Memorial Service Announced For Fallen USFS Crew

Tuesday, October 31, 2006 |

This week, along with individual services for our five Forest Service colleagues killed battling the Esperanza Wildfire, a community memorial service welcoming all will be held:

Sunday, November 5, 2006
1:00 PM
Hyundai Pavilion at Glen Helen
2575 Glen Helen Parkway
San Bernardino, California 92407

We are pleased to provide an interactive map and personalized driving directions to the site, as well as special information for Firefighters attending the event.

For those wishing to support the families of the fallen...

Esperanza Firefighters Assistance Fund
PO Box 1645
Riverside, CA 92502
Telephone: (951) 955-1010, (951) 955-1030, (951) 955-1050


Wildland Firefighters Foundation
2049 Airport Way
Boise, ID 83705
Telephone: (208) 336-2996


California Fire Foundation
Esperanza Firefighters Fund
1780 Creekside Oaks Drive, Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95833

For information about individual Funeral services:

For additional details about Sunday's Memorial Service:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

In Our Darkest Hour: Remembering The Best Among Us

Monday, October 30, 2006 |

As Firefighters from across the nation prepare to honor our fallen Forest Service colleagues killed while battling the Esperanza Fire in Riverside County, California, we've been reminded of the goodness of so many who reach out to help members of the Fire Service in our time of sorrow and need.

It's hard to believe just five weeks have passed since the men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department were joined by so many Firefighters and friends of the LAFD in celebrating the remarkable life of Captain Lane Kemper.

It remains humbling to be approached daily by friend and stranger alike who share words of solace and respect for the passing of this Fire Service icon. Among the many who were at his service, and countless others unable to attend, has been a common request for the eulogy delivered by Captain Steve Ruda.

Though our hearts remain heavy in the loss of our Brothers at the Esperanza fire, it is our pleasure to share his inspiring words that remind us:

One Person Can Indeed Make a Difference.

One of the Best... If Not The Best

By Stephen J. Ruda

Bagpiper Johnny Keyes led the procession as the color guard made its way past the hundreds of Firefighters and friends that gathered for the funeral of our friend Captain Lane Kemper on September 20, 2006.

The beautiful wife and children of Lane, Rose and Kaylen and Kelsey arrived under escort of Lanes' friend from the Los Angeles Police Department, Bert Quechenberger. Bert and his brother Motor Officers led the limo from the Kemper home to Fire Station 28. Lanes’ 9 year old girls asked who sent them a limo and I told them that their Daddy loved them so much they he wanted them to be treated like movie stars, to which they remarked, "Our Daddy is awesome!" Then they asked me if I was their butler, upon which I replied, "Why, yes I am, at your service."

Task Force 17 met Lanes' body on the apparatus floor of Fire Station 28 and was carried atop Engine 17. Lane’s Apparatus Operator Eddie Riveros was responsible for giving his commander one last response. The members of Task Force 17 looked like an honor guard stationed at Marine Barracks at 8th and I Streets in Washington DC as they ceremoniously carried the casket from the black hearse to their apparatus parked on the apparatus floor at Fire Station 28. The members of Fire Station 28 transformed their quarters from a Funeral Command post to a place of honor for Lane and his family. The hours of preparation by so many were about to take place. Everyone was committed to Battalion John Nowell’s command to dedicate ourselves to Rose Kemper and her girls.

Upon orders from Assistant Chief Rick Garcia, the procession departed 28’s quarters and headed south on Corbin toward the Shepherd of the Hills Church. Apparatus after apparatus and their crews stood at attention rendering Lane their last salute.
Battalion Chief Evan Williams and his procession group stationed the rigs throughout the funeral route. I was able to tell Rose and the girls where the companies were from and who was in command of them that day. Rose was so overwhelmed and kept reminding her children of how many firefighters loved their Daddy.

The church was ready for the procession as Chief Gomez and Captain Carter and others readied the parking lot with the uniform detail. The procession stopped short as Rose and the girls, accompanied by Rose Kemper’s brothers, escorted her through the gauntlet of dress uniformed firefighters, most holding back tears as Eddie and all of 17’s parked their rigs. Once again the organized detail of the members of 17’s carried Lane’s body to the waiting pallbearers and then passed their Brother to the waiting hands of Lane’s brother, Mark Kemper, retired Engineer Mouse Gildhouse, friend, Dave Mock, Fire Captain and family friend Mike Mejia, Engineer Rick Vallata, Fire Captain Steve Romas and Larry Hoerner and teaching partner AO Steve Hall.

Lanes' casket was carried to the base of the altar and Chaplain George Negrete opened the service with prayer and a welcome. For the benefit of those who were not there I would like to place here the words of the eulogy that I was ask to give on behalf of my friend and mentor, Lane Kemper:

"How lucky are we? How lucky are we? How lucky are we to be able to say we knew Lane Kemper? Luckier the person who was able to say that Lane Kemper knew them.

Lane was known to so many as, "Lumpy, Lane O, Big Daddy, Louis and most importantly Daddy".

If you knew Lane Kemper and were asked to explain who he was you have to say, "Well... if you know him no explanation is necessary and if you didn’t know him than no explanation would be satisfactory."

Lane was a man who knew how to make decisions. He knew his most important decisions in life were the following:

1. to decide to have a belief in God
2. to pick the right woman to have as his wife
3. to pick the right career
4. to be a good example to others

Lane knew that it was important to be truthful to him and with others no matter whose feelings he might offend. He was loyal to his convictions and was very successful in life because he accomplished his major decisions about life. He achieved a respect for his Creator. He found a beautiful wife in his Rose. He had his twin girls, Kelsey and Kaylan and he had achieved a reputation, as many firefighters will agree as a Fireman’s Fireman. He was, as Captain Jon McDuffie penned, a man whose actions were always louder than his words, Lane Kemper accidentally achieved what many spend their whole lives trying to attain, IMMORTALITY.

Born and raised in Van Nuys on March 7, 1952 to a firefighting Father, John and his Mother, Berle. Lane grew up the middle son of three brothers. Van Nuys High kept him busy as a member of a club known as the "Ambassadors". Friendship and education kept him busy until 1976 when the City of Los Angeles made the best decision it could that year when they hired Lane as a Los Angeles City Fireman.

Engineer Mike Martin recalled, "Everywhere Lane was assigned it soon became apparent that he had both the ability and the desire to accept any task, on or off the fireground and achieve the end results in an expedient and professional manner."

Every one of us owes Lane a debt of gratitude for setting the standard for character. That character was built on the simple building blocks of competency, kindness, generosity, loyalty and a genuine desire to teach us what he knew. Lane was successful as well as significant. The difference between the two is that when you die, your success comes to an end. When you are significant you continue to help others long after you are gone. Our Lane strived to be significant.

