Fire in South Los Angeles Displaces Fourteen

Saturday, September 30, 2006 |

On Friday, September 29, 2006 at 11:04 PM, fourteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, four LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Hazardous Materials Squad, two EMS Battalion Captains, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Richard Rideout responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 331 West 70th Street in South Los Angeles.

Firefighters arrived quickly to find heavy fire in a row of three garages to the rear of a residential structure, with flames spreading to a tree and the adjacent second-story addition and attic of a neighboring one-story single family home.

Despite swift-moving flames and the compromise of an external stairway during fire attack, 101 Los Angeles Firefighters used a well-coordinated effort of handlines and vertical ventilation to confine the flames to the aforementioned structures and extinguish the blaze in just 33 minutes.

There were no injuries.

Loss from the fire is estimated at $75,000 ($65,000 structure & $10,000 contents). Fourteen persons from two families were displaced by the flames. The American Red Cross coordinated temporary accommodations for three adults and two children from one family, and four adults and five children from another.

The cause of the fire is listed as 'accidental' and is attributed to the atypical use of a portable fluorescent lighting fixture by a person who had been living in one of the garages.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Family Bonus on 'Museum Day' in Hollywood

Friday, September 29, 2006 |

LAFD Museum and Memorial. Click to learn more...
This Saturday, September 30, 2006 is Museum Day.

In recognition of Museum Day, the men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department invite you to a day of free admission at the LAFD Museum and Memorial.

Saturday, September 30, 2006
10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
LAFD Museum & Memorial
1355 North Cahuenga Boulevard
Hollywood, California 90028

The LAFD Museum and Memorial will be open and welcoming guests free of charge this Saturday, so plan your family's peek into the amazing history of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

We are pleased to provide an interactive map and driving directions. All are welcome!

For further information, call the LAFD Museum at (323) 464-2727 or visit:

PLEASE NOTE: Saturday's festivities at the LAFD Museum formally recognize the national 'Museum Day' movement. It should not be confused with the similar-sounding 'Museums Free-For-All' taking place the following day at several Los Angeles locations. The LAFD Museum will not be open on Sunday!

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Grand Opening of new LAFD Station 65 in Watts

Thursday, September 28, 2006 |

The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department welcome you to join Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Councilmember Janice Hahn, Fire Chief William Bamattre and civic and community leaders at the public dedication and grand opening of the LAFD's newest Neighborhood Fire Station.

Saturday, September 30, 2006
10:00 AM
New Fire Station 65
1801 East Century Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90002

We are pleased to offer an interactive map and driving directions to this new facility, which is now in service and protecting the Watts area of South Los Angeles.

Following Saturday's brief dedication ceremony, there will be free food and entertainment as well as a chance to tour Southern California's newest Fire Station. All members of the community are warmly welcomed to this family-themed public event.

Please let us share a fascinating bit of history about Fire Station 65...

With progress and prosperity in our City following World War I, a large expanse of construction was soon taking place in our City's southeastern region. To serve this burgeoning and largely unincorporated area, the independent Watts Fire Department was founded on November 6,1924.

Less than two years later on May 29, 1926 the City of Los Angeles annexed the community of Watts, and the four members of the Watts Fire Department became part the LAFD. The Watts' near-new 1924 Seagrave Suburban combination pumper and hose wagon was christened LAFD Engine Company 65 and took up residence in Watts tiny station at 1645 East 103rd Street.

This annexing was highlighted in the LAFD's 40th Annual Report of June 1926.

With the economic boom following The Great Depression and our City swiftly expanding, a decision was made to house LAFD's Engine Company 65 in a building shared equally with Police officials.

On July 6, 1936, LAFD Engine Company 65 and Truck Company 65 moved into the combination Police/Fire substation at 1525 East 103rd Street. This is the very site and building that the crew and apparatus occupied until just a few weeks ago!

Built on a 10,010 square foot site that cost the City $19,200 to acquire and $61,890 to build (both the Police and Fire Station) the recently closed location proudly served the citizens of Los Angeles for seven decades.

With construction and key building systems that predated modern necessities - and all but precluded operational efficiency, Old Fire Station 65 struggled to support the needs of contemporary Firefighters and Firefighter/Paramedics in protecting those who live in the Station's very busy 2.97 square-mile district.

In fact, by 1960, Fire Station 65 was already eclipsed by more modern and capable Fire Stations appearing in many Los Angeles neighborhoods.

Because the former property was too small to support a new or revamped Fire Station, Proposition F of November 2000 has now provided the community of Watts with a new Fire Station 65 not far from its former location.

To learn more about new Fire Station 65 and the many facilities to be built or remodeled by Proposition F, please visit:

The men and women of the LAFD look forward to seeing you and your family on Saturday, September 30 in Watts!

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Civilian Fatality Fire


On Thursday, September 28, 2006 at 5:36 AM, one Company of Los Angeles Firefighters, one LAFD Rescue Ambulance, one EMS Battalion Captain, under the direction of Captain I Donald Paone responded to a reported Cardiac Arrest at 1452 S. Norton Ave. in West Adams/Harvard Heights.

First units arrived to find the body of a deceased 54 year old male in a rear unit of a two story apartment complex. Although there was no active fire at the time LAFD units arrived , it appeared that the man, while cooking, succumbed to 2nd degree burns to his entire body.

The Office of the Los Angeles County Coroner will seek to positively identify the deceased, as well as determine the exact cause and manner of his death. Los Angeles Police Department officials also remain part of what LAFD Investigators describe as an active investigation.

