre of grass burning in steep and inaccessible terrain of the Hollywood Hills immediately southeast of Griffith Park.

More than 100 ground-based Firefighters were soon joined by a quartet of Los Angeles Fire Department helicopters that effectively flanked the flames with repeated precision water drops.



Because shifting winds of nearly ten miles-per-hour caused the fire to nearly double in size in a short period of time, bringing flames closer to heavy brush, high voltage power lines and homes more than a half-mile away, additional LAFD Engine Companies were briskly deployed in the role of structure protection in the sparsely populated surrounding hillsides.

With nearly 200 personnel from a multitude of agencies soon in place, LAFD Command Staff utilized pre-plans and worked in close concert with LAFD Firefighter/Pilots to determine and monitor real-time fire behavior for the duration of the blaze, which was brought under control in little more than an hour after consuming three acres of brush and grass in remote and rugged terrain.

No structures or power lines were damaged, and there were no evacuations or injuries. Though Warner Brothers Studio and Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills Memorial Park remain the closest identifiable landmarks to the blaze, neither were endangered by the fire.

Firefighters will remain on site throughout the night to prevent and flare-ups. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

(cgm video courtesy of Karl)
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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Passerby Rescues Woman From North Hollywood Fire

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Photo courtesy of Christian Granucci LAFD. Click for more images...On Thursday, August 24, 2006 at 4:31 PM, ten Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, five LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, two Hazardous Materials Squads, three EMS Battalion Captains, four Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Assistant Chief Curtis James responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 10706 Victory Boulevard in North Hollywood.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover heavy fire showing from the window of one downstairs unit of a modern 17-unit, two-story over parking garden-style condominium.

As flames lapped from the downstairs east side window of the involved unit towards an untimely opened window of the condominium above, Firefighters laboriously extended handlines to do quick battle within the 777 square-foot unit from a center courtyard, as their colleagues forced entry to successfully defend the upstairs residence.

As a tenacious firefight continued, Firefighters were made aware of a passing motorist who had seen the smoke and attempted to force entry into the involved unit. The Burbank man, unable to access the fiercely burning residence, then broke a window to force entry into an adjacent unit filling with smoke, and in the words of Battalion Chief Evan Williams "heroically rescued" a 92 year-old female resident.

Firefighter/Paramedics went immediately to the aid of the woman, as well as to her rescuer, who had sustained a sizeable laceration to his left hand during his rescue effort.

Brisk and skilful work by Firefighters confined the bulk of the fire to a bedroom in the unit of origin, and extinguished the flames in just eighteen minutes.

Thankfully, the woman's smoke exposure was minimal, and the man's hand quickly bandaged, as both declined further treatment or transportation. One Firefighter was subsequently examined for possible thermal exposure to his neck, before immediately returning to duty on the fireground.

No other injuries were reported.

Not present at the time of the fire yet displaced by the blaze, were an adult female resident of the involved unit and her two year-old son, who were to seek their own accommodations.

Fire loss to non-fire sprinklered two bedroom, two bath condominium unit is estimated at $95,000 ($75,000 structure & $20,000 contents). The cause of this late afternoon blaze is listed as electrical, with a focus on wiring behind upholstered furniture.

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incident images courtesy of battalion14.blogspot.com

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Brush Fire Injures 3 LAFD Firefighters

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 |

On Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 11:44 AM, thirteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one LAFD Rescue Ambulance, one Arson Unit, one Rehab Unit, two Helicopters, one EMS Battalion Captain, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one Division Chief Officer Command Team, Emergency Air, three Beverly Hills Fire Companies, and one Beverly Hills Battalion Commander all under the direction of Battalion Chief Daryl Arbuthnott responded to a Brush Fire at Robmar Dr. and Beverly Dr. in Bel Air Estates/Holmby Hills.

Firefighters arrived to find a narrow strip of fire burning uphill in a steep, inaccessible canyon. With several homes in the potential path of the fire, the incident commander immediately requested additional fire companies and deployed firefighters in strategic positions to protect the structures. Firefighters from L.A City and Beverly Hills conducted the arduous task of aggressively attacking the fire to limit it's spread to adjacent vegetation.

It took Firefighters almost one hour using ground and air resources to fully contain the fire and limit it's progression to less than 1 acre. During firefighting operations, three LAFD Firefighters were injured and transported to UCLA Medical Center.

