Commercial Fire Rips Interior Furnishing Company

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 |

On Tuesday, November 28, 2006 at 4:56 PM, twenty-eight Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, seven LAFD Rescue Ambulances, two Arson Units, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, one Rehab Unit, one Hazardous Materials Team, three EMS Battalion Captains, five Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, all under the direction of Assistant Chief Patrick Engel responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at 20800 Dearborn St. in Chatsworth.

Firefighters responding to the reported fire location noticed a large column of smoke billowing from the general vicinity. The first Companies arrived to find a large single-story commercial building with heavy fire showing. An aggressive interior attack, coordinated with rapid roof ventilation produced little progress in controlling the fire.

Approximately ten minutes into the fire, fearing for the safety of personnel on the scene, the Incident Commander ordered the progression from an offensive operation to a defensive mode. Heavy stream hose lines, ladder pipes, and portable monitors were positioned to provide maximum water flow with maximum effect.

During the one-hour defensive operation, additional Firefighters mounted an aggressive campaign to save the office/retail portion of the building. Even though the building suffered enormous damage, the firefighters were able to protect the office area, thereby saving the occupants records and computers.

By protecting the contents of the office, the business, Tri Star Interiors, will have an improved prospect of returning to full operations quicker. There were no reported injuries and the dollar loss is still being tabulated. The preliminary cause appears to be electrical, however the investigation is in progress.

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Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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LAFD Mourns Passing of a Spiritual Icon

Sunday, November 26, 2006 |

The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department mourn the passing of their dear friend, mentor and spiritual shepherd, Monsignor John Sammon, who died last Friday at age 90.

Monsignor Sammon became a Fire Department chaplain in Los Angeles during World War II, bringing great comfort to members of the LAFD and other agencies through his limitless caring for those who care for others.

Though he was reassigned by the church to serve an Orange County parish in 1960, Monsignor Sammon continued his relationship with Los Angeles Firefighters in the decades that followed, ultimately expanding his aura of compassion and caring among Firefighters, Law Enforcement Officers and countless others across the Golden State.

To describe him as an icon to California Firefighters and Peace Officers would be an understatement. He will be sorely missed by those who knew him, and even more so by those who never had the blessing to be in his presence.

Rest in Peace, Monsignor, Your Work Will Be Remembered.

Memorial Service:

Thursday, November 30, 2006 at 11:00 AM

Crystal Cathedral
12141 Lewis Street
Garden Grove, CA 92840

Prayer Vigil:

Thursday, November 30, 2006 at 7:00 PM

Holy Family Cathedral
566 South Glassell Street
Orange, CA 92866

Funeral Mass:

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 10:00 AM

Holy Family Cathedral
566 South Glassell Street
Orange, CA 92866

Burial Service:

Friday, December 1, 2006 (immediately following Mass)

Holy Sepulcher Cemetery
7845 Santiago Canyon Road
Orange, CA 92869

(OCFA) (CSFA) (Los Angeles Times) (Orange County Register)

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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13 Taken to Hospital in San Fernando Valley Collision

Friday, November 24, 2006 |

On Friday, November 24, 2006 at 5:08 PM, three Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, six LAFD Rescue Ambulances, two EMS Battalion Captains, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 33 personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Evan Williams responded to a Multi-Patient Traffic Collision on the Southbound Hollywood Freeway (SR170) near Victory Boulevard in North Hollywood.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover a two vehicle collision, in which one vehicle had overturned before returning to its wheels, the other colliding with the concrete median.

There were no ejections or entrapment.

Fourteen persons were quickly identified and triaged, including six children and eight adults. The most seriously injured was a 33 year-old male experiencing chest discomfort. None of the injuries was considered life-threatening, and most were unscathed.

LAFD personnel offered comfort and reassurance to the children, who ranged in age from 5 to 13, as the more seriously injured were cared for. All but one adult, declining transportation, were taken to area hospitals by LAFD ambulance.