Saint Paul wrote, "Rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perservance and perseverance produces character and character produces hope". Lane’s hope for us was twofold:

First, be the best that you can be when duty calls and even when it doesn’t. He wants us to know that every door you force open, every bolt you cut and every steel door you breach do it with perseverance knowing that Lane will always be behind you whispering in your ear, "Take your time, be safe and get it done, and most of all get it open."

Secondly, Lane empowers us to take his place teaching the uninformed and to care for his beloved widows and orphans. If not us then who? If we don’t take Lane’s place then Lane’s immortality will be for nothing.

Lane knew when diagnosed 5 months ago that hard times could possibly come, but he showed us that deep faith, friendship, a great sense of humor and a strong commitment to your goals would turn today’s sadness into tomorrow’s triumphs.

Lane our Brother you will be missed."

Certainly the hardest thing I have ever done but a true honor to be asked. Rose Kemper asked me to include in the ceremony a letter from her as well. The following is the letter that was read on behalf of Rose Kemper:

~ ~ ~

"As many of you know Lane was diagnosed with esophageal cancer 5 months ago. This news shook our world upside down. For many days we couldn’t eat or sleep, we just talked and cried and held each other. Lane was never much of a talker, but boy did he make up for that. We talked about everything under the sun. The most surprising thing he spoke of were his wishes for his funeral. In that oh so familiar little voice of his he said, "If I am still on duty, not yet retired I want a Fire Department funeral." I said, "What???". He said, "Yep, with all the bells and whistles." So I find myself here today honoring his wishes. And still I know that many of you who knew Lane are surprised at the enormity of this service.

From the time Lane was a little boy he knew that he wanted to be a fireman. He often said the two smartest things he ever did were to get on this job and start a family. Lane and I had 22 wonderful years together. It took us awhile to get married, but it was sure worth it. The single eventful thing in his life was becoming a father. Kaylen and Kelsey were everything to him. He was such a great Dad and such a natural at it. He started reading to the girls when they were infants and continued up until a few weeks ago. He took it upon himself to put them to bed everynight that he was home. He would read them a story then lay on the ground between their beds and holds their hands until they fell asleep. He was always so loving and patient with his girls. The hardest thing for him was to know that he wouldn’t see them grow up. So Kaylen and Kelsey, my job along with all of Dad’s family and friends will be to help you remember your Daddy always. From his silly stories about bangies to the many school projects he helped you design, you were his little cookies and know that he loved you more than anything else in the whole universe.

Lane had such a huge heart and could never say no to anyone. In his final days his heart is what kept him going. Those of us that were with him said. "We always knew he had a big strong heart, but we didn’t realize just how big and strong."

Lane loved his job. Being a Fireman was everything to him. In the last few months we decided to renovate our backyard. We hired a friend of ours who is a contractor and thought we could keep this strictly a business project. But as many of you know word got out and before you knew what hit us the LAFD was on it. They assisted with completing the backyard project and the results just so beautiful. Thanks to Gary for being so patient with our Fire Department family. And thank you to all of the LAFD's bravest who stopped by to mow the lawn, pour concrete, landscape or just to say hello to Lane.

Although Lane was involved in many charity events and many projects to help out fellow firefighters he was so amazed at the response of help that we received. It was so difficult for him to accept your help. But it brought him great joy. The many calls and cards that we have received in the last 5 months have been incredible. And for a guy who never liked the phone... well he was the first one to reach for it everytime it would ring. He was always happy to talk to whoever was on the other end.

So from the bottom of my heart and from Lane, Kaylen and Kelsey we thank you for being such a wonderful and great family. It is important for his Fire Department family to know that he loved you so much. Each and every friend held a special place in that huge heart of his. You are all the greatest! You were his family in the truest sense. Thank you for being a part of his life. You made him the man he was and each time the girls and I see a fire truck go by we will remember our Lane Kemper, a great Dad, loving husband and a fireman."

~ ~ ~

Lane’s brother Mark and Rose’s niece Rosemary Immordino gave personal remarks that touched our hearts. Fire Chief Bill Bamattre presented Rose with Lane’s badge and Barry Hedberg presented Rose with the retirement badge. Staff Assistant Tufts was asked to present the Commemorative Bible. Councilman Tom LaBonge spoke on behalf of a grateful City of Los Angeles. The Church was then opened for comments from of the attendees. It was the words and remembrance of co-worker and friend Larry Hoerner that brought a fresh breeze of humor into our midst. Larry was able to make us laugh when we all felt like crying as he read off a list of Lane’s philosophies. He also read a bogus performance evaluation that was written by then Captain Mike Perez and Mike Bowers. It was as if Lane was amongst us laughing himself in the style that made him so endearing to us all.

Ray Walker and Jeff Ferguson filled the church with their great voices as they sang "Comrades Now at Rest", George Negrete gave us his closing encouragements as Rick Denning read the meaning of the "Ten Bells". Lane’s Apparatus Operator Eddie Riveros rang the bells out.

The procession to the cemetery was organized even to the points of when the Amtrak train and Metrolink were crossing at the time of the procession, and even they never showed.

The most impressive part came when the children of Chatsworth Park Elementary stood along the corner of Topanga Canyon Blvd and Devonshire Street. They were wearing small firefighter helmets and waving American flags. It was a moment when time stood still and the innocence of small children gave Captain Lane Kemper his last farewell as his entourage passed silently into the small cemetery known as Oakwood Memorial. It is there Rose buried her husband and I encourage you from time to time to stop by his resting place which is tucked away in the northwest corner among the pines and tell Lane what’s going on.

For those who wish to memorialize Captain Kemper, we welcome your words of condolence as well as funds to help us support his twin "cookies", who turned 9 the day after their Father died. With your help, we will make sure they never walk alone. Your tax-deductible donation may be sent to:

Los Angeles Firemen's Relief Association
Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund
2900 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, California 90026

To assist those killed in the Esperanza Fire, please send your donations to:

Esperanza Firefighters Assistance Fund
PO Box 1645
Riverside, California 92502

Thank you for always remembering The Best Among Us - and those they leave behind.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

Groundbreaking For New Fire Station in Sylmar


The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department warmly welcome you to join civic and community leaders, including Fire Chief William Bamattre at the groundbreaking ceremony for new City of Los Angeles Fire Station 31 in Sylmar.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006
Groundbreaking Site for New Fire Station 31
16320 Foothill Boulevard
Sylmar, California 91342

We are pleased to offer an interactive map and personalized driving directions to the groundbreaking site.

