A Fond Farewell to LAFD's First Lady

Sunday, December 31, 2006 |

Chief Bamattre and his wife Liz say farewell. Click to view more...


With the arrival of 2007 comes much in the way of change at the Los Angeles Fire Department.

While change is inevitable and ultimately beneficial to our vocation, it is not without collateral impact that causes us to take pause, remember and give thanks.

Though this New Year's Eve gives us reason to thank so many, the men and women of the LAFD wish tonight to publicly salute our First Lady, Liz Bamattre for her remarkable support of our members, our families and at all times, our mission of saving lives.

At no time in our Department's 120-year history, have we been more proud of or well supported by the spouse of our Fire Chief; in this case, a woman who clearly set the highest of standards in her tireless pursuit of doing good in the name of our agency.

While the job of Fire Chief seems largely autonomous, there is a quiet understanding that the Chief must have a close and loyal confidant in whom he or she can unquestionably rely. From the moment Bill Bamattre took his oath of office, Liz Bamattre has been just that person - and more.

And it hasn't been easy.

As often as not, it was Liz who answered the phone at the Bamattre household, including one early Sunday morning in 1998 that would prove to be the first of several occassions when our Chief - and later every member of our Fire Department, would rely deeply upon her personal strength, love and support.

Yes, Liz Bamattre is one remarkable woman, who has not only devoted herself to nurturing and healing our agency in difficult times, but also to preserving the memory of our fallen colleagues evermore.

It is not infrequently that we receive calls at LAFD Headquarters asking about the Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Museum, often times from a caller who was inspired by a "wonderful docent with a lovely British accent".

These inquiries of course, bring a smile to our face, as we picture the countless hours that Liz has devoted to the Museum and Memorial, often with broom or paintbrush in hand, and in recent years, not only serving as a 'can-do' docent, but also gracing celebratory events with her truly regal presence.

From graciously greeting dignitaries at LAFD Headquarters, to attending countless luncheons and banquets at which she proudly represented our agency, to the fallen Firefighter and family funerals at which she stood proudly by the Fire Chief, Liz Bamattre has always been there for her husband, and also for every member of her Fire Department family.

As we look forward to the great things to come in 2007, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank and offer a fond farewell to Liz Bamattre.

Thank you Liz. We love you, and we'll miss you.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Trio of Fire Departments Battle Northeast Valley Blaze

Saturday, December 30, 2006 |

On Saturday, December 30, 2006 at 12:04 PM, nine Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Helicopters, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 55 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel, along with full brush fire assignments from the Los Angeles County Fire Department and Angeles National Forest, all under the direction of LAFD Assistant Chief Greg West responded to a Greater Alarm Brush Fire near 11538 Terra Bella Street in Lake View Terrace.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover more than an acre of vegetation burning uphill in waist high grass toward the Angeles National Forest in windless conditions.

LAFD, LACoFD and USFS Battle Fire in Northeast San Fernando Valley. Click to view more...


Los Angeles Fire Department personnel were soon joined by Los Angeles County Fire Department and Angeles National Forest Firefighters in a well-coordinated battle against the flames, which impacted a "Mutual Threat Zone" for the trio of agencies.

Firefighters took advantage of tactical pre-planning and knowledge of historical fire behavior in the rolling and at-times steep terrain to deploy ground-based personnel against the flames, which were held in place and ultimately extinguished with the help of precise helicopter water drops.

The fire, held to less than four acres, remained within the City limits of Los Angeles and was extinguished in just 50 minutes.

There were no injuries, and no structures threatened. The cause of this noontime blaze remains undetermined.

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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Candle Fire Consumes Townhome, Injures Firefighter

Thursday, December 28, 2006 |

On Thursday, December 28, 2006 at 6:47 PM, nine Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one EMS Battalion Captain, four Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 62 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Assistant Chief Greg West, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 15050 Sherman Way in Van Nuys.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover heavy smoke showing from one of thirty-five split level townhomes in a private residential complex.

Firefighters discovered well-entrenched fire on all levels of the 1,500 square-foot unit, which was among the most distant from the street. Briskly carrying tools, ladders and hoselines to the firefight, LAFD crews waged a tenacious battle, which was aided by the tactically supportive vertical ventilation efforts of their colleagues.

The fire was confined within the townhome, the flames under control in less than an hour.

Though there were no civilian injuries in the unoccupied 25 year-old unit, one Los Angeles Firefighter sustained first-degree burns to his neck, and painful second-degree burns to his right knee during the largely successful battle to prevent the fire from extending to the two adjacent townhomes.

The injured Firefighter was taken to Sherman Oaks Hospital, where he was treated and released to remain off duty.

Loss from the blaze is estimated at $400,000 ($300,000 structure & $100,000 contents). The cause of the fire is listed as accidental, and attributed to carelessness with candles.

It should be noted that nationwide, candle fires have more than doubled since 1990, and that December has almost twice the number of home candle fires of an average month.

During 2004, an estimated 17,200 home structure fires started by candles were reported to fire departments in the United States. These fires resulted in an estimated 200 civilian deaths, 1,540 civilian injuries and an estimated direct property loss of $200 million.

The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department remind you to be careful with candles now and throughout the coming year.



Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Locked Doors, No Smoke Alarms Factor in Los Angeles Blaze

Tuesday, December 26, 2006 |

On Tuesday, December 26, 2006 at 4:42 AM, six Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, ten LAFD Rescue Ambulances, five Arson Units, one EMS Battalion Captain, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 60 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Jack Wise, responded to a Structure Fire with Civilian Injuries at 2037 West 41st Street in Leimert Park.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover heavy fire showing from a one-story 1,060 square-foot single family home, with reports of possible trapped or missing persons.

First arriving Firefighters commenced forcible entry to gain access to the property and the secured residence as their colleagues came to the immediate aid of a 9 year-old girl who had leapt from a front window with severe burns to both arms.

Upon entering the smoke charged residence on their hands and knees with flames rolling over their heads, Firefighters systematically searched the premises to find and rescue a pair of burned unconscious senior adults and a burned non-breathing 10 year-old girl from a bedroom at the rear of the home.

Their decisive action, combined with the advanced life support efforts of LAFD Firefighter/Paramedics, restored the girls breathing and sustained the life of her grandparents during ambulance transport.

The pre-teen girls were taken to California Hospital Medical Center and the approximately 65 year-old woman to Brotman Medical Center with first degree burns to an arm. Her approximately 65 year-old husband with 2nd and 3rd degree burns to 50% of his body, was transported to Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center.