The cause of the collision, as well as the status, deployment and possible effects of primary and supplemental passenger restraint systems will be determined by California Highway Patrol Officers.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Brentwood House Fire Kills One

Wednesday, November 22, 2006 |

On Tuesday, November 21, 2006 at 8:26 PM, eleven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, five LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Heavy Rescue, one Arson Unit, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, one Helicopter, three EMS Battalion Captains, four Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, all under the direction of Assistant Chief Terrance Manning responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire with Civilian Fatality at 1300 North Kenter Avenue in Brentwood.

Firefighters arrived on the scene to find a 2,438 square foot, 2-story, single family home fully involved with fire. In addition, homes on either side of the residence were threatened by fire and radiant heat.

Firefighters immediately deployed handlines to provide structure protection to the surrounding homes. Working in concert, additional Firefighters attacked the fire on the interior of the home, on both the first and second floors. Firefighters experienced extreme heat and fire conditions fueled by heavy interior storage during the firefighting operations.

It took 90 Firefighters 33 minutes to gain control of the fire. During firefighting operations it was initially reported by neighbors that an elderly couple were presumed home at the time of the blaze.

Firefighters discovered an adult female within the home, where she was declared deceased. A pet dog also perished in the flames.

Due to the extensive fire damage, firefighters worked for hours in search of the adult male resident, who was later determined to be safely out of state at the time of the fire.

Though the property owner declared the presence of smoke alarms within the 36 year-old residence, their location and functional status at the time of the fire could not be immediately determined due to fire damage.

A positive identity of the deceased woman, as well as the cause, time and manner of her death will be determined by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.

Monetary loss from the fire is estimated at $700,000 ($400,000 structure & $300,000 contents).

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

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Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Chicalittle: God Bless LAFD and Little Brothers...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006 |

Chicalittle. Click here to read more...Please allow us to introduce 'Chicalittle', whose Livejournal recently chronicled her encounter with the men and women of Los Angeles Fire Department.

God Bless LAFD and little brothers....
And I mean that quite fervently.

Tonight, we had a fire at one of our buildings. (All tenants & pets are okay.) Turned out what the tenant thought was a small electrical issue was actually something much bigger. (Long story, and for insurance reasons, I can't give any details.)

The L.A. Fire Dept. came out in full force, and not only got the fire put out -- but they did some serious damage control! I had no idea that whenever possible, they not only move furniture and personal belongings out of the way, but cover them with plastic sheeting to protect them from water damage. And then they move as much of the debris out of the way as possible and do preliminary clean-up, including water removal from carpets, shoveling debris out of the unit, etc. These guys absolutely ROCKED!

Read the full entry...

Thanks Chicalittle, for your kind words, and for the opportunity to be of service to you and your neighbors in a time of need.

Many residents of our community are surprised to learn that Los Angeles Firefighters respond to an average of 111 fires or fire alarm calls each day. We're pleased to say that we put as much emphasis on serving folks after the fire as we do in responding to and preventing these often menacing events.

In closing, please allow us to extend a warm welcome to visit your Neighborhood Fire Station. The men and women of our Department cherish the opportunity to meet you under non-emergent circumstances, and in doing so, hope to find ways to better meet exceed all of your needs and expectations.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Fire Scorches Auto Parts Store in Woodland Hills

Monday, November 20, 2006 |

On Monday, November 20, 2006 at 7:18 PM, twelve Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, four LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, one Emergency Air/Rehab Unit, one Hazardous Materials Squad, two EMS Battalion Captains, four Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 91 personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief James Gaffney, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 5952 Fallbrook Avenue in Woodland Hills.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover heavy smoke showing from the central portion of a 120' x 70' four-occupancy one-story commercial structure.

Aided by skilfull forced entry through a rolling steel door and timely vertical ventilation, Firefighters used handlines to confine the voracious fire within the business of origin, an auto parts retailer, sparing the three adjacent firms. The flames were extinguished in just twenty-five minutes.

