Fire in Sylmar Juvenile Hall Sends 5 to Hospital

Saturday, March 03, 2007 |

On Saturday, March 3, 2007 at 12:50 PM, six Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, two EMS Battalion Captains, one Arson Unit and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 41 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief John Nowell responded to a Structure Fire at 16350 Filbert Street in Sylmar.

Firefighters arrived quickly at the Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall to discover light smoke showing from a one-story building in the southwest corner of the County of Los Angeles juvenile detention facility.

Maintaining formal liaison with staff, Firefighters mounted a swift assault on the flames in the smoke charged structure, confining the fire within one dormitory room and fully extinguishing the flames in just 27 minutes.

One juvenile ward was removed from the room of fire origin by a staff member prior to the Fire Department's arrival. That youth, in critical yet stable condition, as well as four staff members, who each sustained non-life threatening exposure to smoke, were transported to an area hospital by LAFD ambulance. A fifth staff member declined further treatment or transportation from the scene.

Damage to the non-sprinklered building is estimated at $15,000 ($5,000 structure & $10,000 contents). The fire was determined to have been intentionally set.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

8 comments:

Anne said...

No sprinklers? What kind of third-world living conditions are we giving to the kids in the system?

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Anne:

Thanks for the note. You certainly do read our postings closely!

Firefighters agree that fire sprinklers are an important safety addition to any home, even when 'home' is a hotel, motel or institution.

While some buildings at the complex in question - and many other incarceration facilities in our region - do indeed have fire sprinklers, this particular County owned and operated building did not.

Those seeking further information about policies and protocol within juvenile hall facilities in Los Angeles County may contact the County's Probation Department directly via their website:

probation.co.la.ca.us

Anne, please join us in wishing all of those effected by this senseless fire a quick return to wellness.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

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

Anonymous said...

I think a reality check is in order here, There have been several arson fires at this site that have been attributed to kids having lighters or matches in Jail. The use of illegally obtained tobacco, and drugs is a serious problem, teachers have been assualted when a student in the jail was turned in for having a Lighter. Many of these"Youth" locked up have records for Arson and a lighter can be purchased for 20 dollars in jail from another detainee who gets it from family visits. Probation Staff are doing an excellent Job trying to curtail these events and as a teacher in that site we wish all a speedy recovery. Thanks to the Firemen who have always made rapid response and are efficient,professional, and amazingly polite.

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thanks for your insider view of a place that precious few of us can comprehend. Thankfully, there are dedicated people like you helping to guide and protect troubled youth on a daily basis.

Know that many of us deeply appreciate your dedication, and especially the sense of purpose and hope you convey to those who are but a decision away from success or ruin.

Please stay safe, and never fail to contact us whenever we can be of assistance.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

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

Anonymous said...

I was also there on Saturday after the fire occurred. With all due respect to the staff members who indeed must often contend with some very troubling matters. the issue here is not only how well the staff or fire responded, but how prepared the building was to handle the matter. Given the fact that the children there are in buildings that are locked from the inside and must therefore wait for staff to let them out in times of crisis, the installation of early response equipment like sprinklers is of the utmost importance. We are very grateful that no one lost their life on Saturday and only hope that this will serve as a wake-up call to upgrade the facilities before such an incident occurs.

Anne said...

I wasn't blaming the staff at all, just the physical condition of the building that makes it dangerous for both workers and inmates. There should be sprinklers installed immediately so that nobody dies, and the general condition/design/age of our juvenile facilities in Los Angeles are such that they provide security problems for staff and inmates.

I understand that a lot of troublemaking goes on because the workers in our juvenile halls often don't have a clear line of sight to work with. The buildings went up in a different time, when security wasn't such of a problem.

Anonymous said...

i heard they may charge the kid that started the fire with arson

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

As mentioned in our blog post, the fire was intentionally set. The matter of who or how it was set remains the focus of an active investigation.

Regretfully, our office cannot address speculative comments related to the fire at this time.

If you wish to speak with LAFD Arson Investigators, we welcome you to contact their office directly at (213) 485-6095.

If pechance you wish to contact the District Attorney's Office, you may reach them at (213) 974-3512.

I hope this information helps.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

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

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