Submitted by Brian Ballton, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Man Critically Injured when Pickup Strikes Semi

Tuesday, September 26, 2006 |

Pickup Truck vs Semi Trailer in Canoga Park. Click for more images...On Monday, September 25, 2006 at 10:57 PM, two Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one LAFD Paramedic Rescue Ambulance and one EMS Battalion Captain responded to a Traffic Collision with Entrapment in the 8300 block of Canoga Avenue in Canoga Park.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover the driver and sole occupant of a full-sized pickup truck trapped in the wreckage of his vehicle when it collided with the trailer of a parked big rig.

Firefighters disentangled the 35 year-old man from the vehicle in less than ten minutes.

LAFD Paramedics briskly transported him to Northridge Hospital Medical Center in critical condition due to head trauma and altered consciousness. No other injuries were reported.

This collision is under investigation by Los Angeles Police Department officials.

(images) (slideshow)

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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When Little Things Mean A Lot

Monday, September 25, 2006 |

Funeral Procession for LAFD Captain Lane Kemper. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Funeral Procession approaches Chatsworth Park School. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Chatsworth Park Preschool students and staff extend their condolences. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Words cannot express how touched we were by this thoughtful gesture from the staff and students at Chatsworth Park School, who stood patiently and politely in honor of Captain Lane Kemper.

Click photos to enlarge

(images) (slideshow)

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Woman Clings To Life Following Mid-Town Blaze

Sunday, September 24, 2006 |

On Sunday, September 24, 2006 at 11:04 PM, eleven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, five LAFD Rescue Ambulances, three Arson Units, three Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Hazardous Materials Squad, two EMS Battalion Captains, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 94 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief John Drake, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire with Civilian Burn Injury at 866 South Norton Avenue in the Greater Wilshire/Mid-Town area of Los Angeles.

Firefighters arrived within two minutes of the 9-1-1 call to discover heavy fire showing from the first floor of a 2,768 square-foot two-story single family home.

A brisk primary search was commenced by the first-arriving Firefighters, who subsequently rescued an 83 year-old woman from the vicinity of a hospital-style bed in the home's front living room.

The invalid woman's adult female caretaker had earlier tucked her in for the night, sought to make her more comfortable, and then retired to her own first-floor accommodations in the rear of the house.

Just after 11:00 PM, the caretaker heard the woman scream for help, and fearing for her medical well-being, began calling 9-1-1.

As the caretaker's call was connected to LAFD Firefighter/Dispatchers, she completed her journey to the front room, only to be confronted with flames.

With fire beginning to spread rapidly in the room, the caretaker attempted to move the physically infirm woman to a wheelchair as several properly functioning smoke alarms began to sound throughout the Victorian-style home.

The caretaker's repeated attempts were unsuccessful however, and she was ultimately driven back by the heat, smoke and flames before being forced to flee the home unscathed.

Firefighters pulled the invalid woman from the blaze with blinding speed, but not before she sustained massive second- and third-degree burns from the swift-moving fire, which was confined to the room of origin and extinguished in just nineteen minutes.

LAFD Paramedics provided the burned octogenarian with skillful and compassionate care while rushing her to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in grave condition.

No other injuries were reported.

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

Monetary loss from the fire was limited to $35,000 ($25,000 structure & $10,000 contents).

The cause of the blaze is categorized as accidental and remains under active investigation by Los Angeles Fire Department officials.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Suspicious Fire at Sun Valley Junior High School


On Sunday, September 24, 2006 at 6:49 PM, twelve Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, one Hazardous Materials Squad, one EMS Battalion Captain, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Thomas Ottman responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 7330 Bakman Avenue in Sun Valley.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover fire showing from one first floor room in a two story office building on the Sun Valley Middle School campus.

Firefighters using handlines mounted a brisk interior offense on the fire, confining the intense flames to the non-fire sprinklered office area of origin and extinguishing the blaze in just sixteen minutes.

There were no injuries.

Fire attack and salvage efforts by the 82 Los Angeles Fire Department responders severely limited fire damage to the administrative area of origin. The fire did not involve classrooms, and according to school staff, would have no direct impact on students.

Loss from the fire is estimated at $80,000 ($50,000 structure & $30,000 contents). The cause of the blaze is considered suspicious, and remains the focus of an active joint investigation by School Officials and Los Angeles Police and Fire Department Investigators.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Fire Consumes 25 Acres at Harbor Regional Park


On Sunday, September 24, 2006 at 2:55 PM, twenty-one Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one LAFD Rescue Ambulance, one Arson Unit, three LAFD Helicopters, one LAFD Helitender, one EMS Battalion Captain, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, as well as two Handcrews and one Crew Supervisor from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, all under the direction of LAFD Assistant Chief Robert Franco responded to a Major Emergency Brush Fire near 1400 West L Street in the Wilmington/Harbor City area of Los Angeles.

Firefighters arrived quickly at the Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park to discover four acres of grass and brush ablaze, being fanned by strong north winds.

Dozens attending a weekend 'swap-meet' marketplace in the adjacent Los Angeles Harbor College parking lot were calmly evacuated without injury, as smoke from the swift-moving fire banked low to the ground.

More than 120 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel battled the stubborn wind-whipped flames on the ground and from the air.

They were soon joined by handcrews from the Los Angeles County Fire Department in coordinating the ground effort with repetitive and precise water drops from a pair of LAFD helicopters that used the adjacent Naval Fuel Depot helispot.

Despite the variety of highly flammable plantlife and inaccessible terrain, including tall dry weeds in expansive marshland, the wind-driven flames were held to 25 acres of vegetation and confined in less than two hours.