Fire Station 31 will be an entirely new three-bay facility designed to address the burgeoning call volume in the northeast San Fernando Valley.

New Fire Station 31 will be a three-bay facility covering an operationally challenging and once seemingly remote region of north Sylmar just south of the Newhall Pass that has never had a local Fire Station. Since 1956, the area has been served by busy Fire Station 91, more than three miles distant. New Fire Station 31 is scheduled for completion in March 2008.

Much has changed in the last half-century, including recent and planned development of the region, which now includes a pair of major highways, a busy commuter and freight rail corridor, expansive housing and popular recreation sites, as well as steep foothills and canyons covered with flammable brush. Such changes mandate the timely presence of Neighborhood Firefighters and Paramedics made possible by the new facility.

We look forward to seeing you in Sylmar for this monumental groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday morning, November 1, 2006!

(event photos) (slideshow)

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

Greater Alarm Hazardous Materials Incident

Sunday, October 29, 2006 |

On Sunday, October 29, 2006 at 4:26 PM, eleven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, eight LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Hazardous Materials Team, four EMS Battalion Captains, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Craig fry responded to a Hazardous Materials Investigation at 5541 W. Santa Monica Bl in Southeast Hollywood.

More than 100 persons were in a single story commercial building being used as a Swap Meet, when several individuals simultaneously became sickened by a noxious odor . Those impacted by the odor calmly exited the structure as Firefighters arrived to coordinate an orderly evacuation of those who remained in the building.

Firefighters quickly established Incident Command and staged Fire Department resources uphill and upwind from the 100' x 300' structure as a formal triage and treatment area was created to receive forty-seven persons who expressed a variety of medical complaints and concerns.

Of the individuals medically examined by LAFD Paramedics, four elected to be transported to area hospitals for further evaluation of non-life threatening complaints. Utilizing equipment and the expertise of the specially trained members of the LAFD Hazardous Materials Task Force, the situation was determined to be static.

Submitted by Brian Ballton, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

Structure Fire With Civilian Fatality


On Sunday, October 29, 2006 at 6:01 PM, thirteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, six LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, two Hazardous Materials Teams, four EMS Battalion Captains, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief John Vidovich responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 303 S. Van Ness Ave in Hancock Park/Wilshire Center.

The first Company on scene discovered heavy smoke and fire from a third-floor unit of a three-story apartment building. While using handlines to extinguish the fire, Firefighters discovered an adult male in the rear of the apartment without vital signs of life.

Upon completion of a thorough medical assessment by LAFD personnel, he was declared deceased at the scene. In addition, a 73 year old female was treated and transported to a local area hospital with signs of smoke inhalation.

The identification of the victim as well as the exact cause and manner of his death will be determined by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office. The flames were extinguished in just twenty-four minutes. Loss from the fire is still being tabulated, and the cause of the blaze remains under active investigation.

Submitted by Brian Ballton, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

Two Die in Fiery Los Angeles Freeway Collision


On Sunday, October 29, 2006 at 4:29 AM, one Company of Los Angeles Firefighters and one LAFD Heavy Rescue, assisted by two fire companies, one paramedic squad, and one Battalion Chief Officer from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, and one fire company from the Culver City Fire Department, responded to an automobile fire with two civilian fatalities on the Southbound 405 Freeway near La Tijera Boulevard in Westchester.

Firefighters arrived quickly to find a vehicle fully engulfed in flames. During fire attack, Firefighters discovered the remains of two individuals within the car.

Due to burn and traumatic injury, the age and gender of the decedents could not be immediately determined. A positive identification of the deceased, as well as the cause, time and manner of their deaths will be determined by Coroner's officials.

The cause and circumstances of the collision remain under active investigation by the California Highway Patrol.

Submitted by Brian Ballton, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

Firefighters Rescue Children From Burning Apartment

Saturday, October 28, 2006 |

On Friday, October 27, 2006 at 9:25 PM, six Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one EMS Battalion Captain, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Richard Rideout responded to a Structure Fire at 200 W. 108 St. in Southeast Los Angeles.

First units on the scene reported a two story apartment building with smoke showing from one unit on the first floor.

Firefighters using handlines aggressively attacked the fire while conducting an initial search and rescue operation. During the initial search and rescue phase of the incident, Firefighters rescued an eight year old female and a ten year old male from the involved unit.

Both children sustained smoke inhalation and were transported in stable condition to Harbor/UCLA Medical Center.

The aggressive and well-coordinated efforts of thirty-eight Los Angeles Firefighters confined the fire to the structure of origin and brought the flames under control in less than 16 minutes.

Loss from the fire is still being tabulated. The cause of the blaze remains under active investigation.

See Video

Submitted by Brian Ballton, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

Woman Dies In Motel Fire

Friday, October 27, 2006 |

On Friday, October 27, 2006 at 10:49 AM, seven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, three Arson Units, one EMS Battalion Captain, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief John Comerford responded to a Structure Fire With Civilian Fatality at 6909 N Sepulveda in Van Nuys.

The first Truck company arrived promptly to discover fire showing from the 3rd floor of a 3-story Travelodge Motel. As firefighters commenced an attack, they observed two male adults hanging from an adjacent motel room window in panicked response to the flames. Thru the decisive action of the men and women of the LAFD and utilization of our largest ladder, a 35' extension, firefighters were able to access both men and safely deliver them to waiting paramedics.

The synchronized application of their collective skills allowed firefighters to simultaneously battle the flames, and search the remaining units, in an effort to ensure the safety of all occupants. A total of 35 to 40 persons, either self-extricated or were extricated thru the coordinated efforts of the LAFD. The inferno was quelled in just 15 minutes and confined to only one room.

Three adults were treated at the scene for mild smoke inhalation including the two males plucked from the windows, one male, in his mid-twenties, was transported to an area hospital. Despite the aggressive efforts of firefighters, one civilian adult female regrettably perished in the fire room. The cause of this tragic blaze is under active investigation by both LAFD Arson Investigators and the LAPD. Monetary loss is being tabulated.

Submitted by Melissa Kelley, Spokesperson
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Mourns Loss of Fallen USFS Firefighters

Thursday, October 26, 2006 |

The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department express their deepest sympathy to the families, friends and colleagues of five United States Forest Service (USFS) Firefighters who died from injuries sustained while battling the wind-whipped Esperanza Wildfire started by an arsonist near the community of Cabazon in Riverside County, California, ninety-five miles east of Los Angeles.

Detailed Funeral and Memorial Service information can be found at:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

LAPD Officer Dies After He Is Struck By Auto

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 |

It is with great sadness that the men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department offer their sincere condolences to the friends, family, and co-workers of Officer Landon Dorris who was killed in the line of duty on October 22, 2006.