The 62 year-old proprietor of 'Affordable Auto Parts' was the only person in the building at the time of the fire. Though he escaped without apparent injury, his later subjective complaint of dyspnea afforded him a comprehensive evaluation by LAFD Paramedics before being transported in good condition to West Hills Hospital for further observation.

The man related to Firefighters that he had been using a power grinder in the rear of the building when flames suddenly erupted behind him. Despite his prompt use of a portable fire extinguisher, the flames took hold of the flammable storage in the non-fire sprinklered unit, forcing him to evacuate the building.

Monetary loss from the fire is still being tabulated. The cause of the blaze remains listed as under investigation.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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LAFD Retiree the 'Diamond' of Fire Service Training

Saturday, November 18, 2006 |

The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department are proud of those who preceded them in serving our City, especially those who have chosen to share their personal commitment and expertise with others in our vocation. One such retired member of our LAFD family was recently feted in Logan Utah's The Herald Journal:

Author to train county firefighters
By Tyler Riggs

About 50 Cache County firefighters will learn training techniques today from the man who wrote the textbook on modern fire fighting.


John Mittendorf, a former firefighter with the Los Angeles City Fire Department and author of a popular textbook in the fire industry called "Truck Company Operations", will help fire crews from the Logan, North Logan, Smithfield and Cache County fire departments train both in a classroom and at the Logan-Cache fire training facility near the Logan Landfill.

Logan Fire Chief Mark Meaker said part of the reason...

Read the full story...

Thanks Chief Mittendorf, for being the "Diamond" that you are!

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Please Bear With Us During Our Office Technical Difficulties

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 |

Gabcast! LAFD News & Information #2

UPDATE: The hardware crash in our dungeon office was sadly far worse than we initially imagined. Thanks to help from headquarters technical staff we are beginning the road to recovery. Each of us are taking work home in a "late nights and weekends" effort to reconstruct data. Thanks for your patience, your many e-mails and offers of support. We hope to be back on-line soon. We're making great progress and hope to be fully up to speed by the first week of December.

Ron Myers, Brian Humphrey and Brian Ballton
Los Angeles Fire Department

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The Dog Whisperer Visits LAFD Station 29

Sunday, November 12, 2006 |

It's a television program you won't want to miss, when the renowned Dog Whisperer visits Fire Station 29 in Los Angeles to help with "Wilshire" the dalmatian.

The episode, entitled "Wilshire & Butch", is a heartwarming tale of lessons learned and bonds strengthened between the dog and crew - and among the firefighters themselves thanks to world-renowned dog behavior specialist Cesar Millan.

The show debuts on Monday evening, November 13, 2006 on the National Geographic Channel, and is expected to remain in syndication. Please check your local listing for show times.

A background story recently appeared in the Larchmont Chronicle...

By Laura Eversz

Image courtesy of Larchmont Chronicle
It’s been said that what goes around comes around. So it came as no surprise when Fire Station 29, which was adopted by the community several years ago, adopted a puppy in need of a home.

After purchasing the pure-bred dalmation for their 10-year-old daughter, a local couple quickly realized that their one-bedroom apartment wasn’t big enough to share with a rambunctious pup.

The family considered taking it to the animal shelter, until they learned that the puppy might be euthanized if a home wasn’t found quickly enough.

So, with spotted canine in tow, they headed for their neighborhood fire station...

Read the full story...

Here is a video from Wilshire & Butch...

UPDATE: The story of Wilshire takes on a remarkably upbeat note in a heartwarming June 2007 update.

You'll smile from ear to ear, when you learn about Wilshire's latest accomplishments...

...if you'd like to send a note to Wilshire and the crew:

Los Angeles Fire Department
Fire Station 29
4029 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles CA 90010-3401

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Apartment Fire Displaces Residents


On Sunday, November 12, 2006 at 8:37 PM, 14 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 6 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Arson Unit, 2 EMS Battalion Captains, 3 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team under the direction of Battalion Chief Michael Bowman responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 8434 Willis Avenue in Panorama City.