No structures were threatened or damaged by the flames, which caused no injury.

The cause of the fire remains undetermined.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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North Hollywood Explosion: Failure To Follow Instructions


On Sunday, September 24, 2006 at 10:06 AM, three Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Rehab/Air Tender Unit, one EMS Battalion Captain and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team under the direction of Battalion Chief Peter Benesch responded to an explosion at 5505 Bonner Avenue in North Hollywood.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover residents streaming from a two story garden style apartment building on the southwest corner of Cumpston Street and Bonner Avenue.

Firefighters safely directed the seventeen adult and five child evacuees across Cumpston Street as they commenced a systematic search of the twelve apartments in the 5,197 square-foot building.

There was no fire, but structural damage was evident.

Pursuant of protocol, the Southern California Gas Company responded to the scene, and Los Angeles Housing Department officials were notified.

Firefighters soon determined that fifteen full-release aerosol insecticide 'bug bombs' had been used contrary to instructions within one upstairs apartment in an effort to exterminate pests.

An adult male occupying the apartment below at the time of the blast was the only person injured. Following care for a minor head laceration, he declined further treatment or transportation.

Inspectors from the City's Department of Building and Safety later evaluated the integrity of the 42 year-old wood frame and stucco structure, and declared all but two of the dozen apartments fit for occupancy.

The upstairs apartment in which the blast occurred, and the apartment immediately below it were deemed unfit for tenancy pending repairs.

The four persons who occupied the pair of damaged apartments were to receive placement assistance from the building owner.

Loss from the blast is estimated at $110,000 ($85,000 structure & $25,000 contents). Firefighters determined the explosion was caused by flammable vapors from the excessive number of fumigant canisters coming into contact with the pilot light of the kitchen stove, which the occupant failed to extinguish prior to discharging the insecticide.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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That Really Big Fire Near Los Angeles...


Search inquiries at the LAFD Blog indicate continued interest in a massive wildfire in the national forest "near Los Angeles" that has burned into Ventura County, at times threatening the communities of Fillmore, Santa Paula and Ojai.

We are pleased to direct you to official information regarding the blaze, known as the Day Fire at:

Our friends at the Ventura County Star compiled a brief video chronicling the work of the 'firefighting infantry' of State and Federal handcrews.

VC Star Video: Handcrews battle the Day Fire

Our colleagues at the Ventura County Fire Department have compiled photos and video, including the helicopter reconnaissance footage below.

VCoFD Video: Helicopter Reconnaissance of the Day Fire

During the three week duration of this brush fire, that began southwest of Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County - and remains distant from our City, the Los Angeles Fire Department has proudly fulfilled a variety of short-term formal requests for ground-based resources, including engine companies and bulldozers.

These LAFD teams have been dispatched in accordance with California's Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System, administered by the Governor's Office of Emergency Services. The system is designed to ensure that additional resources are provided to local jurisdictions whenever their own resources are committed or insufficient for a specific emergency incident.

The City of Los Angeles remains fully protected by the use of additional staff and reserve apparatus as necessary to cover forseeable local needs, and we remind local residents that these resources can be recalled to our City as necessary.

The men and women of the LAFD ask motorists to remain watchful for these and other convoys of emergency apparatus traveling to and from The Day Fire, and to be mindful of the space necessary for fire apparatus to safely maneuver on local roads and highways.

Pursuant of protocol, all public and media information regarding the Day Fire, including the actions of assigned LAFD personnel, will be provided by or through the United States Forest Service, which maintains daily jurisdictional authority of the fire area.

For more information, including the current status of the Day Fire, please visit:

(Search Flickr for Photos of 'Day Fire')

(Search Flickr for Photos Tagged 'Day Fire')

Blog posts containing Day Fire per day for the last 30 days.
View blog posts about Day Fire via Technorati search

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Auto Fire with Civilian Fatality

Thursday, September 21, 2006 |

On Thursday, September 21, 2006 at 2:55 AM, one Company of Los Angeles Firefighters, three Arson Units, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Captain I David Sanders responded to an Auto Fire at 11460 W. Dilling St. in Studio City/Toluca Lake.

Firefighters arrived quickly to find a 1992 Nissan pick-up truck engulfed in flames. Firefighters using handlines quickly confined the fire to the vehicle, extinguishing the blaze in less than three minutes.

During fire attack, Firefighters discovered the remains of an adult male within the bed of the truck. The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office will seek to positively identify the deceased, as well as to formally determine the cause,manner and time of their death.

The incident is categorized as a joint active investigation by Fire and Police Department officials.

Submitted by Brian Ballton, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Daily News: "Finally, Honored By Friends"


From the LA Daily News

Finally, Honored by Friends
By Dennis McCarthy, Columnist

The funeral procession Wednesday for Los Angeles Fire Capt. Lane Kemper stretched a mile down Rinaldi Street, and his memorial service drew more than 1,800 mourners to a Porter Ranch church designed to hold 1,500.

Finally, his colleagues were able to demonstrate their respect and admiration for the 54-year-old firefighter who lost his battle with cancer last week, leaving behind his wife, Rose, and twin 10-year-old daughters, Kaylan and Kelsey.

"Lane never wanted the accolades for himself, never sought the spotlight, although he certainly deserved it," said Battalion Chief Leonard Thompson, standing in the foyer of the overflowing Shepherd of the Hills Church.

Nearby, there were enlarged photographs of Kemper making rescues from burning buildings and braving the fast-moving current in the Los Angeles River to save a dog stranded during a rainstorm.