At approximately 1:20 A.M. Office Landon Dorris and his partner, Officer Marc Fujiwara, were investigating a minor traffic collision at Riverside Drive and Hyperion Avenue. Officer Dorris was in the street, when a car heading west on Riverside Drive struck him. The force of the impact caused Officer Dorris to hit another car that was waiting to turn left onto the Golden State Freeway onramp.

Officer Dorris was transposted to USC Medical Center in critical condition, where he later died from his injuries.

For information regarding the funeral and viewing arrangements for officer Dorris, please visit the LAPD website.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation, 1880 North Academy Road, Los Angeles, California 90012.

Questions may be directed to LAPD Media Relations Section at 213-485-3586.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

Commercial Fire Causes Over One Million Dollars Damage


On Wednesday, October 25, 2006 at 6:45 AM, fourteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, six LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, one Rehab Unit, one Hazardous Materials Team, two EMS Battalion Captains, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one Division Chief Officer Command Team, all under the direction of Assistant Chief Roy Kozaki responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 305 E. 32nd St. in Exposition Park.

As Fire Companies arrived, they observed a single story commercial building with heavy smoke billowing from the rear. A further assessment revealed a large wooden addition to the rear of the structure with heavy fire blowing out, impinging upon several nearby structures. In order to gain entry into the main part of the building, forcible entry was conducted on several large rolling steel doors. Firefighters began attacking the bulk of the fire within the commercial building using 2 1/2" hose lines, while additional Firefighters extinguished several fires which had ignited in the surrounding structures.

It took 100 Firefighters just 20 minutes to gain control of the fire in the structure and extinguish the related fires in nearby buildings. During Firefighting operations, the walls of the structure began to exhibit signs of failure. Fortunately, the bulk of the fire had already been extinguished and Firefighters were able to retreat to safe areas without compromising firefighting operations.

A 56 year-old male suffered minor smoke inhalation and was treated and released on scene. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The estimated dollar loss is $1,281,000 ($1,000,000 to the contents of the main building, $250,000 to the main structure, and three exposures suffering $31,000). No other injuries were reported on this incident.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

Orange Line MTA Bus Collides With Truck, 17 Injured

Monday, October 23, 2006 |

On Monday, October 23, 2006 at 3:45 PM, five Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, eight LAFD Rescue Ambulances, two EMS Battalion Captains, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Assistant Chief Tim Manning responded to a Orange Line Collision at Woodman Ave. and Oxnard St. in South Van Nuys.

Firefighters arrived at the intersection to find an Orange Line Metro Bus which had collided with a large delivery type truck. Firefighters and Paramedics immediately began triaging the patients to determine the severity of their injuries.

Treatment areas were established to designate those patients needing various levels of medical care. In all, seventeen patients were triaged and treated at the scene. Of those treated, thirteen were transported to area hospitals. Fortunately, only one patient suffered serious injuries and twelve others were transported with only minor injuries.

All patients transported appeared to have been riding on the bus. The cause of the accident is currently under investigation.

See the Video

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

Cat Perishes in Apartment Fire


On Monday, October 23, 2006 at 5:42 PM, 60 Firefighters under the direction of Battalion Chief Randy Beaty responded to 2319 Florence Ave. in South Los Angeles/Hyde Park. First units on scene found a 2-story garden style apartment with one unit well involved on the second floor, in the rear.

Firefighters were able to control the blaze in just 9 minutes. The occupant, an elderly female who is physically handicapped was able to safely escape, however, her cat was overcome with smoke and perished.

The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental. A coffee pot electric cord produced sparks in the vicinity of papers, which fueled the rapid spread of the fire from the kitchen into the living room. Smoke damage was evident throughout the unit.

Loss from the fire was listed at $100,000 ($25,000 contents, $75,000). Family members of the occupant were on scene to provide support and assistance. No injuries were reported.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

62 Years Ago Today: Sixteen Die in 'Harbor Holocaust'

Sunday, October 22, 2006 |

Many Los Angeles residents are surprised to learn that their Los Angeles Fire Department maintains a flotilla of 'warcraft' in the battle for life safety in the Port of Los Angeles.

Those new to our City, for whom the words Markay, GATX, and Sasinena are met with a blank stare, are often referred to the following story, by legendary retired LAFD Deputy Chief Bill Goss.

It was 62 years ago today...

Nearly Two Score Lives Snuffed in Harbor Holocaust:
Heroic Fireman Saves Many From Fiery Death in Water

By Bill Goss

The explosion and fire at Berth 233, Wilmington on October 21, 1944, brought into flaming reality one of the many potential hazards of Los Angles' busy wartime harbor. Involved in the fire were two hundred feet of outfitting dock which was severely damaged to a depth of about thirty feet.

At midnight of October 20, the S.S. Fredricksburg, a tanker operating for the War Shipping Administration, was tied up to Berth 151. Shortly after they began loading toluene into hold number two, while at the same time pumping water ballast out of hold number one. Toluene is a highly inflammable, very volatile petroleum substance that has many military uses such as a component part of high-test fuels and others the nature of which is restricted military information.

As early as 8:00 a.m. on the 21st several people, among them a cafe owner, detected the odor of what they thought was gasoline in the area around Berth 223. An examination made by Coast Guard officers checking the source of the fumes disclosed that hold number two was leaking into hold number one containing the ballast water and was being pumped into the bay. The tidal current in the bay carries almost directly from Berth 151 on a southeasterly direction to Berth 223.

At the outfitting dock, Berth 223, shortly before 2:00 p.m. naval and civilian crews were busy spray-painting, welding and doing other work on LSMs 211 and 212. About this time a welder, C.E. Truitt, struck an arc on the bow, in shore rail, of LSM 211. Instantaneously as he struck the arc a flash fire occurred that completely enveloped the LSMs and a large area of the surrounding bay and docks. On the docks were about 25 vehicles, trucks and passenger cars, all of which took fire.

At Berth 227, quarters of Boat 2, a short way down the bay, the man on floor watch saw the flash of fire and called to Captain Jack Allen. Captain Allen turned in a still alarm and ordered immediate response of the big 99-footer. Responding on a first alarm to the location were Fire Boats 2 and 3, Engine Companies 81 and 40, Rescue 36, Salvage 36 and Battalion Chief Dikeman of the Sixth Battalion.