All were alive but in critical condition on hospital arrival.

According to witnesses, a total of thirteen related persons, several of whom were disabled and/or wheelchair dependent were permanent residents of the two-bedroom home and inside the building at the time of the fire.

Nine of the occupants were able to escape uninjured via one of two doors in the rear of the home that was not locked. It should be noted that the front door and one of the rear doors commonly used for egress were unusable at the time of the fire, as they had been secured by double-keyed deadbolts.

Los Angeles Fire Department Investigators could find no evidence of smoke alarms or a fire extinguishers within the residence, which was not equipped with residential fire sprinklers.

Investigators were later told that the smoke alarms, along with window security bars, had been purposely removed from the 85 year-old home during a yet-to-be completed remodeling effort.

The fire was confined to the structure of origin and extinguished in just 31 minutes. Firefighters then worked diligently for more than five hours to salvage family belongings, including unopened holiday gifts.

During overhaul of the fire, a 55 year-old female resident who had earlier escaped the flames unharmed, began experiencing chest discomfort. She was treated by LAFD Paramedics and transported to Brotman Medical Center in fair condition.

No Firefighter injuries were reported.

City of Los Angeles Crisis Response Team Volunteers responded promptly to work alongside Firefighters in providing on-scene intervention, emotional support and referrals to those impacted by the incident, while the American Red Cross addressed the many physical and placement needs of survivors.

Monetary loss from the fire is estimated at $250,000 ($200,00 structure & $50,000 contents). The home was all but destroyed.

The cause of this early morning blaze is attributed to an electric space heater placed too close to combustible furnishings in the living room, including an upholstered sofa. Though a natural Christmas tree was among the items that later fueled the fire, it was not a primary source of ignition.

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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Firefighters Mourn our 38th President

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The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department join members of the public and Firefighters nationwide in mourning the death of Gerald Ford, 38th President of the United States.

In accordance with the United States Flag Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, Section 175(M); and pursuant of a Presidential order as well a directive by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the U.S. Flags at all Los Angeles Fire Stations will be flown at half-staff until sunset on Friday, January 26, 2007.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Firefighters Perform Christmas Morning Rescue From Structure Fire

Monday, December 25, 2006 |

On Monday, December 25, 2006 at 4:29 AM, seven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, two Arson Units, one Hazardous Materials Team, two EMS Battalion Captains, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Douglas Graft responded to a Structure Fire at 2342 N. Riverdale Av. in Lincoln Heights/Solano Canyon.

As Firefighters arrived they found a 1000 Square Foot, single family residence with heavy fire showing from one room in the front of the home. In addition, the remainder of the home was heavily charged with thick smoke. The home was fortified with security bars on the doors and windows, causing Firefighters to have to conduct forcible entry to gain access into the home to fight the fire and perform a thorough search for possible victims. Due to numerous vehicles in the driveway, the time of day, and the fact that it was Christmas morning, it was feared that the house would be occupied.

While Firefighters attacked the fire and performed vertical ventilation on the roof, additional Firefighters conducted a thorough search within the structure. Firefighters were able to locate and remove a 21 year-old male from the home. Firefighter / Paramedics quickly assessed the man and determined that he was not breathing and immediately began performing Advanced Life Support measures in an attempt to resuscitate the individual.

Due to the quick actions of Firefighter / Paramedics, the man was successfully resuscitated and transported to Los Angeles County Hospital in extremely critical condition. Preliminary reports have indicated that there were working smoke alarms in the home.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. The dollar loss is estimated at $40,000 ($30,000 Structure and $10,000 Contents).

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

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Two Dogs Perish, Woman Injured in Sawtelle Fire

Sunday, December 24, 2006 |

On Saturday, December 23, 2006 at 11:52 PM, ten Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Hazardous Materials Squad, one EMS Battalion Captain, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 68 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Michael Little responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 2517 South Corinth Avenue in the Sawtelle area of Los Angeles.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover heavy fire showing through the roof of a one-story 1,550 square-foot single family dwelling.

A swift and well-coordinated offense with handlines brought the fire under control in less than 20 minutes, but not before the well-entrenched flames caused $300,000 damage to the sixty-seven year-old home.

The adult female homeowner, who had safely exited the residence prior to the Fire Department's arrival, experienced a worsening of pre-existing medical concerns and agitation following the blaze. She was taken by LAFD Ambulance to the Santa Monica/UCLA Medical Center in fair condition for further evaluation.

Despite Firefighters efforts, two pet dogs within the home perished during the fire. No other injuries were reported.

The cause of this fire is undetermined.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Christmas Tree Fuels Fatal Hollywood Fire

Saturday, December 23, 2006 |

On Saturday, December 23, 2006 at 8:07 PM, twelve Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, five LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Emergency Air Unit, one Hazardous Materials Squad, two EMS Battalion Captains, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 85 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel, who were joined in automatic aid by more than a dozen members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, all under the direction of LAFD Assistant Chief Roderick Garcia, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire with Civilian Fatality at 1319 North Martel Avenue in the City of Los Angeles near West Hollywood.

Firefighters arrived quickly to reports of a structure fire with a person trapped to discover flames extending from the front portion of a subdivided single family home threatening a three-story apartment building to the south.

According to witnesses, an 18 year-old male had been seated in the living room of the one-story duplex, when he noticed a nearby artificial Christmas Tree catch fire. At first attempting to unplug the tree, he was driven back by intense heat and flames, and subsequently proved unable to find or muster a fire extinguisher within the home.

His 61 year-old father departed his spouse in a rear bedroom in an attempt to assist his son, before both men were pushed from the house by searing heat and ink-dark smoke that rose from floor-to-ceiling, making their rescue of the man's 56 year-old wife impossible.

Los Angeles Firefighters rehabilitate before returning to battle
Fire on Martel Ave
Image courtesy of feverblue.


With profound determination, first arriving Firefighters fought their way tenaciously past the men into the burning residence and rescued the woman, who was found pulseless and non-breathing on a bedroom floor.

Met by LAFD Firefighter/Paramedics as they carried the woman from the home, an exhaustive effort at Advanced Life Support measures was initiated at scene and continued during ambulance transport to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where despite the efforts of LAFD personnel and hospital staff, the woman succumbed.

The woman's husband, impacted heavily by grief and smoke inhalation, was taken to the same hospital in fair condition. The son was not injured.

Firefighters from the two agencies worked in a seamless fashion to prevent the flames from taking hold of the nearby apartment building, where damage was limited to scorched paint and two windows broken by radiant heat.