The men and women of the LAFD arrived quickly to find smoke showing from one unit on the bottom floor of a two-story garden style apartment building. Ladders were extended, handlines were stretched, and ventilation efforts commenced along with a well coordinated and timely door-to-door search of each residential space. Although pack-rat conditions existed, firefighters aggressively attacked the determined flames in just 28 minutes.

First arriving Firefighters were able to calmly evacuate approximately 100 residents from the smoke filled hallways, without incident. With the help of Los Angeles Police Officers, most of the residents who had earlier evacuated the apartment building were safely rehoused. The American Red Cross provided temporary housing for five displaced occupants. Fire loss is estimated at $100,000 ($80,000 structure and $20,000 contents). The cause of this blaze is under active investigation.

Submitted by Melissa Kelley
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Negligent Driving Will Cost Lives This Season

Saturday, November 11, 2006 |

Negligent Driving Can Cost LivesWhen checking off your list of what to do this season, don't forget to add 'drive responsibly'.

Busy schedules, too little sleep and too many gadgets in the car can result in negligent driving - and many people underestimate how much damage negligent driving does. Every 13 minutes, negligent driving costs a life on our nation's highways.

Negligent driving falls into four categories:


Many - if not most - Americans routinely cruise at 10, 15 or even 20 mph over the posted limit, with little thought to the danger associated with these speeds.

But in 2005 alone, 13,113 people died in speed-related crashes, accounting for 30 percent of all fatalities.

Distracted Driving

At any given moment, about 10 percent of drivers are talking on a cell phone. Studies have shown that driving while talking on any cell phone - even a hands-free model - impairs a driver more than driving at the legal drunk driving limit.

Despite this widespread understanding, no state currently bans all cell phone use while driving, though a few states have a fine for not using a hands-free model.

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving fatalities have dropped 38 percent since the early 1980s. Unfortunately, progress has largely stalled in the past decade, with almost 13,000 people killed by drunk drivers in 2005. Even if you remove the drunk drivers who kill themselves, that still leaves over 4,000 innocent victims killed every year by drunk drivers.

Drowsy Driving

In today's fast-paced world, more and more Americans are skimping on sleep - to the detriment of highway safety. Government research has found that drowsy drivers are more than six times more likely to crash than alert drivers, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that up to 100,000 crashes each year are caused by drowsy drivers. The reason is simple: Drowsy drivers have slower reaction times, difficulty concentrating, and even nod off while driving.

To help drive home the message, the American Beverage Institute is sponsoring a public service campaign this season to make people aware of the dangers associated with negligent driving.

"In order to increase traffic safety, we need to get dangerous drivers - whether speeding, drunk, distracted or drowsy - off the nation's roads," said John Doyle, executive director of the American Beverage Institute. "There is one simple way to do that: put more law enforcement officers on the highways to catch these negligent drivers."

Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey added "Before pulling out of your parking spot, you must eliminate distraction. Buckle up, check your messages and take care of children's needs before you hit the road. Losing your focus on safety behind the wheel could mean losing your life."

For more information on making our highways safer, please visit:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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From the Office of the Fire Chief...

Thursday, November 09, 2006 |

A statement by Los Angeles Fire Chief William Bamattre:

"The Fire Department was made aware of the City of Los Angeles settlement in the Mr. Pierce lawsuit. The Fire Department takes this and all work place environment issues seriously. It has been, and remains our goal, to create a positive work place environment that supports all men and women that comprise the workforce of the Fire Department.

We are currently working closely with the Fire Commission and all stakeholder organizations, including the Chief Officer Association, the Sirens (women firefighters), Los Bomberos, and the Stentorians to address all Fire Department Human Relations issues. This is being accomplished through a series of planning sessions to develop a comprehensive Strategic Implementation Plan that addresses all issues raised in the City Controller’s Audits affecting the Fire Department."

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Traffic Collision in Valley Ejects 3 Children, Killing 1

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 |

On Wednesday, November 8, 2006 at 7:21 AM, seven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, six LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one LAFD Helicopter, three EMS Battalion Captains and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Michael Bowman responded to a Fatality Traffic Collision at Jackman Avenue and Hubbard Street in Sylmar.