As Boat 2 made its way up the channel to the fire, a 4 1/2-in. tip was put on the ship's main battery, "Big Bertha," and the bow and tower monitor were readied for action. As they neared the burning LSMs, with their decks and sides well involved in fire, one sweep of the great 4 1/2-inch stream of water was all that was needed to completely snuff out the fire on them. The smaller batteries were at work breaking up the fire floating on the water. By this time Boat 2 had completed a run by the fire and turning came back and with one more mighty swoop extinguished the fires on the dock involving the autos and trucks, while the land companies were still stretching their lines. To get an idea of the terrific impact of a 4 1/2-inch stream, it was noted that a medium sized truck, struck broadside, was pushed across the dock by the force of the water as though it were a toy. Coast Guard fire boats which had been patrolling the area closed in and aided in the task of finishing off the areas of the water that still were afire.

Fire Boat 3, with Senior Boat Operator J.V. Roquemore, responded along with the rest of the assignment. As he neared the burning area he noticed that a considerable number of men were in the water around the burning vessels and clinging to the nearby wharves. As Roquemore was alone, due to the depletion of manpower in the fire department, he realized that it would be impossible to make any effort to fight the fire and handle the boat at the same time. His first duty appeared to be in the direction of saving all possible life. Leaving the fire fighting to Boat 2 he took up a position as near as possible to the struggling men in the water, throwing all the life preservers that he had aboard to them and pulling men out of the water as fast as he could reach them. A civilian, Pat Lee, an employee of Garbutt and Walsh, clambered aboard when Boat 3 drifted close to some tugs tied up to his firm's boat works adjacent to Berth 233, and helped "Rocky" with his life saving endeavors. These two men also got help from the nurse at the Industrial Hospital of the boat yard and brought her aboard to administer to the victims of the sudden explosion and fire aboard the Navy ships. By now "Rocky" had his boat full of injured and suffering naval and civilian men. At first they didn't seem too badly injured, but soon some showed the effects of severe shock and many of them were seriously and dangerously burned. The question arose of where best and most expeditiously to dispose of these cases and get them expert care. It was decided to take them to the Coast Guard base at the old California Yacht Club across the channel. Arriving there at 2:15 p.m. he delivered the seventeen cases he had aboard. In the interval many of the injured had become unconscious and had to be removed on stretchers.

Boat 3 returned to the scene of the fire and pulled in several more victims found in the water and after taking them to a place of safety, made several trips bringing medical officers, civilian doctors to and from the scene of the fire, the Coast Guard boats, as well as Fire Boat 2. To date sixteen men, five civilians and eleven Navy personnel have died, with more than thirty-five being hospitalized. Undoubtedly this toll would have been much higher had it not been for the courageous and efficient work of Mate Roquemore, who has spent his 20 years on the fire department in the bay area.

As soon as the fire aboard the LSMs was knocked down the Navy removed them to another location, and although the fire on the water and docks had been extinguished, a tough and dangerous fire continued to burn amid the creosoted underpiling of the wharf. The dock, in ordinary times the property of the Hammond Lumber Company, had a fire stop underneath, just north of the fire area abutting Garbutt and Walsh, but to the south there were no stops and in this direction the fire continued to spread.

At 2:45 p.m. Assistant Chief Harold Johnson, commander of Division No.1, arrived to take charge of operations. Calling for a second alarm assignment which brought Engines 38 and 49, Truck 48 and moved Engine Co.31 into 38's quarters, operations on the dock fire commenced. From the water side the fire boats closed in and rail standee streams were directed into the burning piles. Skiffs from the Coast Guard boats and Boat 2 with 1 1/2-in. lines were sent under the dock although the acrid smoke and fumes made the going plenty rough. Along with the second alarm assignment, the crews of Engine and Truck 24 were sent to the scene to provide additional manpower. Starting at a point just south of the blaze, axes and jumbo bars were used to cut holes through the three inches of asphalt and heavy 4x6 inch timbers that formed the dock. At first cellar nozzles were tried, but it was found that the barrels were too short to provide any effective reach. Changing to Bresnan distributors, the desired results were achieved as they could be lowered to any point necessary. From this starting point other holes were successfully cut along the pier until the complete area had been extinguished. In some cases it was necessary to lower men and lines into the openings to get at stubborn pockets of fire in remote places of the dock construction.

Late in the afternoon, the fire out, the weary crews picked up and returned to their quarters, having completed a job well done. While the operations at the dock were going on, the fire boats cruised up and down the channel playing their batteries on the water to break up any oil slick that might tend to get under the wharf and further complicate matters. A point that is of interest to firemen in the Metropolitan area is that although Engine 81 laid its lines from a hydrant on Ferry street, Engines 38, 40 and 49 pumped at draft from the bay during the operations.

Subsequent arson investigations developed two theories as to the cause of the fuel and vapors being in the bay around the LSMs. First it is known that toluene was escaping into the bay from the Fredericksburg, and that the tidal drift would carry it across the channel to Berth 223. If such was the case then the question arises, why was there no flash back to Berth 151? It is believed that incoming and out-going sea traffic would break up the continuity of any such flow on the surface of the water and this coupled with the ebbing of the tide, would confine the polluted area to around the ships at the pier and under the pier itself. The fumes from the material and from fuel carried in some instances in open containers aboard the ships covered the site with a blanket of highly inflammable vapors that took just one spark to start an inferno of death and destruction.

A second theory is that fuel leakage from another ship that had been tied up to the same docks a short time before, had polluted the area along with some possible pollution from the tanker at Berth 151, and the fumes from these being ignited, caused the fire. The whole story will be unfolded when the Naval Board of Inquire reveals its findings some time in the future.

In conclusion a word of "well done" to the men and officers of the boat and land companies of the harbor for a fine heads-up job.

To learn more about the fascinating history of the Los Angeles Fire Department, please visit the LAFD Museum and Memorial, or view their on-line historical archive, including articles focused on significant Fire Department incidents in the busiest seaport on the Pacific Rim.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

Greater Alarm Fire At Plating Company Causes $160,000 Damage

Saturday, October 21, 2006 |

On Saturday, October 21, 2006 at 6:07 AM, fourteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, five LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Rehab Unit, one Hazardous Materials Team, two EMS Battalion Captains, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Assistant Chief Roy Kozaki responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 951 W. Vernon Ave. in Exposition Park/Coliseum Area.

Firefighters arrived on scene to find a 100' x 50' single story commercial building well involved in fire. Firefighters immediately began an aggressive interior attack on the fire while additional Firefighters ascended to the roof and began providing vertical ventilation. The building, a plating company doing business as the "General Plating Company", was immediately suspected of housing potentially hazardous or dangerous chemicals.