Fire was held to the building of origin, and extinguished in just 54 minutes.

Though there were no other civilian injuries, one Los Angeles Firefighter suffered a severe muscle tear to his right arm during the arduous fire attack. He was taken to the UCLA Medical Center in Westwood for observation and placed off-duty.

There were no security bars on the home, or other obvious impairments to those exiting the building. It was not immediately clear why the woman did not seek an earlier or alternate route of egress.

The 1,136 square-foot portion of the home occupied by the family did contain functional smoke alarms, but their role during the swift-moving fire was not immediately determined. The 98 year-old wood-frame home was not equipped with Fire Sprinklers.

A positive identification of the deceased woman, as well as the cause, time and manner of her death will be determined by Coroner's officials.

Monetary loss from the fire is still being tabulated.

The origin of this deadly fire has been localized to electrical circuitry supporting the Christmas Tree and other holiday decorations. A particular focus of those investigating the blaze remains the often improper and ill-advised combination of a multi-outlet electrical power strip fed by an extension cord.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Trespasser Killed by Metro Gold Line Train

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Shortly before 6:30 PM this evening, a male believed to be in his 40's sustained fatal injury when trespassing on a railroad bridge near North Figueroa Street and South Avenue 61 in the Highland Park area of Los Angeles.

The man reportedly placed himself in the path of an eastbound Metro Gold Line train, which was unable to stop before striking him. Despite the prompt response of Los Angeles Fire Department Paramedics, the man's injuries proved incompatible with life, and he was declared deceased at the scene.

No other injuries were reported.

The cause of this incident remains under investigation by Los Angeles Police Officers and Sheriff's Deputies.

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

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LAFD - "Trespasser Killed by Metro Gold Line Train" audio file with permissions (test)




Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Metro Blue Line Train and LAFD Truck Collide

Friday, December 22, 2006 |

On Friday, December 22, 2006 at 5:04 PM, four Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, ten LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Heavy Rescue, three EMS Battalion Captains, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Deputy Chief Robert Franco responded to Traffic Collision with LAFD Involvement at the intersection of South Central Avenue and East Washington Boulevard near the Fashion District south of downtown Los Angeles.

Metro Blue Line Train and LAFD Truck Collide. Photo by Juan Guerra CFPA. Click to view more...


First units on the scene reported that LAFD Truck 14 had collided with a Metro Blue Line train. A total of ten patients required transportation for minor injuries, including one Firefighter.

Initial reports indicate that LAFD Truck 14 was traveling south bound on Central Avenue with all warning lights and siren activated while en route to a reported rubbish fire, when the collision occured. The light rail train operates alongside vehicles and is not physically separated from public street traffic at this location.

The Los Angeles Fire Department and Los Angeles Police Department have joined Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials in a formal investigation of this incident.

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Submitted by Brian Ballton, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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No. No. Know: Watch The Road!

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As many of us scurry to meet holiday deadlines, the men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department have noted a sad phenomenon among local motorists.

Inattention.

Of the more than 1,000 LAFD incidents each day, approximately 94 are traffic collisions. While precious few prove fatal, most cause senseless and often needless injury.

Watch The Road!

And that's why we're sharing this message with you today.

Chances are that you've passed by the scene of a traffic collision and wondered about the person being loaded into the ambulance. Who is he? What was she doing? What are they thinking? What comes next?

All too often in recent days, drivers of all demographics have offered a common dialogue with our Firefighter/Paramedics:

I was distracted by my passenger...

I was looking in the back seat to check on my gifts...

The kids were fighting...

I was talking on the phone...

I was fiddling with the radio...

I spilled my coffee...

I was in a hurry to get to...

...and just as often:

I don't know why I was in a hurry...

I don't know why I didn't look both directions...

What the hell was I thinking?

...are they going to be OK?

...why are you putting a sheet over them...

Yes, the holidays put unique pressures on us all. Please help the men and women of the LAFD this holiday season by yielding safely and properly to approaching emergency vehicles; but more importantly today and always, remembering to Watch The Road. For more information, please visit:

www.watchtheroad.org



Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Greater Alarm Structure Fire

Thursday, December 21, 2006 |

On Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 3:00 AM, thirteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, six LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Rehab Unit, one Hazardous Materials Team, two EMS Battalion Captains, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Assistant Chief Alfred Hernandez responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 2311 S. Scarff St. in Exposition Park.

First units on the scene reported a large Victorian style two-story single family residence well involved, with flames exposing a vacant two-story dwelling to the north. Firefighters using handlines confined the fire to the structure of origin and the exposure, extinguishing the blaze in 80 minutes.

During firefighting operations both structures experienced roof collapse, causing two firefighters with in the exposed structure to sustain minor injuries. In all, three firefighters were transported to local area hospitals in stable condition. Prior to Fire Department arrival, three occupants self evacuated the Fire Building with out sustaining injury. The cause of the blaze is under investigation. The dollar loss is still being tabulated.



Submitted by Brian Ballton, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Construction Site Fatality

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On Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 1:15 PM, seven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, four LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Dean Ulrich responded to a Construction Site Fatality at 727 W. 7th St. in the Fashion District.

First units responded quickly to find a male worker trapped between a skip loader and a concrete pillar. According to bystanders, the 22 year-old Los Angeles man had been operating the skip loader when it toppled over, crushing him to death.

Though specially trained and equipped LAFD rescue teams were enroute, their skill and resources for heavy lift and mechanical disentanglement proved unnecessary, as the first arriving Firefighters determined him to be obviously dead from massive crush injuries.

The Los Angeles County Coroners office will seek to positively identify the deceased, as well as to formally determine the cause, manner and time of death. Questions regarding the presence, need or decedent's use of safety equipment and approved work site procedures remain within the purview of Cal-OSHA officials, who are investigating this incident as a workplace fatality.


Submitted by Brian Ballton, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Fiery Los Feliz Collision Kills Three

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 |

On Wednesday, December 20, 2006 at 1:02 AM, four Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, four LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one EMS Battalion Captain and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 31 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Chris Kawai, responded to a Multi-Fatality Traffic Collision With Fire at 4860 West Los Feliz Boulevard in Los Feliz.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover a mid-sized sedan which had left the pavement before colliding with a large tree on the south side of the road, apparently ejecting three occupants and trapping two others.

The heavily damaged vehicle was ablaze on Firefighters arrival.

Despite the LAFD's quick response and extinguishment of the flames, the vehicle's two trapped occupants and one of the apparent ejectees were beyond medical help, and were declared deceased at the scene. Due to a combination of burn and traumatic injury, their age and gender could not be immediately determined.