A mini-van carrying 3 children and 2 adults collided with a car driven by a 17 year-old male. All three children, apparently from the same family, were ejected from the mini-van upon impact. One 15 year-old male was declared dead at the scene due to major injuries.

Two other children, ages 13 and 10 also suffered critical life threatening injuries.

The 13 year-old male was transported by ground ambulance to UCLA Medical Center and the 10 year-old female was transported by LAFD Air Ambulance to Children's Hospital, both listed in critical condition.

In addition, two adult males in the van complained of minor injuries.

The 17 year-old driver of the second vehicle was transported to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

Further complicating a very intense and difficult rescue operation, family members of the children began arriving on scene. As is expected, the distraught family members also required the attention of Firefighters and Paramedics at the scene.

In an effort to assist the family members in dealing with the magnitude of the incident and the great loss sustained, LAFD and LAPD worked in concert to arrange their transportation to the local police station where they received the assistance of various support organizations.

Additionally, the LAFD Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) team provided debriefing assistance for Fire Department personnel involved in this incident.

The cause of the traffic collision is under investigation by law enforcement authorities.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Greater Alarm Brush Fire

Tuesday, November 07, 2006 |

On Tuesday, November 7, 2006 at 11:13 AM, ten Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Helicopters, one Los Angeles County Helicopter, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, under the direction of Battalion Chief Gerry Malais responded to a Greater Alarm Brush Fire near 1880 North Academy Drive in Elysian Park.

First units on the scene reported approximately one acre of grass burning on a hillside near the Los Angeles Police Academy. Firefighters using handlines and aided by helicopter drops aggressively attacked the fire and confined the fire to three acres of grass.

The fire was extinguished in twenty-four minutes. There were several structures in the immediate area but none were threatened by the blaze. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is listed as under investigation.

Submitted by Brian Ballton, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Arson Takes an Immense Toll on the Inland Empire

Sunday, November 05, 2006 |

A series of recent fires, as well as the arson-related deaths of five U.S. Forest Service Firefighters killed battling the Esperanza Wildfire in California's Riverside County underscores the danger faced daily by Firefighters nationwide.

While today sees us remembering our fallen Brothers of the Forest Service, it is also the sad first anniversary of the arson death of Riverside City Firefighter Eduardo "Ed" Teran, killed while performing his sworn duties on November 5, 2005.

Six Firefighters dead due to arson in one County in one year's time.

Unlike the Esperanza Wildfire, where a suspect is in custody, the arsonist who killed our Brother Ed is still on the loose.

There is a $5,000 reward - but in a rightful world, that shouldn't be necessary.

Arson. It's a crime that kills Firefighters. If you have information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of Ed's murderer, please contact local Law Enforcement officials or the Los Angeles Field Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) at 888-ATF-FIRE.

For more information about Firefighter Teran, and the quest for his killer(s), please visit:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Take a Fire Engine, Add a Famous Comedian...


Periodically, we get asked about a beautiful 1941 American LaFrance seen tooling about Southern California.

Is it...? Was it...? Could it have been...?

Yes. It was; and now through the magic of the Internet, you can learn the amazing story of an American icon reborn. To watch a video about the amazing transformation, please visit:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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They Faced a 'Virtual Freight Train of Fire'

Saturday, November 04, 2006 |

In response to countless questions from friends and neighbors, and in contemplating the enormity of our collective loss in the recent Esperanza Wildfire, I struggled to find words that might adequately convey my personal thoughts, and those of my colleagues to the many who ask "Why...?"

During our time in the Fire Service, we have the good fortune of crossing paths with those who inspire us by their very being. The crew of BDF Engine 57 were clearly such people, as was our dearly departed Brother Lane Kemper.

Yet thankfully there are many who remain among us as leaders and mentors, including Captain Larry Collins of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Interestingly, the words I sought to convey were in many ways formed by my personal recollection of a fire that Larry and I both perchance responded to many years ago, when he and I were Reserve Firefighters seeking our respective career paths - albeit on different Engine Companies encircling a cauldron of fire.