The Los Angeles County Health Department was requested to monitor water runoff and air quality for potential contaminants. It was determined that no hazard existed and normal decontamination procedures would be sufficient to mitigate any exposure. In all, over one hundred Firefighters responded to the incident and were able to control the fire in approximately 20 minutes.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by LAFD Arson Investigators. The dollar loss is estimated at $160,000 ($80,000 Structure and $80,000 Contents). There were no injuries reported.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

'Into The Fire' on The History Channel...


Documentary filmmaker Bill Couturie goes beyond the hero image and into the hearts and minds of the men and women of America's Fire Service - including one of LAFD's own, in Into the Fire, which airs nationally on The History Channel on Sunday afternoon October 22, 2006.

Please check your local listings for the showtimes in your area.

Once you have seen the movie, please feel free to share your thoughts via the comments link below.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

Groundbreaking For New Fire Station in Studio City

Friday, October 20, 2006 |

The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department warmly welcome you to join civic and community leaders, including the Office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Councilmember Wendy Greuel, City Engineer Gary Moore, Board of Public Works Commissioner Yolanda Fuentes, Fire Commission Vice-President Jill Furillo and Fire Chief William Bamattre at the groundbreaking ceremony for new City of Los Angeles Fire Station 78 in Studio City.

Monday, October 23, 2006
Groundbreaking Site for New Fire Station 78
4041 Whitsett Avenue
Studio City, CA 91604

We are pleased to offer an interactive map and personalized driving directions to the groundbreaking site.

Station 78 crew in 1947, four years after the facility opened. Click this image for more information...

Former Fire Station 78 was constructed in 1943 at a total cost of $34,960 ($31,627 building and $3,333 property) and was approximately 4,342 square feet. The Northridge Earthquake of 1994 destroyed the 51 year-old World War II era facility.

With assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a modular apparatus shed and trailer-like building were placed on the site at a cost of $400,000. This temporary facility has served the community for more than ten years awaiting the construction of permanent Fire Station.

Today, temporary Fire Station 78 houses a Paramedic Engine Company and a Paramedic Rescue Ambulance that are staffed around-the-clock by 6 LAFD members who handle approximately 13 emergency incidents everyday.

Fire Station 78 covers a geographically and culturally diverse four square-mile area of Studio City and Valley Village that includes a busy retail and office corridor, a major highway, large areas of multi-family housing, and steep hillsides with winding roads that lead to homes built among the flammable brush of the Santa Monica Mountains.

New Fire Station 78 is one of 19 replacement fire stations funded by the voter approved November 2000 Proposition F.

The new Fire Station will sit on one acre of land and consist of a modern, welcoming and energy efficient 15,250 square foot Station House.

New Fire Station 78 is a categorized as a 'Standard Fire Station' and unlike the current temporary facility, will have the capability of housing one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, two Engine Companies, two Basic or Advanced Life Support Ambulances and one Aerial Ladder Truck Company as well as other specialized Fire Department equipment.

In addition, this new facility can provide for apparatus and personnel pre-deployment during high-hazard conditions, serve as a routine training facility, as well as support large-scale incident staging and command post operations.

New Fire Station 78, a $7.98 million facility constructed on $5 million in property is scheduled to open in March of 2008 to serve the areas of Studio City and Valley Village for decades to come.

We look forward to seeing you in Studio City for this groundbreaking ceremony on Monday morning, October 23!

(event photos) (slideshow)

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

Investigation: Santa Monica Farmers' Market Crash


With a manslaughter verdict just announced in the July 16, 2003 vehicle and pedestrian collision that killed 10 and injured 63 at a Farmers’ Market in Santa Monica, California, there have been a multitude of informal inquiries from those seeking to better understand the incident.

Though the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to the collision in mutual aid, the entire event took place in the City of Santa Monica.

As such, local information or commentary regarding emergency response must come from the Santa Monica Police or Fire Department.

On the Federal level, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted a formal investigation and public hearing for which documents are now available:

- NTSB Investigation Report
- NTSB Public Hearing Presentation

We find these NTSB reports to be highly informative and thought-provoking for emergency responders and the public alike. Our educational pursuit however, in no way lessens our primary concern and condolence for the many who were deeply impacted by this event.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

Structure Fire With Firefighter Injuries

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 |

On Wednesday, October 18, 2006 at 3:06 PM, seven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, five LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Helicopter, one EMS Battalion Captain, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Ronnie Villanueva responded to a Structure Fire at 9341 N. Noble Av in Panorama City/Arleta.

First units on the scene reported a single family dwelling well involved with fire showing. Using handlines, Firefighters made an aggressive attack on the fire extinguishing the blaze in seventeen minutes.

During firefighting operations, one Fire Captain and one Firefighter suffered first degree facial burns. In good condition, they were transported to Sherman Oaks Community Hospital where they were treated and placed off duty.

Monetary loss from the fire is still being tabulated. The cause of this early morning blaze remains under active investigation.

Submitted by Brian Ballton, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

Remembering to Say Thank You...

Sunday, October 15, 2006 |

October is a busy time at the Los Angeles Fire Department, but not too busy to say thanks to the many who made our recent Firefighter Memorial Service, Greater Alarm Gala and Firefighter Festival of Hollywood so successful that they've been collectively called "a Hollywood hit"

Thursday's Firefighter Memorial Service was well attended, and words cannot express how much the presence of caring members of our community meant to the families of our fallen.

Friday's Greater Alarm Gala, now in its second year, has become the most elegant public event associated with our Department, and we remain stunned at the spirited support of individuals and institutions who share our vision of a fitting memorial site devoted to Firefighters who paid the ultimate price in protecting Los Angeles.

Additional thanks to our LAFD Brothers and Sisters who brought their award-winning firehouse culinary skills to our Gala dinner guests, including:

- Tortilla Soup from Station 8 in Porter Ranch
- Cesaer Salad & Chinese Chicken Salad from Station 50 in Glassell Park
- Grilled Vegetables & More from Station 27 in Hollywood
- Paella from Station 76 in the Cahuenga Pass
- Barbecue Swordfish from Station 48 in San Pedro
- Barbecue Tri-Tip from Battalion 7
- Barbecue Chicken Kabobs from Division 2

Saturday's Firefighter Festival of Hollywood has affirmed our belief that the Firefighters of our City need this annual close-of-summer chance to thank their many supporters among food, music and fun.

And since many of you asked... the winners from nearly a dozen entries in Saturday's celebrity judged contest for 'Best Firehouse Food':

- 3rd Place: Station 63 in Venice for J Bo's Ribs & Monkey Bread
- 2nd Place: Station 1 in Lincoln Heights for Tafoya's Eastside Tacos
- 1st Place: Station 64 in South LA for Mayo's Boomtown Short Ribs & Rice

Yes, it was a remarkable week. Thanks for helping make the magic happen. We look forward to seeing you at next year's events!