Two additional passengers were apparently ejected by the impact, and sustained unspecified critical injuries. They included a 14 year-old male transported to Children's Hospital and a 15 year-old male taken to the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.

A 59 year-old male, reportedly an acquaintance or relative of the victims, arrived at the collision just prior to Firefighters. He was treated by Paramedics for smoke inhalation and chest pain before being transported to Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in fair condition.

Firefighters remained at the scene more than an hour supporting the Police Department, and later returned to assist Coroner's officials with the discrete and dignified removal of the deceased from the wreckage.

A positive identification of those who died, 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 Los Angeles Police Department.

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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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LAFD HazMat Experts Resolve Dangerous Vapors

Wednesday, December 13, 2006 |

On Tuesday, December 12, 2006 at 10:25 PM, fifteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, six LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, one Rehab Unit, one Hazardous Materials Squad, one LAFD Helicopter, three EMS Battalion Captains, four Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 113 personnel under the direction of Assistant Chief Greg West responded to a Hazardous Material Investigation at 11120 Sherman Way in the northeast San Fernando Valley community of Sun Valley.

Firefighters, responding to reports of a possible structure fire, arrived quickly at a one story industrial firm to discover a large volume of thick white 'smoke' emanating from a single 100-gallon dolly mounted cask stored outside of the closed business.

Finding the building to be placarded for hazardous materials and aware of the atypical vapor present, Firefighters immediately established a wide perimeter, and dynamically maintained Command Post and staging locations in response to light but erratic winds.

An LAFD Helicopter served the key role of aerial reconnaissance and command support as a full closure of nearby Sherman Way was ordered between Vineland and Tujunga Avenues.

Los Angeles Police and Transportation officials took charge of bystander and traffic control before meeting at the Fire Department Command Post to prepare for the possible evacuation of an adjacent residential neighborhood.

The detailed yet quickly prepared plans of the three agencies however, proved unnecessary, as LAFD Hazardous Materials experts were soon joined by the firm's Chemist and Plant Manager at the scene.

Together, they identified the product in the cask as being "Manganese Dioxide", which had apparently become contaminated, spurring the exothermic reaction and vapor production at Flamemaster Corporation, a manufacturer of sealants, adhesives, heat-resistant and fire retardant coatings.

LAFD Haz-Mat trained Firefighters used sophisticated instruments, including thermal imaging cameras, to closely monitor the temperature of the cask as water-based cooling measures were undertaken for more than two hours to lessen the reaction and vapor production, ultimately stabilizing the situation without Firefighter or civilian injury, and allowing for the reopening of Sherman Way.

The County of Los Angeles Fire Department's Health Hazardous Materials Division remained at the scene and will be working with Flamemaster staff to fully resolve matters related to the event.

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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Woman Dies, Teen Injured in La Tuna Canyon Crash

Tuesday, December 12, 2006 |

On Tuesday, December 12, 2006 at 8:46 AM, four Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one LAFD Heavy Rescue and one EMS Battalion Captain under the direction of Battalion Chief Ronnie Villanueva responded to a Civilian Fatality Traffic Collision near 9258 La Tuna Canyon Road in La Tuna Canyon.

Firefighters arrived quickly two miles 'south' of the Foothill Freeway to find a collision between a compact sedan and a compact sport utility vehicle.

Fatal Traffic Collision in La Tuna Canyon. Click to enlarge and view more...


The 31 year-old female driver and sole occupant of the sedan was badly trapped in the wrecakge and had sustained massive crushing traumatic injuries incompatible with life. She was declared deceased at the scene.

The 17 year-old male driver and sole occupant of the sport utility vehicle sustained unspecified non-life threatening injuries. In fair condition, he was transported by LAFD Paramedics to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills.

A cursory evaluation indicated that the woman and teen were both wearing seat belts and that their supplemental air bag restraint systems had deployed during the collision.

No other injuries were reported.

Firefighters remained at the scene for more than one hour to assist Los Angeles Police Officers, and later returned to assist the Coroner's Office with the dolorous task of disentangling the woman from the wreckage in a discrete and dignified manner.

The Los Angeles Police Department will be handling the collision investigation, while officials from the Coroner's Office will seek to positively identify the decedent as well as determine the exact cause, time and manner of her death.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Families of Fallen Astounded by Denim and Leather

Monday, December 11, 2006 |

Last Thursday evening, the Los Angeles Firemen's Relief Association's annual Holiday Spirit Open House fell silent as the thunderous roar of Harley-Davidson motorcycles came to a stop outside the building.

How could this be happening?

Taking the hand of loved ones and rushing to the top of the stairs, attendees in traditional red and green attire were soon met by a group of denim-clad motorcycle riders.

As the partygoers stood their ground, one motorcycle rider made solid eye contact with the suit-and-tie clad President of the non-profit organization; a split-second later, the Harley-riding giant raised his arms and ran quickly toward the throng of holiday revelers as one of his cohorts pulled a long object from a duffel bag.

Soon there was physical contact and words exchanged by all. Yes, this would be a holiday party not soon to be forgotten - especially in light of what the duffel bag revealed.

As the commotion of their entrance soon subsided, there were more handshakes and warm embraces between the men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department past and present, and the Fire Hogs LAFD Motorcycle Club, who were as eager as a child on Christmas morn to share their gift with the charitable organization.

...and what a gift it was!

Fire Hogs LAFD Motorcycle Club makes a generous charitable donation. Click to enlarge...


As wrappings fell away, the large object from the duffel bag proved to be a symbolic check for the amount of $33,000 written by Fire Hogs Treasurer Craig Yamashiro to the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen's Fund overseen by the Relief Association.

So what could be better than a check for $33,000?

Before the night was through, the Fire Hogs reached even more deeply into their own pockets to make a total donation of $35,000 to support the families of LAFD fallen.

And so we offer the Fire Hogs a respectful tip o' the LAFD helmet, and find ourselves saying:

Yes Virginia, Santa Rides a Harley!


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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LAFD Helicopter Crew Rescues Woman From Rain-Swollen River

Sunday, December 10, 2006 |

On Sunday, December 10, 2006 at 12:20 AM, three Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one LAFD Rescue Ambulance, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit and two LAFD Helicopters, a total of 27 personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Chris Logan, responded to a River Rescue in the Los Angeles River near Sunnynook Drive in Atwater Village.

Firefighters both on the ground and in the air arrived quickly to find a woman stranded on a low island of silt in the middle of the rain-swollen urban flood control channel.