"Lane was the kind of guy who always shifted the credit to someone else for a rescue or saving a life - the first firefighter in and the last one out," said Capt. Steve Ruda...

Read Full Article...

Thanks Dennis, for capturing how we felt about this giant of a man. Those wishing to offer on-line condolences are encouraged to click here and make an entry in the comments section of our earlier post. We will print and deliver these condolences to his family.

(images) (slideshow)

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Funeral Services For LAFD's Captain Lane Kemper

Monday, September 18, 2006 |

Captain Lane Kemper (1952-2006)The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department welcome Firefighters from throughout the nation and all members of our community to join them on Wednesday, September 20, 2006 in celebrating the life of Captain Lane Kemper, who recently lost a bravely fought battle with cancer.

Captain II Lane A. Kemper, a 31-year LAFD veteran, was widely respected for teaching Firefighters nationwide the tasks that would get them home safely to their families.

Known as a master of forcible entry into burning buildings and forcible escape for Firefighters who were trapped in them, Captain Kemper was a tireless advocate of public safety and Firefighter survival.

Lane made all of us better Firefighters, and all who met him better people.

We welcome all to join us...

Memorial Service:


Reception To Follow:

In Lieu of Flowers, Donations Kindly Requested:

Those wishing to offer on-line condolences please click here to post in the comments section of our blog. We will print and deliver these condolences to his family.

UPDATE:Captain Kemper's memorial service was chronicled in a September 21 Daily News column, and in images captured by Mike Meadows and Rick McClure (slideshow)

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Fire Scorches Four Acres of Grass in El Sereno

Sunday, September 17, 2006 |

On Sunday, September 17, 2006 at 5:41 PM, twelve Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters including one LAFD Brush Patrol, one LAFD Rescue Ambulance, three LAFD Helicopters, four Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Dennis Waters responded to a Greater Alarm Grass Fire near 2598 North Soto Street in El Sereno.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover two acres of grass burning steadily uphill in steep terrain. Using handlines and handtools to aggressively attack the flames, and aided by precise helicopter water drops; seventy-eight Los Angeles Firefighters were able to confine the blaze to four acres of vegetation and extinguish the flames in less than thirty minutes.

No structures were threatened by the fire and no injuries were reported. The cause of this blaze remains under investigation.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Benefit Fair in Sherman Oaks a Resounding Success

Saturday, September 16, 2006 |

The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department would like to thank the thousands who attended today's 6th annual Benefit For Our Bravest Street Fair in Sherman Oaks.

To call the event a resounding success would be an understatement.

It was indeed our pleasure to meet many of you at this once-a-year event that directly supports the Adopt-A-Fire-Station program within the San Fernando Valley.

From the Firehouse food to the lively entertainment. From legenday Coach John Wooden, to the smiles of those in and near the Children's Fun Zone - a good time was had by all, especially members of the LAFD and their families.

Among the most cherished moments for us however, were the many opportunities to interact with local residents we had rendered services to this past year, including many whose homes had recently been threatened by an Encino Hills wildfire.

It was indeed many of those people and other thoughtful citizens who stunned us with their generous donations to the auctions, wine tasting and other fundraising efforts, the proceeds from which will be used to enhance the physical presence and capabilities of Neighborhood Fire Stations in the San Fernando Valley.

We would also like to salute the many community-minded companies and organizations who actively sponsored this charitable event. They are indeed the reason that 'Benefit For Our Bravest' is possible, and we hope you will join us throughout the year in thanking them for their support.

Above and beyond all else though, we'd like to send our utmost appreciation to Valley Inn Restaurant owner Sophia Brodetsky, the founder and catalyst of 'Benefit For Our Bravest'.

Sophia is a tireless crusader for the betterment of our communities and our society. Her unswerving commitment to the service and needs of others is an inspiration to all.

In the words of Coach Wooden: "She personifies the saying, `You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give.' Sophia's a giver".

Coach, if we had our way, we'd nominate Sophia for MVP, All-Stars and the Hall of Fame.

In closing, we hope you'll soon visit us to see firsthand how 'Benefit For Our Bravest' has beautified, increased efficiency and added value to a permanent community asset - your Neighborhood Fire Stations throughout the San Fernando Valley.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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South Boyle Heights Toddler Killed By Backing Vehicle


On Saturday, September 16, 2006 at 11:31 AM, one Company of Los Angeles Firefighters and one LAFD Rescue Ambulance, under the direction of Captain I Art Burgess responded to a Vehicle vs. Pedestrian Fatality at 1035 South Dacotah Street in South Boyle Heights.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover a fourteen month-old girl who had been crushed by a backing vehicle.

According to witnesses, an adult male friend of the family had departed the girl's residence, unaware that the toddler had apparently followed him outside.

While backing his light colored full-sized pickup truck from the curb at the end of the cul-de-sac, he felt a bump and immediately reversed direction. It is not clear whether he struck the child a second time.

The man exited the truck to discover the lifeless girl, the daughter of his girlfriend's sister, and immediately called for help from bystanders, who contacted 9-1-1.

Firefighters responded in less than two minutes to begin basic life support, and were soon joined by Firefighter/Paramedics who provided advanced life support efforts while rushing the gravely injured child to the Trauma Center at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center.

Despite the prompt, skilfull and tenacious work of LAFD personnel and hospital staff, the girl proved beyond their help, and was declared deceased at 12:09 PM.

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

Though safety advisories from the Los Angeles Fire Department often focus on the roadway collision of moving vehicles, there can be a dozen or more responses each day in our community to vehicles striking pedestrians. Many of these prove tragic and are preventable.