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

More Than One Proud Family


Fire Chief William Bamattre meets the family of Firefighter Michael Suarkeo

The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department are proud to welcome Michael Suarkeo and his relatives to our LAFD family.

Michael's family members were kind enough to share images of his recent LAFD Recruit Academy graduation. We think they speak volumes of our Department, it's proud traditions - and our promising future.

We would like to not only congratulate Michael, but also his family, who clearly stood behind him during the challenge of LAFD's 19-week Recruit Training Academy.

As Michael commences the rigors of his 52-week probationary period, we know his success will be measured in many ways, not the least of which are the smiles so clearly evident in the photo above, including those of Fire Chief William Bamattre.

Again Michael, congratulations and best wishes. We're proud to have you aboard.

If you'd like to follow in Michael's footsteps, please call (213) 485-8032 or visit:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

Greater Alarm Structure Fire

Saturday, October 14, 2006 |

On Saturday, October 14, 2006 at 8:10 AM, eight Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, two Helicopters, one EMS Battalion Captain, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Peter Benesch responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 9601 W. Oak Pass Rd. in the Coldwater Canyon/Mulholland Drive area.

Firefighters arrived to find a single family dwelling well involved with fire showing. Firefighters entered the structure and commenced an aggressive interior fire attack using handlines. Faced with an overwhelming volume of heat and fire during fire containment, Firefighters transitioned from an offensive attack to take up defensive positions on the exterior of the building.

When the bulk of the fire was contained, Firefighters re-entered the building with handlines for final fire extinguishment. Firefighters confined the blaze to the structure of origin, and extinguished the fire in 41 minutes.

During fireground operations, one Firefighter sustained a moderate injury to his right eye. In good condition, he was taken to Sherman Oaks hospital, where he was treated and placed off duty. No other injuries were reported. Monetary loss from the fire is still being tabulated. The cause of this early morning blaze remains under active investigation.

Submitted by Brian Ballton, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

Chatsworth Park Kids: Pillars of Character

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 |

A special moment for Los Angeles Firefighters

If a picture can say a thousand words, this image will take at least than many to properly share.

We'll revisit this photograph next week in an inspiring look at the kids of Chatsworth Park School and the important lessons of character they shared with Firefighters from Los Angeles and far beyond.

It's a touching story of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship that you'll want to read.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

Camp Stove Explodes in Apartment: 3 Children Burned


On Tuesday, October 10, 2006 at 5:14 PM, eight Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, five LAFD Rescue Ambulances, two Arson Units, one EMS Battalion Captain and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 55 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Evan Williams, responded to a Explosion with Civilian Burn Injuries at 13142 Vanowen Street in North Hollywood.

Firefighters arrived quickly at the scene of a reported structure fire to find light smoke but no flames showing from a two-story garden style apartment building.

Directed to one downstairs apartment at the south end of the building, Firefighters discovered evidence of a fire out in the kitchen. They were subsequently met by and began providing medical care for three boys who each sustained painful though non-life threatening first- and second-degree burns to less than 5% of their faces.

According to witnesses, an adult female had been using a butane fueled camping stove within the kitchen, and left the makeshift cooking device unattended for an unspecified period of time to boil a liquid.

The stove ignited clothing stacked nearby, and soon thereafter, spare butane canisters that were kept adjacent to the stove.

Neighbors noting a short series of explosions and the self-evacuation of two adult women and the three injured boys, entered the apartment to find evidence of blast damage and a small fire that was quickly extinguished by their use of a garden hose prior to Firefighters arrival.

Though the actions and location of the three boys was not immediately determined, it was apparent that the brothers age 11 and 13, as well as their relative age 9 had been in close proximity to the fire.

At the time of the blast, the woman who had been using the stove, described as the mother of the two older boys, and an adult female relative - mother of the youngest burn victim, were reportedly in the small apartment but not injured.

The boys, all in good condition, were treated by LAFD Paramedics and transported by Fire Department ambulance to Valley Presbyterian Hospital.

No other injuries were reported.

Loss from the explosion and fire is estimated at $11,000 ($10,000 structure & $1,000 contents).

The explosion and fire is categorized as accidental and attributed to combustible items stored too close to the unattended camping stove. The camping stove was reportedly being used due to a lack of natural gas service within the one apartment.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

College Education: Fire Safety For Students

Monday, October 09, 2006 |

In recognition of Fire Prevention Week and in light of a Greater Alarm Fire that occured this morning in a former frat house near the UCLA Campus in Westwood, the men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department are asking you to join them in a quest for campus fire safety.

More than 10.2 million young adults ages 18 to 24 head to college each fall, leaving parents to wonder about the issues their children will face - crime, academic pressure and social activities that may involve alcohol. Parents often overlook a problem that strikes college towns each and every year: fire.

Since January 2000, 88 people have died in on- and off-campus-related fires. Nearly 80 percent of these fatal fires occurred in off-campus housing, where most students live.

Though the fire this morning in Westwood remains under investigation, a common factor in fires involving college students is alcohol consumption, which may limit response to traditional smoke alarms.

A recent study found that young adults who went to sleep under the influence of alcohol took nearly twice as long to wake to a smoke alarm than when they were sober. In that same study, more than one-third of participants under the influence never woke up.

Disabled smoke alarms, careless disposal of cigarettes and lack of automatic fire sprinklers also contribute to the college fire problem.

"It is vital that students learn how to protect themselves and their friends from fire," said Ed Comeau, director of the Center for Campus Fire Safety, a nonprofit organization devoted to reducing the loss of life and property from campus-related fires. "It's important for parents to ask the questions and make sure their child's housing is equipped with smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. If you aren't concerned about fire safety, you can't expect your kids to be."

Before your kids pack their bags and head to school, discuss these important fire safety tips with them:

  • Install smoke alarms in every room of a rental property. Consider networked smoke alarms that are linked together so that when one alarm sounds, all of the alarms sound. This immediate response can provide early warning no matter where the fire starts, giving more time to escape.

  • Test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries as needed.

  • Never disable smoke alarms by removing the batteries or by covering them.

  • Know two ways out of every building--your residence hall, apartment, nightclub, restaurant or movie theater. A fire escape ladder can provide an alternate exit from second- or third-floor rooms.

  • Properly dispose of smoking materials in ashtrays.

  • After parties, check chair and couch cushions for smoldering cigarettes.

  • Purchase a fire extinguisher and learn how to use it BEFORE a fire breaks out.

  • Install carbon monoxide alarms on every floor and near sleeping areas.

  • Use approved extension cords and electrical appliances properly. Don't overload electrical outlets.