The twenty-one year old woman was spotted and soon contacted by ground-based Firefighters clad in water rescue gear as their LAFD colleagues were strategically positioned downstream at a secondary rescue site.

Two LAFD helicopters worked in tandem, with one airship establishing aerial reconnaissance and command support, illuminating the scene - including dangerous high-tension electric wires, with a 30-million candlepower 'Night Sun' spotlight, as the other helicopter, configured as an air ambulance, prepared for a delicate hoist rescue under that pilot's guidance.

A Firefighter was lowered to the woman, who remained trapped by the cold, churning and debris-laden water. Following her brief medical assessment and donning of a flotation vest and helmet, she was hoisted with the Firefighter aboard the hovering Fire Department helicopter.

The helicopter flew a short distance to the large parking lot of a shopping center, where it landed to transfer the woman to the care of a ground-based LAFD ambulance crew.

The shivering woman, who was wet and hypothermic but without obvious injury, was wrapped in warm blankets and accepted ambulance transportation to Glendale Memorial Hospital for further evaluation.

No other injuries were reported.

Though the area near the rescue is known to be a popular homeless encampment, the residential status of the woman, as well as her reason for being in the river, was not determined by Fire Department officials.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Firefighter Calendar To The Rescue of Shelter Animals

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Click to learn more...The Los Angeles Fire Department is pleased to team up with the Best Friends Animal Society to create a 16-month charity calendar, themed 'Rescue L.A.'

This unique calendar features Firefighters posing with shelter dogs in need of rescue, personal pets the Firefighters have rescued from shelters or the streets - and canines that do search and rescue.

As a bonus, the calendar includes information regarding animal welfare and shelter adoption, as well as seasonal fire and life safety tips that focus on disaster preparedness.

Best of all, proceeds from calendar sales directly benefit Los Angeles Animal Shelters, which are facing a terrible overpopulation crisis. Hundreds of thousands of animals go into the shelters, but only about 1/3 get adopted.

You can provide your household with easily accessible emergency information, while assisting animals in need, by simply purchasing one of these unique and heartwarming calendars.

These calendars sell fast, so please order yours now!

For complete information about the calendar:

LAShelterRescue.com



Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Remembering The Chief...

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Commentary from our friends at the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society:

Remembering The Chief

"He was the best Chief in the department’s history," an L.A. Firefighter said, shaking his head as he stared into his cup of coffee. I was sitting in the office at an L.A. fire station and we were talking about the importance of learning from the past - about applying things we’ve learned to new situations and how often people fail in that regard. "The L.A. Times said he (the Chief) was an innovator one week, then talked about all of the problems when he resigned," another firefighter said.

A Difficult City to Protect

The City of Los Angeles is one of the most difficult environments to protect from a fire and emergency services point of view. The combination of a huge harbor, airport, high rise buildings, brush, traffic, and congested living areas, not to mention the overall sprawl of the place are unique. The L.A. Fire Department has always had to deal with rapid growth, and being the chief of the department is not a job most people would aspire to. "It’s not a job for anyone who doesn’t have thick skin," my firefighter friend at the table said.

Continue reading "Remembering The Chief..."



Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Man Crushed by Catering Truck in Los Angeles

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On Saturday, December 9, 2006 at 11:54 PM, four Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances and one EMS Battalion Captain under the direction of Battalion Chief Thomas Ottman responded to a Civilian Fatality Injury at 4518 South Western Avenue in the Chesterfield Square area of Los Angeles.

Firefighters arrived quickly to find a 45 year-old male pinned beneath one of several catering trucks parked at a storage and maintenance site.

According to the man's wife, he had been working beneath the large catering vehicle, supported only by a jack, when it suddenly fell upon him.

Despite the swift and well-coordinated effort of Firefighters to free and care for him, the man was declared deceased at the scene due to massive crush injury.

No other injuries were reported.

Firefighters found no evidence of safety stands in use. A positive identification of the decedent, as well as the precise cause, time and manner of his death will be determined by Coroner's officials.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Officer, How Much To Wash The Ladder Truck?

Saturday, December 09, 2006 |

The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department ask you to join them rain or shine, as they gather in support of our brothers and sisters of the LAPD and California Highway Patrol.

Come Get Your Car Washed By LAPD Officers

Officers of the Los Angeles Police Department’s West Valley Area will be hosting a bar-be-que and car wash to take care of one of their own. One of the Area’s veteran sergeants is having an especially difficult holiday season. Her husband, a California Highway Patrol officer, is undergoing lengthy treatment for cancer. The sergeant has been home taking care of her husband and their six children.

The men and women of LAPD’s West Valley Area are seeking the community’s help. They are committed to making this holiday season a bright one for this family.

Come visit with your local police officers, while they wash your car and grill burgers. Donations of $5.00 for a car wash and $5.00 for lunch are appreciated.

WHEN: Sunday, December 10, 2006
9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

WHERE: 19036 Vanowen Street, Reseda
Behind the West Valley Library next to
West Valley Community Police Station


CONTACT: West Valley Area Watch Commander at 818-374-7611




Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Polonium-210 and Recent Events in the UK

Friday, December 08, 2006 |

Recent events in the United Kingdom involving radioactive material Polonium-210 (Po-210) have caused general curiousity and some understandable concern about possible public health risks.

Along with detailed information from the U.K. Health Protection Agency, and U.K. National Health Service, our friends at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are pleased to offer on-line information about Polonium-210:

www.bt.cdc.gov/radiation/isotopes/polonium/qa.asp


Whether in London or Los Angeles: Knowledge Is Power!


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Pacific Palisades Fire Damages One Home

Thursday, December 07, 2006 |

On Thursday, December 7, 2006 at 9:46 AM, fourteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Hazardous Materials Team, one Helicopter, one EMS Battalion Captain, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Assistant Chief Tim Manning responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 345 Channel Rd. in Pacific Palisades.

The two-story single family home was well involved with fire, as Firefighters arrived on scene. An aggressive offensive attack was immediately initiated by first arriving Firefighters as additional Firefighters provided protection for three nearby homes. The older, wood sided home sustained major damage and suffered a partial roof collapse early in the fire.

Fortunately, no Firefighters were injured and no other homes were damaged. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation and damage estimates are still being tabulated.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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LAFD To Signal Start of 'Say No To Drugs' Race

Wednesday, December 06, 2006 |

The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department will be on hand to cheer participants as Jason Dohring of 'Veronica Mars' fame emcees the 6th annual 'Say No To Drugs' Race on Sunday, December 10th, 2006 in Griffith Park.