One Firefighter suffered a seizure while fighting the fire, one Firefighter was suffering from heat exhaustion, and another Firefighter was struck in the mouth with a shovel. All three were treated and released. The Firefighter suffering the seizure was placed off duty, while the other two Firefighters returned to duty. The fire was caused by a transformer fire and power line malfunction.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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LAFD Captain Participates in United Airlines Flight 93 Memorial Ceremony

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 |

Captain Steve Ruda, the Los Angeles Fire Department's "Firefighter of the Year" for 2005, has been honored with the privilege of participating in the 2006 United Airlines Flight 93 National Memorial Ceremony. Captain Ruda will be reading the names of those brave individuals aboard Flight 93 who lost their lives on that fateful day, September 11, 2001.

Steve is widely known for an inspiring message he wrote on a quilted wall hanging, sent as a tribute to the passengers and crew of September 11's Flight 93. His heartfelt opening words soon became the Mission Statement of the Flight 93 National Memorial:

"A common field one day. A field of honor forever. May all who visit this place remember the collective acts of courage and sacrifice of the passengers and crew, revere this hallowed ground as the final resting place of those heroes, and reflect on the power of individuals who choose to make a difference."

The Flight 93 Memorial service to be held on 9/11 in Shanksville, PA is one of dozens of memorial services held Nationwide honoring those who lost their lives or were injured in the terrorist attack.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Firefighter Breaks Arm At Structure Fire

Monday, August 21, 2006 |

On Monday, August 21, 2006 at 12:52 PM, five 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 Darrell Arbuthnott responded to a Structure Fire at 107 N. Delfern Dr. in Bel Air Estates/Holmby Hills.

A single family home sustained significant damage to the attic and roof area during a routine fire. Using ladders to access the roof, Firefighters cut holes to access the attic area and assist in extinguishing the fire. It took Firefighters less than 20 minutes to extinguish the fire, saving the home from extensive damage.

Unfortunately, one firefighter sustained a severely broken arm while exiting the roof via a ground ladder. As the Firefighter was ascending the ladder and exiting onto the roof, the ladder began slipping, trapping his arm between the roof edge and a ladder rung, snapping both bones in his forearm.

The firefighter then fell approximately six feet to the ground below. The Firefighter was transported to UCLA Medical Center where he was admitted and will be undergoing surgery to repair his fractured arm.

The fire was caused by a faulty pool heater vent and caused $30,000 damage ($20,000 Structure and $10,000 Contents).

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Two Big Rigs Collide, Crash Kills One

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On Monday, August 21, 2006 at 11:55 AM, seven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Helicopter, one EMS Battalion Captain, and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Michael Bowman responded to a Traffic Collision with a Fire Fatality on the Southbound 5 Freeway south of Sheldon St. in Panorama City/Arleta.

Firefighters, in route to the call, observed a large "loom-up" in the vicinity of the reported crash. Upon arriving on scene, Firefighters were immediately confronted with a crash involving two big rigs and an automobile. A tractor trailer diesel truck traveling southbound on I-5 slammed into the rear of a tractor truck that was not carrying a trailer.

Upon impact, both vehicles burst into flames. In addition, diesel fuel leaking on the freeway ignited over a path of several hundred feet. Compounding the conflagration, vegetation on the nearby hillside caught fire creating a potentially hazardous brush fire situation.

Firefighters rapidly extinguished the local vegetation fire and used foam to suppress the flames associated with the spilled diesel fuel. Dikes were constructed to contain the fuel runoff and prevent the spread of flammable liquids from reaching storm drains. Additional Firefighters worked simultaneously to extinguish the blazing trucks. After extinguishing the two diesel trucks, the body of one deceased patient was found, severely burned, within the truck that had been rear-ended.

The patient was declared dead at the scene. Three other patients were treated and transported for minor injuries. The cause of the accident and the circumstances surrounding this fatality are under investigation by a variety of law enforcement authorities.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Two Dead After Train Crashes Into Car

Sunday, August 20, 2006 |

Sunday, August 20, 2006 at 9:03 AM, four Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, seven LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Heavy Rescue, two EMS Battalion Captains, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Raymundo Gomez responded to a Traffic Collision involving a Metro Blue Line train and a passenger car.

First units reported that the Blue Line Train light rail train had collided with a private vehicle and four people were trapped inside the car. Firefighters quickly assessed the 4 victims and declared two fatalities, and two with critical injuries.

The vehicle's occupants with critical injuries, a 55 year old female and a 7 year old male, were transported to Los Angeles County USC Medical Center.