...and so, in a not strange synergy, it is my pleasure to respectfully share the words of a superb Fire Officer who remains infinitely more eloquent than I in answering the question...

'Why didn't the firefighters get out while they had a chance?"

I heard the question first from a friend who owns a clothing shop in my neighborhood. But it has been asked repeatedly in the aftermath of the Esperanza fire, which killed five U.S. Forest Service firefighters. The fire blowtorched through their position so fast that they didn't even have time to deploy the shelters used when escape is impossible.

Firefighters from other units close enough to witness the fatal burn-over described the scene as raining fire, a hellish scenario to which many firefighters in Southern California can relate.

In 1979, I was a 19-year-old reserve firefighter with the Ventura County Fire Department, with just a few significant fires under my belt. I was assigned to Engine 41, a highly experienced crew based in Simi Valley. In mid-September, we were dispatched to a major fire that was threatening homes, schools and businesses along Highway 33 in the Ojai Valley.

After a hard fight by dozens of units, it seemed the blaze was contained by midafternoon. My engine company was "rehabbing" at a local park, anticipating a nightlong fire watch, when a small column of smoke appeared where there shouldn't have been smoke.

Someone radioed that flames had jumped a road that was the eastern boundary of the fire and that a new finger was burning toward more homes.

Engine 41 followed two other rigs down a dirt road close to where the spot fire was spreading. We pulled hoses off the engines and attacked the fire. Everything seemed fine. The wind was at our back as we put out flames along the perimeter.

Then the wind suddenly stopped.

A look of concern crossed my captain's face. My partner, a full-time firefighter, was about to say something, but before he had a chance, the wind was in our faces, and then the smoke.

He yelled for me to move back toward Engine 41. The engineer climbed into the truck and steered it into the smoke, dragging our hose line behind it. My first instinct was to run away from the fire, but I knew I had to stay with my crew. The captain pushed me through the blinding smoke toward the truck.

I saw flickers of flame in the smoke. Embers rained down. And then we sprinted through a chest-high wave of fire.

In the next instant, we were in fresh air in a blackened clearing. It had happened so fast, much too fast to have deployed fire shelters or to find a safe zone — except to cross the line of fire into the burned area. I later realized this was exactly what the captain had instinctively done, probably saving my life in the process.

Here's the thing about being overrun by fire: It is like being caught in a flash flood of flame. Winds flow through winding canyons and mountain passes like rivers, pushing forward unpredictable waves of superheated air that can sear your lungs and roast you even before the flames arrive. Especially in Southern California's extreme conditions, fire moves faster than any person can run, especially when it's roaring uphill.

John Hawkins, the highly respected Riverside County fire chief, was visibly angry at the news conference after the fatal burn-over, during which he explained that the Esperanza fire was set by an arsonist. But he also pointed out the conspiring weather conditions. "The enemy blows in our faces right now," he said. "It's the Santa Ana wind."

Firefighters try to learn from each death. Each disaster — and each success — leads to new training and rules about how to engage a fire. But despite what we've learned, and the constant attention to safety, 36 firefighters have been killed in California wildfires just since 1990.

As you read this, firefighters are mourning the loss of Forest Service Engine 57's crew. There is every indication that Capt. Mark Loutzenhiser and his men followed what are known as the 10 Standard Firefighting Orders. They were certainly familiar with the 18 Situations That Shout "Watch Out," also developed after previous tragedies. They would have been applying a concept known by the acronym LCES (lookout; communications; escape route; safe zone). For one member of that engine company, it was only his fourth fire — much like me back in 1979 — but he too was surrounded by experience. After working through the night into morning, they were making a stand to protect a house in the path of a virtual freight train of fire.

In most cases we get away with the risks necessary to protect life and property. If the crew of Engine 57 had not been felled by that sudden blast of fire, it's possible they would have saved that house and simply moved on to save others. It would have been just one more of those "miraculous" structures that are still standing in the midst of scorched, smoking moonscapes.