The LAFD will start the race with a powerful blast of Fire Engine horns - so don't be late! The 5K walk commences at 8:00 AM, the 5K and 10K runs at 8:15 AM, and the 1K Kiddie Fun-Run promptly at 8:30 AM.

Firefighters are proud supporters of this event, which not only benefits but highlights the importance of drug education and prevention. Expected to strap on their running shoes and join the fun are more than a thousand participants, including Elite Runners and special guest Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, who ran in the last two races as a "Drug-Free Marshal."

With $5,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs, it will be a fast race to the finish for the 5K and 10K runs. For those who prefer a breezier pace, there is a 5K walk.

And for the younger participants, ages 5 - 12, there will be a 1K "Kiddie Fun-Run" (all children will receive a "winner's ribbon" for participating). But whether running, walking or simply spectating, all are invited to support this worthwhile cause.

...and at the finish line, there will be a delicious pancake breakfast for everyone, so be sure to bring your appetite!

The 'Say No To Drugs' Race is presented by Team Against Drugs with race proceeds benefiting Friends of Narconon and the Drug-Free Marshals.

The Los Angeles Fire Department is proud to join Sony Pictures, Buena Vista Entertainment, Symantec, JACK FM, Curves and Overstock.com in supporting this event. For more information, please visit:

www.saynotodrugsrace.org



Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Commercial Fire Causes Significant Damage

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 |

On Tuesday, December 5, 2006 at 9:25 PM, thirteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, six LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Hazardous Materials Team, two EMS Battalion Captains, three 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 at 914 S. Hoover in Westlake/MacArthur Park.

First arriving companies found a 150' x 150' single-story commercial building with heavy fire showing. A rubbish fire, located outside the structure, had progressed into the front facade of the building, extended into the attic and flashed within the interior of the structure.

Firefighters were confronted with large volumes of smoke which made locating the seat of the fire significantly more difficult. Seventy Firefighters were able to contain the fire in 35 minutes using a coordinated interior attack combined with aggressive vertical ventilation. The building did sustain significant fire and smoke damage during this incident.

There were no injuries reported during this fire and the cause remains under investigation. The dollar loss will be determined at a later date.

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Stubborn Blaze Damages Tire Store in Los Angeles

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On Tuesday, December 5, 2006 at 9:35 AM, twenty Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, seven LAFD Rescue Ambulances, two Arson Units, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Hazardous Materials Squad, three EMS Battalion Captains, four Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 141 personnel under the direction of Assistant Chief Robert Franco responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at 3814 West Washington Boulevard in the Mid-City area of Los Angeles.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover heavy fire showing from within a 30' x 70' section of a one-story 'L-shaped' commercial structure housing an automotive repair business.

As Firefighters extended handlines to do battle with the fierce flames, they encountered a 29 year-old worker who had sustained 2nd degree burns to his left hand and 1st degree burns to his left forearm.

Firefighter/Paramedics quickly treated the man's painful wounds before transporting him to Olympia Medical Center in fair condition.

No other injuries were reported.

An aggressive and well-coordinated quarter-hour effort by Firefighters within the burning structure was beginning to turn the tide against intense flames when the building became structurally unsound due to fire damage, and began to fail about them.

A swift and seamless transition to defensive tactics was brought forth without injury; however the building's physical placement and the presence of high-voltage electric lines precluded the use of aerial ladder-based hose streams.

Using a combination of water and firefighting foam, Firefighters were able to deftly battle the stubborn flames, fueled by a large volume of burning tires and petrochemical storage. Their strategy successfully spared a large portion of the business from fire damage, and had the flames fully under control in just one hour.

Loss to Fregoso Tires is estimated at $450,000 ($250,000 structure & $200,000 contents). The cause of the fire is attributed to the accidental ignition of leaked gasoline by a work lamp being used by the injured man to repair the fuel system of a passenger vehicle.

(video)


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Los Angeles Mayor Selects Acting Fire Chief

Monday, December 04, 2006 |

LAFD Acting Chief Douglas Barry. Click to enlarge...The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department warmly welcome Douglas L. Barry as Acting Fire Chief. Chief Barry will assume Command of the LAFD when Fire Chief William Bamattre retires on January 1, 2007.

Chief Barry is a 31-year veteran of the LAFD, with an exemplary record as a Firefighter, Engineer, Captain, Battalion Chief, Chief of Staff, and Assistant Chief.

He joined the LAFD as a Firefighter on February 16, 1975, and was quickly promoted to Apparatus Operator in 1979 and Engineer in 1980. Chief Barry then earned promotions to Captain I in 1986 and Captain II in 1989.

In 1993, Chief Barry assumed command of LAFD’s Battalion 13, covering five Fire Stations in South Los Angeles. As head of Battalion 13, Chief Barry maintained strong relationships with community block clubs and churches, as well as with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

In 1995, Chief Barry took command of the LAFD’s Operations Office, where he oversaw Management of Department discipline, Worker’s Compensation, Wellness and Risk management programs. Chief Barry also served as liaison to the City Attorney’s Office and the LAPD.

Fire Chief William Bamattre appointed Chief Barry to serve as his Chief of Staff in 1996, where he served as the principal liaison to the City Council and Mayor’s Office. Chief Barry also provided leadership and oversight to the Fire Chief’s Planning Section, Employee Relations Office, and Community Relations Office.

In 1997, Chief Barry assumed command of LAFD’s Battalion 11, covering six Fire Stations in the Wilshire Corridor. As head of the Battalion, Chief Barry maintained strong relationships with chambers of commerce and a number of diverse community groups.

In 2000, Chief Barry took command of Battalion 6, in the Harbor area, overseeing operations at nine Fire Stations responsible for fire protection at the Port of Los Angeles, three major refineries and a host of heavy commercial occupancies. Chief Barry also serves as principal liaison to the United States Coast Guard, Port Authorities, the Chambers of Commerce, the shipping industry, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, and the Long Beach Fire Department.

In 2004, Chief Barry was appointed to Assistant Chief of LAFD Division 2, covering all of South Los Angeles, including the Los Angeles International Airport and the Port of Los Angeles.

Chief Barry most recently served as Assistant Fire Marshal, managing the day-to-day operations of the Fire Prevention Bureau, which includes inspections of high-rise and commercial buildings, brush and hazardous materials processors.

Chief Barry was born and raised in the South Bay, attending Narbonne High School, L.A. Harbor College, and California State University, Long Beach. He is married and has three adult daughters.