There were approximately 200 passengers on the train, 7 of which sustained minor neck and back injuries. Of the 7 minor injuries, 6 were transported to local hospitals in good condition.

The cause of the accident is under investigation by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Los Angeles Police Department.

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Submitted by Brian Ballton
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Boy Drowns in Los Angeles River

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 |

On Tuesday, August 15, 2006 at 1:53 PM, eleven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, two LAFD Helicopters, one LAFD Swift Water Rescue Team, two LAFD Dive Teams, one LAFD Rehab Unit, one LAFD Hazardous Materials Squad, one EMS Battalion Captain, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, one Division Chief Officer Command Team and Los Angeles Police Department resources, including the LAPD Underwater Dive Unit, under the Unified Command of Los Angeles Police and Fire Department Command Officers, responded to a Water Rescue and Recovery Effort near 1555 North San Fernando Road in the Los Angeles community of Glassell Park.

According to witnesses, a group of young teens had been playing immediately adjacent to the Los Angeles River, when one youth, reportedly in an attempt to retrieve a fishing pole, fell into the slow moving and murky water of the urban flood control channel, instantly slipping beneath the surface.

The remaining children, who were reportedly his siblings, flagged down a passing Los Angeles Department of Water and Power crew who in turn summoned rescuers via the utility's communications center.

A seasonally appropriate still water rescue response brought highly trained ground-based and airborne LAFD crews immediately to the scene, as they were subsequently joined by LAFD dive teams ferried by Fire Department helicopter to the locale.

In a well-rehearsed and seamless fashion, Firefighters were soon joined by and working alongside Los Angeles Police Officers, including one of twelve LAPD Underwater Dive Unit members dispatched to the scene.

Working strategically and in close coordination with LAFD Helicopters and Water Rescue trained Firefighters along the shore, the underwater rescue and recovery effort continued unabated in zero-visibility conditions for more than two hours, as the joint Police and Fire Department Dive Team meticulously searched the location in a grid-like fashion.

At 4:01 PM, divers located the submerged and lifeless body of the boy a short distance downstream from where he was last seen. Beyond the help of medicine, Firefighter/Divers declared him deceased at the scene.

As multiple media helicopters circled overhead and camera crews closely surrounded the recovery site, dive team members went to great lengths to respect and protect the boy's dignity, shrouding him underwater and laboriously bringing his remains to a shoreside canopy shelter.

The many emergency responders who entered or who were exposed to the brackish water, including the dive team, were systematically rinsed at the scene by LAFD Hazardous Materials experts well-versed in such procedures.

There were no responder injuries reported.

Firefighters were not able to ascertain the boy's swimming skills or whether he sustained a specific injury or entanglement in the fall. Los Angeles Police Officers handled notification of next of kin, while offering compassionate support to the child witnesses and extended family of the victim.

A positive identification of the decedent, as well as the precise cause, time and manner of his death will be determined by Coroner's officials.

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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Metro Buses Collide in Downtown Los Angeles

Monday, August 14, 2006 |

On Monday, August 14, 2006 at 5:52 AM, two Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, ten LAFD Rescue Ambulances, three EMS Battalion Captains, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Raymundo Gomez responded to a Multi-Patient Traffic Collision at the intersection of Venice Boulevard and Olive Street in Downtown Los Angeles.

According to witnesses, a pair of Metro transit buses collided at the intersection of Venice Boulevard and Olive Street, with one of the buses coming to rest within an adjacent building.

A total of twelve patients were evaluated, nine of which required transport to the local area hospitals. The cause of the crash in under active investigation.

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Submitted by Brian Ballton, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Video: 'Quail Incident' Wildfire in Gorman, California

Sunday, August 13, 2006 |

CGM Video: 'Quail Incident' Brush Fire



One Los Angeles Fire Department Strike Team and two LAFD Helicopters were summoned to assist our colleagues at the Los Angeles County Fire Department in battling flames at their "Quail Incident" wildland fire near the rural community of Gorman, in northern Los Angeles County, California on August 13, 2006.

(Video courtesy of Karl)

We welcome Citizen Generated Media (CGM) that portrays our agency in action. To have your images or video considered for inclusion in this Los Angeles Fire Department blog, please tag it 'LAFD' when posting it to your favorite video or photo sharing service.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Blue Line Train vs Automobile

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On Saturday, August 12, 2006 at 8:50 PM, two Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, seven LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one EMS Battalion Captain, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Timothy Ernst responded to a collision between a Metro Blue Line train and a passenger car.