In regard to fatal backing incidents, our friends at Kids and Cars have told us:
  • The predominant age of victims were 12-23 months.

  • Over 60% of backing up incidents involved a larger size vehicle.

  • In over 70% of these incidents, a parent or relative is behind the wheel
Firefighters ask you to follow these life-saving recommendations:

  • Walk around and behind a vehicle prior to moving it.

  • Know where your kids are. Make children move away from your vehicle to a place where they are in full view before moving the car and know that another adult is properly supervising children before moving your vehicle.

  • Teach children that "parked" vehicles might move. Let them know that they can see the vehicle; but the driver might not be able to see them.

  • Consider installing cross view mirrors, audible collision detectors, rear view video camera and/or some type of back up detection device.

  • Measure the size of your blind zone (area) behind the vehicles you drive. A 5-foot-1-inch driver in a pickup truck can have a rear blind spot of 7 feet wide by 50 feet long.

  • Be aware that steep inclines and large SUV’s, vans and trucks add to the difficulty of seeing behind a vehicle.

  • Hold children’s hand when leaving the vehicle.

  • Teach your children to never play in, around or behind a vehicle.

  • Keep toys and other sports equipment off the driveway.

  • Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.

  • Keep vehicles locked at all times; even in the garage or driveway.

  • Keys should never be left within reach of children.

  • Always make sure all child passengers have left the car after it is parked.

  • Be especially careful about keeping children safe in and around cars during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays.

Please share this potentially life-saving message with your friends and family.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Man Perishes in MacArthur Park Apartment Fire

Friday, September 15, 2006 |

On Friday, September 15, 2006 at 3:20 AM, fourteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, eight LAFD Rescue Ambulances, four Arson Units, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Rehab Unit, one Hazardous Materials Team, three EMS Battalion Captains, four Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Assistant Chief Ralph Terrazas responded to a Structure Fire With Civilian Fatality at 1522 W. 11th Place in Westlake/MacArthur Park.

First units on scene reported a 2-story apartment complex with fire showing from a lower unit and heavy smoke on the second floor. Even though the building was self evacuating, Firefighters were immediately confronted with several occupants jumping from the second floor.

As Firefighters and Paramedics began rescuing occupants and providing medical care, additional Firefighters using handlines were able to confined the fire to one unit on the first floor. The fire was extinguished the fire in 32 minutes.

While using handlines to extinguish the fire, Firefighters discovered an adult male in the area of the fire without vital signs of life. Upon completion of a thorough medical assessment by LAFD personnel, he was declared deceased at the scene.

In addition, six patients were treated on scene for a variety of injuries. Five patients required treatment to local hospitals for their injuries, three of those suffering moderate injuries and two complaining of minor injuries. In addition, an LAFD Arson investigator suffered a minor back injury and was transported to a local hospital in stable condition.

The cause of the fire and the circumstances surrounding the fatality are under investigation. The dollar loss is still being determined.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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LAFD Photo Caption Contest

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 |

Click to enlarge...First the facts:

A Los Angeles Firefighter is seen safely bringing a motorized scooter to a grateful resident forced to abandon the device when escaping a recent high rise condominium fire.

Note: pushing or pulling these devices is not desirable, and operating them from a non-seated position is unsafe.

...and kudos to our LAFD Brother for doing exactly what it takes to bring peace of mind - and a smile to the face of (more than?) one Los Angeles resident.

Do you have a work-safe caption to offer?

Click on the comments link on this blog post, to view or offer your own family-friendly caption.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Haz-Mat Concerns Empty Van Nuys Office

Monday, September 11, 2006 |

On Monday, September 11, 2006 at 8:46 AM, eleven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, including one LAFD Hazardous Materials Task Force, twelve LAFD Rescue Ambulances, three EMS Battalion Captains, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Assistant Chief Greg West responded to a Hazardous Materials Investigation at 6920 Van Nuys Boulevard in Van Nuys.

More than 100 persons were in the three-story AT&T business office, when ten persons occupying workspace cubicles on the second floor simultaneously noted a noxious odor they believed to be coming from the ventilation system in their secure, non-public area.

Those impacted by the odor calmly exited their office as Firefighters arrived to coordinate with management in the orderly evacuation of those who remained in the building. Approximately 200 ninth and tenth grade students at the north adjacent CHAMPS Charter High School were safely sheltered in place.

Firefighters quickly established Incident Command and staged Fire Department resources uphill and upwind from the 60' x 120' structure as a formal triage and treatment area was created to receive twenty-eight persons who expressed a variety of medical complaints and concerns.

Of the AT&T employees medically examined by LAFD Paramedics, five elected to be transported to area hospitals for further evaluation of non-life threatening respiratory irritation. There were no emergency medical needs associated with the students or faculty at the adjacent school.

LAFD HazMat experts donned protective gear and using sensitive instruments, found traces of arabanic acid and gluconic acid during their assessment of the building and evacuees. The two substances, commonly used food additives and preservatives, also present in building insulation, were determined to represent no escalating hazard.

The product(s) that may have contained these items, as well as the specific manner or cause for their spill or release was not determined by the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Law Enforcement officers, working with the Los Angeles County Fire Department's Health Hazardous Materials Division will determine whether the presence of these substances merits further investigation.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Flight 93 and Shanksville: A Field of Honor Forever

Sunday, September 10, 2006 |

Flight 93 National Memorial...On Monday morning, amidst the natural splendor of the Pennsylvania countryside, a stentorian voice will rise among a hushed and tearful crowd, as one-by-one, the names of forty brave Americans are respectfully read aloud by a Fire Captain from Los Angeles.