Chief Barry has earned the respect and support of not only his fellow Firefighters, but also his community, serving as Treasurer/Trustee and Deacon of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church in San Pedro.

(video) (photos)


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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LAFD Mailbag: Cooperation, Awareness... and Ticking?

Sunday, December 03, 2006 |

A sampling of correspondence from today's Los Angeles Fire Department mailbag:


To Whom It May Concern:

On Thanksgiving morning we were awakened by an early call informing us there was a car fire in the garage at the Country Villa Mar Vista Nursing Home in Los Angeles, California. Our Mother, a resident, was safely in the street with her private duty attendant and all the residents had already been evacuated.

My sister and I jumped into our clothes, grabbed blankets, and drove straight there. When we arrived we saw 3 or 4 fire trucks, lots of firefighters, and a situation completely under control. Patients were already being returned to rooms, the staff was calm, and normal activities had resumed. A potential disaster had been avoided.

It was fortunate the fire was confined to the garage and smoke did not penetrate the main structure. I saw the car when it was removed. The hood was melted through. The fire must have been very intense.

This was certainly a trying situation for the staff at Mar Vista. Patients were in beds, in showers, in bed clothes, sick with Alzheimer's disease, immobile, confused, and it was quite chilly outside. Yet all were covered, out, and when the situation was safe, returned to their rooms and monitored for the next 24 hours. Families were called and informed about the situation.

Commendations are in order for the staff on duty the morning of November 23, 2006. Their training led to clear thinking and a quick response that most certainly would save lives. The word spoken by all involved was, "cooperation".

Commendations also go to the administration at Country Villa Mar Vista for their insuring their staff was well trained to handle such an emergency.

Commendations as well to the fire department for sending a large force of very well trained firefighters who most certainly averted a disaster. The firefighters were professional, courteous, and comforting to us when we arrived.

I would also like to add, I think it was prophetic that fire safety was added to the government's annual inspection criteria this year. That too probably will help save lives, as it did in this circumstance, and as it will in the future at other institutions.

The potential seriousness of this situation was tragically brought to mind upon my return to Sacramento. There was a fire in a board and care home this past week. Two people died; other patients were rescued by "neighbors". The home had no sprinklers. This further highlights the importance of promptness, preparedness, and regulation.

I thank all involved for a difficult job well done.

Sincerely,

Paula W.
Sacramento, CA


Thanks for your kind words and suggestions. The men and women of the LAFD are obsessed about preventing fires, especially those that effect the most vulnerable among us. In our efforts, we can always use your help. If you encounter a fire hazard in a health care property or any other high-risk location in the City of Los Angeles, please advise the on-site management of your concerns and immediately contact us via 3-1-1.


Dear Chief Bamattre:

We would like to give a note of thanks and praise for EMS Captain Pat Oyama who attended our United Airlines station Safety Meeting on August 15, 2006.

The objective of his presence was to provide an overview and familiarization of the AED units that are installed at LAX. The audience included representatives from our various United Airlines management staff and unions, as well as our service providers (vendors).

Captain Oyama created a comfortable and open environment and his appropriate use of humor created an opportunity for those more inhibited to open up and ask questions. The information he shared was exactly on target, as our goal was to create a familiarity with what an AED is; not a training class.

We truly thank him for his time and work (he even got a run in the middle of the meeting and came back!) and we wanted you to know that the LAFD is fortunate to have a great professional like Captain Oyama.

Because of his presentation, our Safety representatives can now speak to the importance of our employees becoming comfortable with AEDs. With more information and education, they may even help save the life of a colleague, customer, family member, or friend.

Please recognize Captain Pat Oyama for his efforts.

Regards,
Jack Paluska
Manager-Station Operations
United Airlines


Thanks for your kind words regarding Captain Oyama. The Los Angeles Fire Department has a well-established Automated External Defibrillator (AED) program, with staff eager to help business and community leaders understand these life-saving tools. To learn more, please call (213) 485-1831 or visit : www.lafd.org/aed.htm


Dear Chief Bamattre:

I am writing this letter to express my gratitude to your fire department for their recent help with a very embarrassing matter.

One evening, when I returned home from work to my apartment, I was greeted by deadening ticking sounds in the walls at the back of my home. There didn’t seem to be a source to this sound; neither the fire alarm nor the fan was on.

After three hours with no relief, I spoke to a staff member at DWP who suggested calling the Fire Department to see if they could identify the cause of the sound in my walls.

Given all the important responsibilities of the Fire Department, I was a little reticent to disturb you on this matter. Nevertheless, three firemen came to my house within ten minutes of the call. They were extremely professional and courteous, and quickly discerned that the sound was not due to trapped heat. One of he firemen suggested that the sound was a cricket and surprisingly to me, he spent a few moments trying to find the source of the insane ticking.

Eventually, in hitting the ceiling, we found quite an infestation of crickets and the exterminator mercifully came in large part to the actions of the fire department took in this matter.

I wanted to draw your attention to these incredible men who went beyond any kind of professional courtesy in taking the tie to locate this embarrassingly absurd situation. I remain continually impressed by the work and the spirit of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Sincerely,
Marilyn A.


That our neighbors think first of calling their Fire Department for troubling situations is indeed heartening. While we can't respond to every non-emergency concern, we are pleased to assist when we can, if for no other reason than to provide peace of mind. In this case, we're pleased to have done just that!

If you have a non-emergency public service or safety concern that is best addressed by a City of Los Angeles agency, please don't hesitate to consult with a 3-1-1 Ambassador at any hour by dialing 3-1-1.



Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Angels and Vagabonds: Old Friends

Saturday, December 02, 2006 |

Tim McGarryAngels and Vagabonds: Old Friends

by Tim McGarry





"Another old friend has been on my mind in recent days – Bill Bamattre, who resigned yesterday as chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Like Bernie Parks, Bill and I are alumni of Daniel Murphy High School, an all-boys Catholic school near the Miracle Mile. I graduated just a year ahead of Bill. We weren’t close friends, but we served together in student government, where Bill was always a voice of reason and good sense. I think you’ll get fundamentally the same description of Bill from anyone who knew him in those days. What was most remarkable about him was not the fact that he was both a star athlete and scholastically brilliant, but that there was never the slightest indication that any of this went to his head. It would be hard to imagine a nicer or more unpretentious guy. Among Murphy students, he was widely and genuinely liked and admired, for good reason.

I ran into Bill a couple of years ago at a Murphy reunion and was pleased to encounter the same warmth and cordiality I remembered from high school.