First units reported that a Blue Line Train had collided with a private vehicle with two occupants. Firefighters initiated rapid triage, starting with the automobile's passengers and concluding with all individuals on the train. The vehicle's occupants sustained moderate injuries. A total of 7 patients were treated and transported to local area hospitals.


Submitted by Brian Ballton, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Structure Fire at Los Angeles City Hall

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On Saturday, August 12, 2006 at 8:52 PM, twelve Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one LAFD Rescue Ambulance, one Arson Unit, one Hazardous Materials Team, one EMS Battalion Captain, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Assistant Chief Michael Fulmis responded to a water flow alarm, later upgraded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at Los Angeles City Hall, 200 North Spring Street in the Civic Center.

Firefighters arrived promptly to an alarm condition and reports of smoke in a non-occupied ninth-floor to find that fire sprinklers had extinguished a small fire. Due to the large amount of water generated by the sprinklers, LAFD Companies evacuated water from the ninth, eighth and seventh floors.

There were no reported injuries. The cause is under investigation. The dollar loss is still being tabulated.


Submitted by Brian Ballton, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Major Emergency Fire At Paper Recycling Plant

Saturday, August 12, 2006 |

On Saturday, August 12, 2006 at 2:43 PM, sixteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, four LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Rehab Unit, one Hazardous Materials Team, two EMS Battalion Captains, three Battalion Chief Officer Command teams, one Division Chief Officer Command Team, fourteen LACoFD companies, and two LACoFD Battalion Chief Officers, under the direction of LAFD Battalion Chief Kwame Cooper responded to a Major Emergency Fire at 20502 Denker Avenue in the Harbor Gateway area of the City of Los Angeles.

First units on the scene encountered heavy fire conditions involving a large amount of recycled news print stored outside in an area approximately 300' x 100' in size.

Firefighters fought a tenacious battle and simultaneously deployed multiple master streams and Class A foam in a brisk defensive operation to prevent the fire from spreading to buildings on the north and south.

The well-coordinated effort of more than 158 Firefighters confined the fire to the Smurfit-Stone Paper Recycling Plant, and extinguished the flames in 113 minutes. There were no reported injuries. The dollar loss is estimated at $300,000, and the cause of the blaze remains under active investigation.

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Submitted by Brian Ballton, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Structure Collapse Injures Worker

Friday, August 11, 2006 |

On Friday, August 11, 2006 at 2:06 PM, eight Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, seven LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Heavy Rescue, one Urban Search and Rescue Task Force, one Hazardous Materials Team, one Helicopter, two EMS Battalion Captains, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Assistant Chief Ralph Terrazas responded to a Structural Collapse at 2738 S. Mansfield Av. in Mid-City.

Workers attempting to move a 700 square-foot guest house, jacked the house into the air and were working under the house when it suddenly collapsed trapping a 35 year-old male worker under the structure. Fortunately, the worker was in a position between the floor joists when the house settled.

Though not crushed, the worker was severely pinned against the ground, between the floor joists and the dirt. When Firefighters arrived, they immediately began stabilizing the structure using cribbing and heavy lift air bags. Fellow Firefighters entered the structure attempting to locate the worker under the floor.

After identifying the location of the worker, chainsaws and other heavy rescue tools were used to cut through the wood flooring and floor joists to gain access to the patient. LAFD Urban Search and Rescue personnel, utilizing a variety of tools and techniques were able to remove the patient from his precarious position, provide medical care, and remove the patient to a waiting gurney located outside of the compromised structure.

The patient was transported to Cedar Sinai Medical Center in stable condition suffering from pelvic and abdominal injuries. A second 35 year-old male suffered a minor ankle injury and was transported to Kaiser Hospital in West Los Angeles. The circumstances regarding this incident are under investigation.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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LAFD Assists LAPD With Barricaded Paraplegic

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On Thursday, August 10, 2006 at 7:31 AM, seven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, ten LAFD Rescue Ambulances, three EMS Battalion Captains, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, and support of the local Red Cross, all under the direction of Battalion Chief Peter Benesch responded to a Barricaded Suspect at 29th St. and Maple Av. in South Los Angeles/Newton.

Firefighters arrived to support the Los Angeles Police Department in mitigating a situation involving a barricaded suspect inside of a two-story single family home. The suspect, a despondent paraplegic with a rifle, was barricaded on the first floor as the hostage remained trapped on the second floor. After hours of negotiations, the hostage was released unharmed.

