Fireplace Log-Handling Destroys Silver Lake Home

Thursday, January 18, 2007 |

On Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 9:02 PM, eleven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, five LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Hazardous Materials Squad, three LAFD Helicopters, two EMS Battalion Captains, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 121 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Assistant Chief Ralph Terrazas responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 2131 Baxter Street in the Echo Park area near Silver Lake.

Firefighters responded swiftly to the well-established neighborhood with a reputation for having among the steepest streets in Los Angeles, to find a vegetation shrouded cliffside home fully ablaze.

Due to wind and highly flammable vegetation throughout the community, a trio of LAFD Helicopters were summoned for aerial reconnaissance, command support and water dropping capabilities as ground-based Firefighters navigated the narrow streets to commence a brisk assault on the well-entrenched flames.

Making an Entrance. © Photo by Ryan Ling EPNAble to first access only one side of the 85 year-old wood-frame home due to precipitous terrain, Firefighters limited the lateral spread of fire to vegetation as they quickly flanked the fully involved structure and began an all-out attack on the flames.

A simultaneous search effort was soon curtailed, when it was determined that the home's sole occupant had escaped prior to the Fire Department's arrival. The woman's dialogue with Firefighters smartly guided salvage efforts as LAFD Paramedics evaluated her for possible smoke exposure.

According to the 69 year-old resident, she had been home alone tending to the fireplace in the lower portion of her split-level home before the fire erupted.

After using a pair of barbeque-type gloves to reposition burning logs, the legally-blind woman set the gloves upon an upholstered sofa, not realizing they were ablaze.

Despite the room - and a great portion of the home - erupting in flames, the woman was able to escape with minimal injury. Following her on-site medical assessment by LAFD Paramedics, she was transported in fair condition to Glendale Memorial Hospital for evaluation of minor smoke inhalation.

No other injuries were reported.

The Aftermath of Carelessness. © Photo by Harry Garvin.Though the home was equipped with smoke alarms, their functional status and role in warning the woman could not be immediately determined. The home was also equipped with regulation compliant window security bars, that were neither a factor nor an impediment to the woman's escape from the 1,731 square-foot home, which was destroyed by the blaze.

Monetary loss is still being tabulated. The cause of the fire is categorized as accidental, and is attributed to the woman's carelessness with fire.

(broadcast video) (extended raw video) (images)

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department


Anonymous said...

This address is Echo Park.

Will said...

In light of the tragedy this poor woman sustained this is a minor point to be sure, but I'm pretty sure that the area east of the Glendale (2) Freeway where the home is located on Baxter Street is considered Echo Park, not Silver Lake.

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Thanks *very* much for the notes. Every blogger should be as fortunate to have thoughtful, polite and participatory visitors.

In further analysis, and speaking with residents of the area, it does seem as though 'Echo Park' is greatly preferred by most residents.

Please know that I do my best to determine neighborhood identifiers, but the City doesn't provide us with tools to make such GIS decisions.

Sometimes instinct and a community split across two Thomas Brothers map pages can cause the darndest problems, especially when juggling three or four simultaneous fires and dozens of phone calls. :)

That much said, mea culpa - yet I have a still have a problem.

The term Silver Lake (and its incorrect one-word variation of Silverlake), was used by various news outlets and wire services as the identifier without my suggesting it.

Take a look at the video links and you'll see.

Most of the Google searches for the incident have also been for "Silverlake Fire".

While I certainly will change the body of the message, the fact that the Blogger article permalink includes the term 'Silver Lake', means that if I change the TITLE to Echo Park, I will cause dead links and aggravated visitors.

Hmmm. Then again, it is nearly 3:00 AM and...

If I could have one wish this week, it would be that the City's My Neighborhood search feature would offer definitive answers to a matter which is of understandable concern to those we serve.

I pledge to do better next time, will try to leave a community identifier out of the blog post *title* unless I am quite sure, and pray that each of you will keep me on my toes.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

Will said...

Thanks for your response Brian. I did see "Silverlake" listed as the fire's location on a couple local news websites. Sadly it doesn't surprise me that they'd get it wrong AND contract the neighborhoood's name.

I was thinking an option might be to list it as "Silver Lake-adjacent" in order to keep the permalink alive... but that might even be considered more egregious to Echo Park residents.

Better to leave it as is, and as usual: keep up the great work!

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