It’s been unpleasant to watch Bill’s march along the plank in recent weeks, with bloviating pols pushing at him from behind. I don’t know what it will take to change the problematic culture of the LAFD, but it did not escape my notice that even some of Bill’s harshest critics praised the operational excellence that is his legacy as chief. For that, all of us who live in this city should acknowledge a debt of gratitude. And Bill can count on his old friends remembering him as fondly as ever."

Read or comment at Tim's full blog entry...



Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Fire Chief William Bamattre - Statement To The Community

Friday, December 01, 2006 |

The following are remarks offered by Los Angeles Fire Chief William Bamattre to members of the community and media who gathered today at the LAFD's soon-to-debut Training Facility in Panorama City.

"I want to welcome all of you to the Los Angeles Fire Department’s (LAFD) new Training Facility, which will greet its first Recruit training Class in January. I chose this location for today’s message because it represents much more than just a Training Facility. It is a physical statement about my vision as Fire Chief and stands in testimony to the progress, direction and accomplishments of the LAFD during my tenure.

FIREFIGHTER SAFETY
New recruits will be introduced to the various aspects and responsibilities of Firefighters with realistic simulated scenarios in a controlled training environment providing for the safety of recruits and training staff. Firefighter safety is the highest priority in our training and response.

WORKFORCE DIVERSITY
This facility is designed, benefiting from three major reviews and improvements of Recruit Training over the last ten years. It incorporates gender facilities, expandable to meet the training needs of recruits and staff. There are multiple lecture rooms and protected environments for practical “hands-on” training. By design, there is an active Fire Station to introduce the new recruits to the three distinct work environments of a Firefighter:

  • Conventional supervisor/employee/peer relationship.
  • Life-threatening Emergency response to Fires, Medical Emergencies, and other life safety threats
  • The social environment presented by a 24-hour shift. Where Firefighters must learn to live together with respect for individual differences.

ALL RISK MANAGEMENT
All types of training can be provided here: Hazardous-Materials, Fire Prevention, Public Education, USAR and Confined Space Rescue, Apparatus Maintenance, Terrorism Awareness and Response, etc.

REGIONAL COLLABORATION AND INTEROPERABILITY
Collaborative training will be facilitated for multiple agencies within the City and region as we all deal with the challenge of meeting dynamic Public Safety needs.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH/DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Emergency Preparedness; our CERT Program (Community Emergency Response Teams); and our Volunteer Programs will benefit from this facility by attracting new members and maintaining skill sets. This facility embodies our newest initiative to create Disaster Management Districts able to provide sustaining food and shelter for up to seven days for any type of emergency requiring evacuation.

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS
This facility is one of multiple capital improvements in place to address the current and future expanding needs of Public Safety.

RESPONSE TIME
The primary “Measure of Effectiveness” that I implemented for the LAFD is our Response Time. Our Response Goal – measured from the receipt of the 911 call to arrival of the first resource – is to 5 minutes. This shall be achieved 90% of the time. With the completion of the new dispatch “Command and Control” center in 2008 the LAFD will achieve this goal.

RETIREMENT
This morning I submitted a letter to the Mayor informing him of my retirement. I will step down as Fire Chief on January 1, 2007.

This was a difficult decision. As Fire Chief, my actions have always been guided by three tenets:

  • What’s best for Public Safety
  • What’s best for Firefighter Safety
  • What’s best for the Department


Current Fire Department issues have received wide spread media attention and have disproportionately required the attention of both the Mayor and Council. It has also begun to adversely impact the ability of the LAFD to appropriately address other import issues and initiatives. As Fire Chief, I accept the accountability and responsibility to manage whatever issues that the Department must deal with. I remain resolute and confident in my ability to meet the challenges presented by these issues. As Fire Chief for the past 11 years, I will stand on the merits of my record and am proud of the Department’s accomplishments under my leadership.

However, I have always placed the interest of the Department above my own personal interest. I am also a political realist. Over the past few days, I have come to the appreciation that these current issues have political implications beyond the scope of the Fire Department. I have become the focus of the debate and that is to the detriment of the LAFD. I will not allow that to continue. This is my decision and it is the appropriate time. I have spoken with the Mayor, and he is in agreement.

I have a great deal of respect for the Mayor and the Council members. Their individual talents, empathy and leadership are exceptional. Their challenge will be to keep the collective interests of the City of Los Angeles above their own aspirations and political concerns. I am hopeful that they will work together to resolve the difficult issues that lay before them.

In planning for my retirement, I had three objectives:

  • Ensure that the initiatives and programs important to my vision for the LAFD were established
  • Develop a pool of LAFD candidates from which the Mayor could select my successor
  • Ensure a smooth transition

I am confident that I have achieved the first two objectives. The smooth transition may take a little more work!

In dealing with these current issues, I came across the first communication that I sent out to all LAFD members when I was appointed Fire Chief in 1995. I would like to read to you the last part of that communications I believe it applies now as it did eleven years ago.

It is important that the critical tenets of my philosophy are clear to all members. Therefore, they are reiterated to avoid any misunderstanding.

  • Firefighter safety remains my top priority and enhanced training with state-of-the-art equipment will ensure that firefighter safety is maintained.
  • The LAFD must reflect the diversity of the community it serves in order to be successful in its mission.
  • Input from all members and suggestions to improve efficiency and effectiveness are encouraged and welcomed.
  • Department members are free to participate in the organizations of their choice.
  • Every individual is entitled to respect and equitable treatment.
  • Discrimination and/or harassment of any type (ethnic, gender, rank, etc.), whether overt, subtle, or unintentional WILL NOT be tolerated.
  • I am committed to supporting human relations training that will improve the development of interpersonal skills creating a better work environment for all.
  • Resource configuration must be flexible to respond to the needs of a dynamic emergency environment.
  • Individual Commitment is not enough; collectively the membership must contribute their initiative and energy to inspire the innovations that will influence the direction of this department in the years ahead.
  • All members must take a genuine interest in the community they serve.
  • Management and labor can and should work cooperatively and productively to achieve common goals.

During this period of transition, I am asking for your support and personal commitment. The support I seek is not for me personally, but rather for the future of our Department. Throughout its history, the members of this Department have prevailed despite many challenges. Reaffirming our collective unity in commitment and purpose, the LAFD can transform adversity into opportunity.

The strength and values of the Fire Department are found in the exceptional people that work for the LAFD. They have distinguished themselves for over 120 years and they will continue to do so in the future."


(photos) (slideshow)


Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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