LAPD SWAT officers and Negotiators worked tirelessly in an effort to resolve the situation without using deadly force or jeopardizing officers or the community. Approximately 50 individuals were evacuated to a safe location and provided shelter and food by the Red Cross. Over the course of 20 hours, teams of Firefighters and Paramedics were rotated into the command post in an effort to reduce fatigue and still provide adequate resources in the event of any conflagration.

As SWAT officers were observing the suspect, they took advantage of a momentary period of inattentiveness when the suspect dropped the rifle, to storm the home and secure the suspect without harm or injury to him or the officers involved. The suspect was placed into protective custody and transported to a local hospital for evaluation. The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation by the LAPD.

Any further requests for information should be directed to the Los Angeles Police Department. Over the course of the incident, over 60 Firefighters and dozens of Law Enforcement officials took part in the successful conclusion of this incident.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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The LAFD Asks: Did You Forget?

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Some must apparently flip pages on a calendar to bring them closer to their promise - while for others, each passing day takes them further away.

Today, we simply ask for four minutes of your time, because no one should wait a month to answer the question...

Did You Forget?




We encourage you to ask this question of your friends and family.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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LAFD Mailbag: Kudos to Chatsworth's Fire Station 96

Thursday, August 10, 2006 |

While we take our greatest pleasure and sense of duty in preventing fire, it is always heartening to receive notes of appreciation from those we proudly serve.

It was therefore quite touching to discover a personal blogpost regarding a potentially devastating fire we responded to last Friday, when an overloaded wall adapter sparked a Chatsworth blaze. Their blog posting read...

Brian;

On behalf of my family I would like to thank the firefighters who fought the fire at our residence at 22037 Gledhill Street, Chatsworth on Friday August 4th. Following my wife’s 911 call the fire department’s response was amazing. The quick response and the bravery of the firefighters ensured that our house was not totally destroyed. To each of the men who responded we give our heartfelt thanks. Not only were we impressed with their efficiency but also with their empathy and courtesy. For those who complain about the 911 system we have only the highest regard. We know that other fire stations participated but our special thanks to Station 96.

Thanks to all,

The Family of
22037 Gledhill Street
Chatsworth, Ca 91311


We're humbled by your praise, and are pleased to share your note with all of our Firefighters, including responders from Battalion 15 and especially first-arriving crews from Fire Station 96.

Please rest assured that they and all members of the Los Angeles Fire Department pledge to do their utmost to remain worthy of such respect and praise.

We do hope that you and your neighbors in Chatsworth will join Firefighters and their families - and those we serve from throughout the San Fernando Valley, on Saturday, September 16, 2006 at the 6th Annual Benefit For Our Bravest Street Fair in Encino.

'Benefit For Our Bravest' is a great chance to meet your Neighborhood Firefighters, as we gather on behalf of the local Adopt-a-Fire-Station programs supporting Fire Stations within the San Fernando Valley.

Again, thanks for the kind words. They mean more than you know.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

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

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Senseless Hollywood Blaze Kills Cat and Injures Dog

Tuesday, August 08, 2006 |

On Tuesday, August 8, 2006 at 10:34 AM, thirteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, four LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Hazardous Materials Squad, three EMS Battalion Captains, five Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Assistant Chief Michael Fulmis responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 5741 Carlton Way in Hollywood.

Firefighters arrived quickly to find heavy fire showing from one unit on the top floor of a 36,710 square-foot three-story apartment building.

Using handlines, Firefighters mounted a brisk offense against well-entrenched flames within the one unit, confining the fire to a bedroom and extinguishing blaze in just fourteen minutes.

As the fire was completely extinguished and property salvage efforts continued, Firefighters identified two residents and a dog who had escaped the blaze. Suffering mild to moderate effects from smoke and heat exposure, the 67 year-old man and his 23 year-old daughter adamantly declined treatment and hospital transport.

While the father and daughter arranged care for their pet dog which had sustained a minor burn injury, it became the painful task of Firefighters to advise them that their pet cat had succumbed to the flames.

There were no other injuries reported.

The presence or functional status of smoke alarms within the involved unit at the time of the fire could not be immediately determined. The apartment was not equipped with fire sprinklers.

Because their apartment was temporarily untenable, the man and woman were referred to the American Red Cross for placement assistance.

Monetary loss from the fire is estimated at $40,000 ($30,000 structure & $10,000 contents). The cause of this late-morning blaze is categorized as accidental and attributed to carelessness with a candle.