  • Never leave candles unattended and keep them away from flammable items. Be sure to extinguish candles before going to bed.

For more information about campus fire safety, please visit:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

Abandoned Fraternity House Burns Near UCLA


On Monday, October 9, 2006 at 2:17 AM, fourteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, one Hazardous Materials Squad, two EMS Battalion Captains, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 95 LAFD personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Dennis Waters responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 611 South Gayley Avenue in Westwood.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover smoke showing from the third floor of a vacant three story fraternity house southwest of the UCLA campus.

Forcing access into the abandoned building and aided by strategic vertical ventilation performed by rooftop colleagues, Firefighters extended handlines to do battle with intense flames on the top floor of the 5,447 square-foot building.

The fire was confined to the uppermost level of the unoccupied 67 year-old structure and extinguished in just 27 minutes.

There were no injuries.

Structural loss from the fire is estimated at $50,000. The cause of this early morning blaze remains under investigation.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

Cell Phone Keypad Lights Way For Hiker Rescue

Saturday, October 07, 2006 |

On Saturday, October 7, 2006 at 9:30 PM, two Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one LAFD Rescue Ambulance, two LAFD Helicopters, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, as well as resources from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Park Rangers and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Lost Hills Search and Rescue Team, all under the direction of LAFD Battalion Chief Dennis Waters responded to report of Lost Hikers near Topanga and Entrada in the Topanga State Park.

Two male hikers, age 19 and 20 became lost in the hills above Pacific Palisades. Due to the heavy brush and the darkness of night fall, they were unable to identify their exact location. The hikers were able to call 9-1-1 and alert emergency responders by using their cell phone.

Unfortunately, the charge on the cell phone battery was extremely low, and the hikers feared loosing contact with responding rescuers.

As Firefighters from local Fire Stations, Park Rangers and members from the LACo Sheriff Lost Hills Search and Rescue Team began a foot search of the area, LAFD helicopters began an aerial reconnaissance of the area attempting to locate the individuals.

As the LAFD Firefighter/Dispatcher was talking to the hiker on the cell phone, the hiker was able to help direct the helicopter into his general area. The hiker stated that the helicopter had flown over them twice already, and even though they were waving their shirts, they had not been spotted.

The Firefighter/Dispatcher, having experience and training in LAFD Air Operations, anticipated that the LAFD Helicopter would be using their "Night Vision Goggles" during this operation, which could easily locate a light source.

The Firefighter/Dispatcher was able to instruct the hiker to illuminate his cellphone screen and aim it directly towards the helicopter.

Within minutes, the airship was able to spot the cellphone, locate the lost hikers, illuminate the area using the night sun, and alert rescuers that the hikers had been located.

The uninjured hikers were removed from the remote area using a hoist operation from the helicopter and safely transported to a location where ground crews could assist them with reuniting with their families.

Fortunately, due to the experience of skilled LAFD Pilots, diligent ground crews, and well trained and seasoned Firefighter/Dispatchers, both hikers were rescued in just over one hour without injury.

Listen to the 911 Caller, Dispatcher & LAFD Pilot.....This is an LAFD audio message - click to play
See Example Video of Night Vision Rescue

(news video)

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

Woman Found Deceased Following L.A. Fire

Friday, October 06, 2006 |

On Friday, October 6, 2006 at 3:45 PM, one Company of Los Angeles Firefighters, one LAFD Rescue Ambulance, four Arson Units, one EMS Battalion Captain, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Captain I Sean Conway responded to a reported "medical problem" at 3726 South Edgehill Drive in the Jefferson Park/Leimert Park area.

Upon entering the single family residence, Firefighters discovered the body of a older female and signs of a recent fire within the structure that was not actively burning.

The patient was declared deceased on scene.

The cause of the fire and the circumstances surrounding the fatality are currently under investigation by LAFD Arson Investigators and LAPD.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

LAFD Stands By at "World Can't Wait" Demonstrations

Thursday, October 05, 2006 |

At the safe and peaceful conclusion to today's World Can't Wait demonstrations in Los Angeles, many people noted the subtle and ready presence of Los Angeles Fire Department personnel.

While there were thankfully no fire, rescue or medical emergencies involving participants, the readiness of LAFD staff to render aid was not a matter of happenstance. It was a matter of planning and preparedness.

For those who have wondered how and why we deploy to such events, we welcome you to read a frank after-action report presented by Fire Chief William Bamattre to the Los Angeles Fire Commission regarding the massive March 25, 2006 protests in downtown Los Angeles.

We hope this public document will reassure you of our firm commitment to working with the community and other public safety agencies in assuring that participants and bystanders at major events remain free from illness and injury.

To that end, we welcome all members of the community to visit their Neighborhood Fire Station and engage in dialogue with the men and women of the LAFD.

Whether a block party, street festival - or political protest, we're always eager to affirm the scope of our mission and our commitment to safety for all.

To read Chief Bamattre's report, click here.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,

LAFD Dispatcher Guides Woman To Safety During Major Emergency Fire

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 |

On Tuesday, October 3, 2006 at 7:51 PM, 20 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, seven LAFD Rescue Ambulances, three Arson Units, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, 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 Terrance Manning responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at 421 S. La Fayette Park Pl. in La Fayette Park.

During the initial 911 call for help, and prior to the arrival of Firefighters, the LAFD Firefighter Dispatcher, drawing upon years of field experience, was able to successfully give life saving directions to a woman trapped on the fire floor within the smoke filled structure.

While talking with her on her cell phone, the Dispatcher was able to direct the woman to remain calm, check the door for heat (which would indicate fire in the hallway) before opening it, to get as low to the floor as possible to breathe, and exit towards and into an adjacent stairwell.

Fortunately, the woman was able to escape from the smoke charged building without sustaining life threatening injuries.

As Firefighters arrived, they reported a six-story garden style condominium complex with fire and heavy smoke showing from one unit on the 3rd floor. Firefighters using handlines made an aggressive attack on the fire, encountering a tremendous volume of heavy smoke and heat on the fire floor. Quick and skillful teamwork by 142 members of the LAFD extinguished the blaze in thirty-four minutes.

During firefighting operations a fifty year old male was rescued from the fire unit and was subsequently transported to Good Samaritan Hospital in critical condition with severe smoke inhalation where he was declared deceased by hospital personnel. An adult female was treated for a head injury and transported to Kaiser Hospital.

Approximately 7 people were displaced and assisted by the American Red Cross. Monetary loss from the fire is still being tabulated, and The cause of the fire remains under active investigation.

Listen to the 911 call.....
This is an LAFD audio message - click to play

Submitted by Brian Ballton and Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tags: , , ,