The inspiring story of Flight 93 neither begins nor ends on this fifth anniversary of the savage attacks on our nation and its people, but on this one day, the men and women of America's Fire Service stand a little taller and more closely, as they share in the profound honor of having one of their own participate in the ceremony to honor these revered American Heroes.

On September 11, 2001, shortly after terrorists flew airplanes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and into the Pentagon, the forty passengers and crewmembers on United Airlines Flight 93 fought and won a battle in the sky, thwarting a planned attack on our nation’s capital and saving countless lives - but sacrificing their own in a field just east of Pittsburgh, in Somerset County.

The path that led LAFD Captain Stephen Ruda to speak at Monday's gathering at the Flight 93 National Memorial is one that strengthens and unites our vocation, while galvanizing our promise to 'never forget'.

It was in the days following the attacks that Captain Ruda wrote an inspiring message on a quilted wall hanging, one of countless items sent as a tribute to the passengers and crew of Flight 93. His heartfelt opening words soon became the preamble to 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."

Captain Stephen Ruda
Los Angeles Fire Department

A man of both faith and courage who has served his country with distinction as a United States Marine, and since excelled as a leader in our agency, Captain Ruda was honored by his peers as LAFD's "Firefighter of the Year" for 2005.

In 2001, Captain Ruda was one of 100 Los Angeles Fire Department members who traveled at their own expense to New York City to present a check for $2.5 million to the families of Firefighters killed in the World Trade Center attack and its aftermath.

A fitting ambassador for both the common man and America's Fire Service, Captain Ruda will join Former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, Governor Ed Rendell, U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, General Tommy Franks and Hamilton Peterson, son of passengers Donald and Jean Peterson and president of the Families of Flight 93 to speak at the public ceremony.

The story of Flight 93 will remain a national treasure — a story of hope in human courage and cooperation that inspires every American, including our nation's Firefighters. We hope that you will join us in giving generously to the completion of the Flight 93 National Memorial.

(video of Captain Ruda departing Los Angeles)

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Do Your Kids Know Vince and Larry?


Click Here to Visit Safety City...Vince and Larry are crash test dummies. When they ride in cars without safety belts and do other silly things, the safety engineers can put them back together again. We can laugh at Vince and Larry because they're dummies.

But getting injured while walking, bicycling or traveling in a vehicle is no laughing matter. That's why our friends at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) created Vince and Larry's Safety City.

Safety City is a fun website for children of all ages. Using kid-friendly graphics and interactive content, Safety City helps young people understand the dangers that are easily avoided when traveling to school or playing in the neighborhood.

The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department encourage you to talk about travel and transportation safety with all members of your family. Safety City is a great way to start that conversation. For more information, please visit and bookmark:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Helicopter Crash Lands at Van Nuys Airport

Saturday, September 09, 2006 |

On Saturday, September 9, 2006 at 5:15 PM, four Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, including Van Nuys Airport-based LAFD Crash/Rescue and Foam Units, as well as one LAFD Paramedic Rescue Ambulance, all under the direction of Captain Alfred Wobig, responded to a reported Aircraft Crash on Taxiway 'A' at Van Nuys Airport in Van Nuys.

We have removed the images of this
damaged helicopter at the
request of the aircraft owner

Please see 'comments' below

Scrambling to an alert from the control tower, Firefighters arrived quickly to discover the "hard landing" of a 2004 Schweizer Model 269C-1 helicopter (N323CP) with two persons aboard.

The aircraft occupants, a flight instructor and another pilot taking instrument training, had reportedly experienced some manner of in-flight emergency prior to impacting the taxiway. There was no fire or fuel spill, and both men exited the aircraft without obvious injury prior to the Fire Department's arrival.

LAFD Firefighter/Paramedics examined both men, who declined further treatment or transportation.

Firefighters stood by as the heavily damaged rotorcraft, with approval of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), was removed from the taxiway of the world's busiest general aviation airport.

Airport Police Officers subsequently took control of the scene. The incident will be formally investigated by NTSB officials.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Honoring The Day By Working For A Better America

Friday, September 08, 2006 |

There are many positive ways that Americans can remember 9/11, an otherwise tragic day that united our nation.

There are potentially as many positive ways as there are Americans, and each of the nation's communities can benefit from them.

A nationwide, congressionally endorsed effort named MyGood Deed is working to establish a long-term, meaningful and positive way to honor the day each year.

Founded in 2003 by David Paine, the campaign has already engaged more than three million Americans in acts of community service and other good deeds.

"All we ask is for people to perform one good deed to help others on 9/11," says Paine.

The organization's goal is to change the nation for the better, not only generating expressions of charitable giving and service, but creating a way to rekindle the spirit of unity that was so clearly felt on that day in 2001.

The nonprofit public benefit corporation honors the victims, family members, and survivors of the attacks on America, as well as the rescue and recovery workers and the thousands of volunteers who gave so much on and following September 11.

The organization is working to establish September 11 as a national day of voluntary service, charity and compassion, by encouraging individuals, employers and groups to permanently set aside time during the week of September 11 each year to help others in need through service or other giving activities.

There are many ways you can help:

- Volunteer at a community food bank.

- Volunteer with the Volunteer Center National Network.

- Donate blood.

- Help hurricane victims rebuild their lives.

- Prepare and train for all hazards and support local emergency responders through Citizen Corps.