This fire comes less than three weeks following the U.S. Fire Administration's formal release of an official report highlighting the fact that nationwide on an annual basis, candles are responsible for an estimated 23,600 residential structure fires, cause 1,525 civilian injuries, 165 fatalities and $390 million in direct property loss.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Greater Alarm Commercial Fire Destroys Dry Cleaners

Sunday, August 06, 2006 |

On Sunday, August 6, 2006 at 4:44 AM, fifteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, four LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, one Hazardous Materials Team, one EMS Battalion Captain, three 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 10324 N. Sepulveda Bl. in Mission Hills.

Firefighters arrived to find a large strip mall with heavy fire showing thru the roof of one unit. Firefighters, concerned for the adjacent occupancies, immediately began attacking the fire from the ground, while fellow Firefighters ascended to the roof to provide vertical ventilation. Due to a compromise in the integrity of the roof, firefighters on the roof withdrew to a safe distance and began cutting a ventilation "Strip" or "Trench" .

The "Strip" or "Trench" operation, an arduous task which requires cutting a ventilation strip that runs the depth of the structure, perpendicular to the front of the building, attempts to prevent the spread of fire to adjacent units.

Due to the aggressive defensive efforts provided by the Firefighters, the fire was controlled in just under one hour and the majority of damage was confined to the initial unit involved.

Three adjacent units did suffer some fire damage as the fire attempted to gain a foothold in the attic. Fortunately, Firefighters were pre-positioned within those units and were able to locate and extinguish the attic fires before they were able to destroy those units. In all, over 100 Firefighters worked in concert to prevent this fire from damaging and destroying the entire building.

There were no reported injuries. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation and the dollar loss will be tabulated at a later time.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Apartment Fire Critically Injures Fifty-Three Year-Old Man

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On Saturday, August 5, 2006 at 11:39 PM, four Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one EMS Battalion Captain and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team under the direction of Battalion Chief Brian Schultz responded to a Structure Fire With a Civilian Injury at 6827 N. Whitsett Ave in North Hollywood.

The first arriving Firefighters reported nothing showing from a two-story apartment building with a loft area above the units. Upon investigation, one unit was found to be charged with hot smoke. Firefighters immediately performed ventilation operations on the roof as two teams of Firefighters attacked the fire within the small apartment, while simultaneously conducting search and rescue operations.

Firefighters discovered and immediately removed a 53 year-old male from within the burned apartment. Paramedics immediately began performing life saving procedures on the non-breathing patient in an effort to save his life. The patient, suffering from critical second and third degree burns over 50 percent of his body, was intubated and transported to Sherman Oaks Community Hospital in extremely critical condition. The patient was admitted through the Emergency Department as doctors and nurses worked feverishly to save his life.

The patient is currently listed as extremely critical. The cause of this fire is currently under investigation. The dollar loss is estimated at $15,000 ($5,000 Contents and $10,000 Structure).

Submitted by Ron Myers
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Overloaded Wall Adapter Sparks Chatsworth Blaze

Friday, August 04, 2006 |

On Friday, August 4, 2006 at 10:31 PM, four Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Hazardous Materials Squad, one EMS Battalion Captain and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team under the direction of Battalion Chief Patrick Engel responded to a Structure Fire at 22037 Gledhill Street in Chatsworth.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover heavy fire showing from a two-story single family dwelling.

An aggressive and well-coordinated interior fire attack supported by strategic ventilation allowed thirty-one Firefighters to confine flames to the first floor room of origin and extinguish the blaze in less than twenty minutes.

There were no injuries.

Witnesses statements were initially taken to infer that a total of six persons, including four adults and two children, had been poolside in the rear yard of the home when they heard a Smoke Alarm activation from within the residence.

Promptly investigating the sound, the adults discovered the home to be charged with smoke and wisely retreated, remaining in the safety of the yard while immediately contacting 9-1-1 from their cell phone.

This timely 9-1-1 call was received by Firefighter/Dispatchers prior to a pair of calls from an alarm monitoring service.

The brisk 9-1-1 notification and response, combined with meticulous salvage efforts by Firefighters within the home during the blaze, limited fire damage to just $75,000 ($50,000 structure & $25,000 contents).

The one male and one female displaced by the flames stated a desire to seek accommodations with relatives.

The cause of the blaze is categorized as electrical, and attributed to an overloaded multiple-outlet wall adapter used in a home office.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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