Fire Confined to Office in Century City High-Rise

Saturday, January 06, 2007 |

On Saturday, January 6, 2007 at 1:34 PM, thirteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, four LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, one Rehab Air Tender Unit, one Hazardous Materials Squad, one EMS Battalion Captain, four Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 95 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Raymundo Gomez, responded to a Greater Alarm Highrise Structure Fire at 2029 South Century Park East in Century City.

Firefighters arrived quickly to confirm multiple alarm activations, but no external signs of smoke or fire from the Century Plaza Towers north tower, and promptly took control of occupant egress from the triangular 44-story office building, which along with its identical and adjacent sibling, are the tallest buildings within the City outside the downtown area.

Securing the lobby, fire control room and stairwells of thirty-one year-old aluminum-clad and sealed building, teams of Firefighters soon began the arduous task of climbing stairs in accordance with the LAFD's well-established High-Rise Incident Command System, as their colleagues took control of key building systems and established liaison with on site building staff.

With detailed knowledge of the structure gained during fire prevention and tactical pre-plan inspections, Firefighters carrying as much as 100 pounds of equipment each climbed 52 flights of stairs to access a working fire held in check by fire sprinklers in the southwest corner of the 26th floor.

With support teams readily staged on the floors below them, Firefighters assigned to fire attack aggressively assaulted the fire with handlines, confining the flames to the law office of origin, and fully extinguishing the blaze in just 34 minutes.

There were no injuries to Firefighters, or the more than 50 occupants who evacuated the building in a calm and orderly fashion in response to fire alarm activation.

Following extinguishment, dozens of Firefighters worked for several hours assisting building officials with salvage operations and water removal from the 23rd through 26th floors.

Loss from the fire was limited to $80,000. The cause of the blaze is categorized as electrical, with an origin focused on office computer equipment.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department


Anonymous said...

When firefighters walk up flights of stairs, do they all carry the same amount of weight; or are stronger firefighters told to carry more? Are female firefighters also required to carry amost 100 pounds of equipment up the stairs?

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...


The challenge of fighting fire in one of Los Angeles 753 high-rise buildings is indeed a logistical challenge.

While we are seen as an operationally uniform force, not every Firefighter will carry an identical weight of equipment, or perform the same functions at each and every fire.

The differences in what is to be carried and when, is largely determined by the operational needs of the firefight, and may be invoked by a Company Commander (i.e. Captain) to a group of male and female personnel assembled on an ad-hoc basis (i.e. "You ten Firefighters grab that pile of air bottles and hose. Take them to the 35th floor!").

While the idea of piecemeal logistics is not natural to swift-moving LAFD emergency operations, it is possible that the same Captain might seek to utilize or manage his or her human capital in ways that best support the operation at hand. As a Captain or Chief Officer, that is entirely their call.

One example that comes to mind would be the use of a physically diminutive Firefighter to perform a confined space rescue instead of one that is 6'7" tall. Such a decision would be based upon matching need with resource, with gender of little concern.

Los Angeles Firefighters do practice a broad range of high-rise firefighting skills at a Division level on a bi-annual basis.

It is during these closely monitored exercises (at a minimum) that the men and women of our Department and our Command Officers affirm and identify personal capabilities through hands-on objectives that closely mimic real-world conditions of high-rise firefighting.

As such, each uniformed member of our Department is made familiar with the likely demands, and encouraged to train (exercise, study) in a manner that will allow their maximal performance in support of the team's effort.

I hope this information helps.

If you have additional concerns or questions about how Los Angeles Firefighters work during emergencies, we encourage you to visit a Neighborhood Fire Station.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

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