- Register or offer your volunteer talents with a favorite nonprofit organization to help determine how future generations remember 9/11.

MyGoodDeed is not affiliated with any charity or organization. It is a partnership of the Points of Light Foundation, Youth Service America, American Red Cross and Citizen Corps.

There are many ways people can help. The key is to perform at least one good deed that helps another person or persons in need. For more information or to register your confidential, nonbinding intention towards this effort, please visit:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Workplace Safety Tip Strikes The Right Note

Thursday, September 07, 2006 |

Several months ago, a fire severely damaged part of a recording studio being used by the musical group the Black Eyed Peas. Fortunately, an employee and an engineer were able to use portable fire extinguishers to keep the fire localized.

This of course, is but one story of how fire involves or impacts well known persons. If it can happen to them, it can happen to you.

A portable fire extinguisher helped protect their livelihood. Let there be no doubt that a portable fire extinguisher can easily save your life when the unthinkable occurs.

Dozens were able to escape harm at a swift-moving blaze last week in L.A.'s Fashion District.

What if a fire suddenly erupted at your place of employment?

Our friends at the Fire Equipment Manufacturers' Association recommend the following for the places that you work, learn and play:

To obtain a "Life Safety Tool Kit" for your workplace, please visit:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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LAFD Mailbag: CERT, Empathy and Teamwork

Wednesday, September 06, 2006 |

A sampling of letters to the Fire Chief from today's Los Angeles Fire Department mailbag:

Dear Chief Bamattre:

My wife, Donna Dees, and I recently participated in CERT training lead primarily by Marc Shapiro. We know how much residents of our neighborhood have benefited from and appreciate the CERT training and want to be sure that you know it, too. We also know that, in the event of a major emergency, the LAFD will be able to address only the most critical needs and being able to help ourselves before you can reach us will make a tremendous difference in the ability of Los Angeles to recover. We have been very impressed with the professionalism and knowledge of the members of the Disaster Preparedness Section, particularly Marc Shapiro. He is a uniquely talented instruction and leader and we benefited greatly from his teaching.

Tim Tobin

To learn more about CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training in Los Angeles, please visit: -BH-

Dear Chief Bamattre:

On June 3, 2006 I was extremely tired and confused until FF/P Jones and Moone of Rescue 94 arrived. My husband appeared to be slipping into a diabetic coma. Not only were the empathetic, they were well versed as to what the problem was and exactly how to solve it.

Mr. Jones and Mr. Moone made me feel special when I explained my dilemma. I had gone through so much the entire day and my husband did not want to cooperate. In fact, they were so confident that I felt comfortable enough to ask all necessary questions.

These paramedics never once made me feel that my questions were foolish, or that this dilemma was due to my ignorance. This talent is missing in many of the people working in positions similar to theirs. Their professionalism was without question; their confidence, I am certain is often misunderstood, but is exactly what men search for and never find, especially in today’s society. Their knowledge and expertise will take them far and you should understand that many patients they come
in contact with daily feel the same way I do but fail to make it known to their superiors.

You would truly be remiss in your duties not to acknowledge these remarkable men. They are an asset to your organization. Thanking you in advance for reading this letter and taking into consideration all that is said.

Delphine E. Magee-Blish

The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department are proud to offer high caliber Emergency Medical Services. We encourage all members of the community to learn about preventing and managing diabetes by visiting: -BH-

Dear Chief Bamattre:

I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank you and the Los Angeles Fire Department for your courtesy in assisting the Arcadia Fire Department.

On Saturday, June 24, 2006, Arcadia Fire Department Truck 105 experienced an alternator problem, disabling our only truck company. As you are well aware, truck companies play a vital roll during fire ground operations by providing for the safety of our firefighters as well as those we serve. Repairing the truck as quickly as possible was of the utmost importance.

While attempting to obtain an alternator from our parts supplier, Arcadia Fire Captain David Hutcheson contacted your dispatch center to request assistance from the LAFD Maintenance Division. Floor Captain Murray was very understanding of the
urgent nature of the situation and provided a telephone number for Maintenance Supervisor Mark Clark.

Captain Clark was contacted and made arrangements for a field mechanic to respond to Arcadia Fire Station No. 106 to facilitate the repair. Mechanic Craig Mason replaced the damaged alternator in less than 30 minutes, effectively placing the truck back in service.

These fine men are a credit to the Los Angeles Fire Department and the epitome of fire service professionals. In a world where a helping hand can be hard to find, they exemplify the brotherhood and goodwill that remains in the fire service today.

Please convey my appreciation to your personnel for their excellent service.

David R. Lugo, Jr
Fire Chief
Arcadia Fire Department

Since 1886, the Los Angeles Fire Department has been honored to work alongside, and when necessary, support the needs of neighboring agencies that share a regional commitment to safety and service. LAFD Field Mechanic Craig Mason is emblematic of that culture. To learn more about this tradition and history, please visit the LAFD Historical Archive at: -BH-

If you'd like to make the Fire Chief aware of your concerns, please write to:

William Bamattre
Fire Chief
Los Angeles Fire Department
200 North Main Street, Room 1800
Los Angeles, CA 90012 USA

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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It Happened This Morning in Chicago...

Sunday, September 03, 2006 |

The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department are proud of the strong working relationship they maintain with Fire Departments and Firefighters across the globe.

For our office, that often means working with or supporting the public outreach efforts of our Brothers and Sisters worldwide.

In the United States, our eyes and interest often turn to Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford and his esteenmed colleague Eva Rodriguez, who oversee CFD Media Affairs.

