Dermatology Laser Sparks High Rise Office Fire

Saturday, January 20, 2007 |

On Saturday, January 20, 2007 at 10:17 AM, twenty-one Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Hazardous Materials Squad, two LAFD Helicopters, two EMS Battalion Captains, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 128 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Fred Mathis responded to a Highrise Fire at 6200 Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile.

Firefighters responding to a reported fire in a high rise medical office building were met curbside by Security Officers who confirmed alarm and fire sprinkler activation on the twelfth floor of the seventeen story structure.

LAFD personnel took prompt control of the building by securing the lobby, stairwells, fire control room and key building systems as pursuant of protocol, Fire Department helicopters were being staffed remotely as 'Airborne Engine Companies'.

Firefighters carrying as much as 100 pounds of equipment each climbed 24 flights of stairs to access a fire held in check by a single fire sprinkler in a twelfth floor medical office.

According to witnesses, a hand-held high-powered medical laser device being prepared for use in a dermatology procedure was placed upon and ignited an examination table. The staff tried in vain to extinguish the flames with a portable fire extinguisher before the fire sprinkler activated to hold the flames in check.

The fire was declared extinguished in just seventeen minutes.

There were no injuries to Firefighters, or the more than one dozen occupants who calmly and properly evacuated the fire floor in advance of the Fire Department's arrival.

Following extinguishment, dozens of Firefighters worked for more than two hours assisting building staff with three inches of water removal from office of fire origin, and collateral water impact on the 8th through 11th floors.

Fire loss was limited to $200,000 ($50,000 structure & $150,000 contents). The cause of the blaze is categorized as accidental, and attributed to carelessness with the heat producing medical laser device.

(video)


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

6 comments:

Bill Briggs said...

Hello,
Do you realize that AP posted a story that this fire was caused by a laser pointer and not a high power medical laser?

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Mr. Briggs:

Thank you very much for the note, and for relying on our blog to relay our version of what happened.

Regretfully, our friends at the AP used a brokered (and in this case, mistaken) account from a local news service - whom we specifically asked to check the blog and call back with any questions. They didn't.

We pledge to work harder in the days to come to make sure things like this don't happen again, and welcome you and others to bookmark this blog to gain an accurate account of our views, observations and opinions.

How the high-powered medical device became a 'pointer' is clearly beyond me, but I can say that a clarification has already made via the AP wire, and their staff is to be commended for their active followup.

The correction should appear in any future stories. Again, thanks for the note, and for making us aware of the errors that sadly became attributable to us.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

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

Dana Gabbard said...

Thank you for providing exact and accurate information. My allergy dr. has his office on that floor so it is useful to know I'll need to check whether they had any damage from the sprinklers activating before I drop by for a shot.

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Mr. Gabbard:

Thanks for the note, and for allowing our blog to serve your information needs.

Kindly accept our best wishes for a quick and uneventful trip to your allergist - and draw some comfort while you're in the building that the fire sprinklers have a recent track record of properly protecting the occupants.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

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

Susan Laufer said...

Mr. Humphrey,
Are you at liberty to say what model laser was involved, and whether it was a device failure or human error?
Susan Laufer

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Ms. Laufer,

Thanks for the note. As mentioned in previous comments, the device in question had been mistakenly identified as a laser pointer by a local news service.

Regrtetfully, I do not personally have the make and model of the high-powered medical device in question.

The fire, which was "categorized as accidental, and attributed to carelessness with the heat producing medical laser device" is attributing human factor(s) as the cause of the blaze.

For information on how to obtain the official 'Fire Field Incident Report' for this incident, which should list the name of the medical practice, specific address, etc; you may call (213) 485-6528 for recorded information.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

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

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