Captain Larry Collins
Los Angeles County Fire Department

Thank you Larry, for helping us all to better understand the dangers so willingly faced by our Brothers Mark, Jess, Jason, Daniel, and Pablo.

May they rest in peace.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Laugh Factory Benefit For Fallen Firefighters en Espanol



Hollywood, CA- On November 6, 2006 the Laugh Factory presents "Laugh Factoria: La Casa de Risa," a Spanish language comedy show with Paul Rodriguez.

Beginning Monday, November 6th at 10 p.m. and continuing every Monday thereafter, the show features Rodriguez, who began hosting the club’s Latino Night more than twenty-five years ago. Paul Rodriguez and Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada are excited to bridge language barriers with the all Spanish-language show. By crossing the language divide between English and Spanish, the show emphasizes the universality of laughter.

As one of the first comedy clubs to recognize the lack of minority representation on the stage, the Laugh Factory instituted ‘special nights’ almost twenty six years ago, launching Latino Night, and the Black Pack hosted by Paul Mooney in 1980, and premiering Coming out of the Closet with Jason Stuart five years later.

Recognizing the healing power of laughter, the Laugh Factory will donate the proceeds from opening night to the families of the fallen firefighters of the Esperanza fires.

Sharing a special relationship with California firefighters, the Laugh Factory has hosted Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) benefits since 1992 and is committed to helping the Esperanza firefighters during their recent tragedy.

"Laugh Factoria: La Casa de Risa"
November 6th 10 P.M.
World Famous Laugh Factory
8001 Sunset Boulevard
Hollywood CA 90046
Ticket Price: $18.00

Donations Accepted by Firefighters

To purchase tickets please call: (323)656-1336 x1 or visit:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Stay Off & Away From Train Tracks!


The recent change to Standard Time seemingly encourages many of us to be bold in our actions, as though we hope to get there sooner.

While bold action can be admired in some cases, it's a different story when it comes to railroad tracks.

A 6,000-ton train does not know what time of year it is. Here are a few important tips that could save your life:

- Modern trains are quieter than ever, with no telltale "clickety-clack."

- Because of its size, the average train takes a mile or more - 18 football fields -to come to a stop. Trains overhang the rails on each side by at least three feet. Loose straps hanging from freight cars may extend much farther.

- If you need to cross the tracks, the only safe place to cross is at a designated public crossing with a crossbuck, flashing red lights or a gate. If you cross at any other place, you are trespassing and can be ticketed or fined - or lose your life.

- If you come to a crossing and see flashing red lights, don't ignore them. Stop: These lights signal the approach of a train. Never walk past these lights or around lowered gates at a crossing; wait until the lights have stopped flashing and the gates go completely up. If the gates stay down, there may be a second train coming on that or another track. Wait until the signals tell you that all is clear.

- Any time is train time. Don't assume that because it's late at night, the middle of the day, the weekend, or whatever time or day it is, trains are unlikely to come.

The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department hope these tips help you, your family and friends enjoy this season - and many more to come. Please never trespass near railroad tracks, and when at a legal crossing always remember to: Look, Listen and Live!

To learn more about Operation Lifesaver, or to become an Operation Lifesaver Presenter sharing safety tips with the community, please visit:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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The Cimmarusti's Are Kings In Our Eyes

Thursday, November 02, 2006 |

From 6:00 AM to Midnight on Thursday, November 2, 2006, the Burger King restaurant at 700 West Cesar E. Chavez Avenue will be donating the proceeds of all sales to the family of fallen LAPD Officer Landon Dorris, who died recently while investigating a traffic collision in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles.

Larry and Ralph Cimmarusti are the 'Burger King' franchisees responsible for this remarkable act of kindness, which will benefit Dorris' two young sons. This is not the first time these men have supported the families of our fallen colleagues.

We are therefore pleased to again offer a respectful tip o' the LAFD helmet to the Cimmarusti's, and commend them for their inspiring benevolence and profound civic activisim.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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