It was therefore with a sense of sadness and empathy that we read this morning's headlines:

CHICAGO (AP) - Children screamed "we're burning" early Sunday as an apartment fire, likely caused by a candle used for light because there was no electricity, killed six children ages 3 to 14, authorities said.

The victims' mother and three siblings were injured.

The third-floor, three-bedroom apartment on the city's North Side also had no smoke detector, said visibly shaken Fire Commissioner Raymond Orozco... (more...)

While such events routinely bring us into contact with other Fire Department representatives, this particular incident is too important to keep 'inside baseball'.

Along with our sympathies, the best way for us to respect those who died is seeing that such incidents are prevented - and for that, we need your help. For while this incident happened today in the Windy City's North Side, it could happen tomorrow in your hometown, your neighborhood, your street, your...

We think you get the picture.

The issues of candle safety and the need for functional smoke alarms in your home have been repeated here ad-infinitum.

Just last month in the Los Angeles suburb of Winnetka, a woman lost her life, yet her children survived, in a dramatic example of why fire prevention, multiple smoke alarms and a well-practiced fire escape plan are essential to your family's survival.

It happened this morning in Chicago. Don't let it happen to you.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Fire Erupts in Los Feliz Highrise Condominium

Friday, September 01, 2006 |

Image by benhigh. Courtesy of Click for more...On Friday, September 1, 2006 at 5:23 PM, twenty Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, eleven LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Urban Search and Rescue Company, one Rehab Air Tender, one Emergency Air Unit, one Hazardous Materials Squad, two LAFD Helicopters, four EMS Battalion Captains, six Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team under the direction of Assistant Chief Richard Warford responded to a Major Emergency Residential Highrise Structure Fire at 4455 Los Feliz Boulevard in Los Feliz.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover flames showing from two windows of a ninth-floor condominium in the west tower of the Los Feliz Towers, a thirteen story non-sprinklered residential highrise.

The LAFD Highrise Incident Command System was immediately initiated, as the lobby and elevators were secured and stairwells identified for Firefighter access and occupant egress.

A pair of LAFD Helicopters, serving separate roles of Command Reconnaisance and Airborne Engine Company were instantly dispatched to the scene, joining more than 150 LAFD personnel already assigned to the incident.

The calm and orderly self-evacuation of many residents and their guests was taking place unabated as teams of Firefighters ascended the stairwells to discover and assist many of the building's more fragile occupants with sheltering in place on floors far below or distant from the fire.

According to witnesses, an oxygen using 79 year-old female resident had started a fire by smoking. Her quick thinking 60 year-old female caretaker was, with considerable effort, able to drag her uninjured to the interior hallway as the fire raced through the apartment behind them.

Unable to take her any further, the caretaker descended the stairs to meet first-arriving Firefighters, who rescued the woman and guided several of her neighbors to safety.

A safe refuge and casualty collection point for many residents was soon established on the fourth floor, as Fire Attack Teams did swift battle with the intense fire in the one ninth floor unit.

Though heat and smoke scarred the outside of the building, the fire was confined to the 1,100 square-foot condominium of origin and extinguished in just thirty-one minutes.

The woman and her caretaker were examined by LAFD Paramedics before declining hospital transportation. Several residents were quickly evaluated for non-life threatening medical complaints on the fourth floor, as well as at a Triage Area which had been established outside the building.

A 70 year-old male living directly across the interior hall from unit of fire origin complained of smoke inhalation, and was transported to Hollywood Presbyterian/Queen of Angels Hospital in fair condition. No Firefighter injuries were reported.

Sadly, one pet dog perished in the flames.

Loss from the fire is estimated at $250,000 ($150,000 structure & $100,000 contents).

(video) (Images) (cgm images) (cgm slideshow) (b/la post with images)

image courtesy of benhigh at

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Los Angeles Firefighters Tackle Fashion District Blaze


Major Emergency Fire in LA's Fashion District. Click for more images...On Friday, September 1, 2006 at 11:10 AM, twenty-one Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, eight LAFD Rescue Ambulances, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Hazardous Materials Squad, three EMS Battalion Captains, six Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, all under the direction of Deputy Chief Mario Rueda responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at 1129 South San Julian Street in the Fashion District of downtown Los Angeles.

Firefighters arrived quickly to find heavy smoke showing from within a 7,200 square-foot one story commercial building housing four separate retail clothing businesses.

The fire, which started in the attic of Beleza Fashion, soon spread through the common attic of the 69 year-old structure, allowing flames to also take hold within Samantha Collections, Juno Collection and ABM Jeans.

Following a brief and aggressive initial offense on well-entrenched flames with handlines, veteran Firefighters and Company Officers noted signs of pending structural compromise from the reinforced masonry structure.

A brisk and well-coordinated shift to defensive tactics was safely accomplished with a transition to multiple master streams, as portions of the arched truss roof indeed begain to fail.

The flames were skilfully confined to the structure of origin and ultimately extinguished with handlines in less than one hour.

Two male Firefighters sustained non-life threatening injuries during their battle with the stubborn blaze. One suffered a shoulder/elbow injury and possible heat exhaustion, while the other sustained an injury to his right ankle. Both were taken to nearby California Hospital Medical Center, where they were treated and released to remain off-duty.

No civilian injuries were reported.

The quartet of garment retailers within the one large building were heavily damaged. Fire loss is estimated in the aggregate at $1,500,000 ($800,000 structure & $700,000 contents).

The cause of the fire was determined to be an electrical malfunction.

(extended raw video) (images) (images) (slideshow)

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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