Woman Dead, Man Injured in Freeway Auto Fire

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 |

On Wednesday, February 28, 2007 at 1:00 AM, three Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one EMS Battalion Captain and four Arson Investigation Units, a total of 24 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Captain Greg Olsen responded to an Auto Fire with Civilian Fatality on the Northbound Golden State (5) Freeway south of Fletcher Drive in the Atwater Village area of Los Angeles.

Responding to reports of a vehicle fire, Firefighters arrived quickly to discover a green Honda Accord sedan on the right shoulder of the freeway against vegetation, with heavy fire in the passenger compartment. There was no clear evidence or witnesses describing a collision.

Firefighters came to the immediate medical aid of a severely injured adult male burn victim found near the car, but despite their prompt efforts at extinguishing the flames, were unable to rescue an adult female from the front seat of the burning vehicle.

The woman was declared deceased at the scene.

LAFD Paramedics transported the 39 year-old burned man to the Los Angeles County USC Medical Center in serious condition with an altered level of consciousness, as well as second- and third-degree burns to his face and hands.

The relationship between the man and the deceased woman was not determined by Fire Department responders, and no other injuries were reported.

A positive identification of the deceased woman, as well as the exact cause, time and manner of her death will be determined by Coroner's officials, who - pursuant of protocol - were joined in the death and fire investigation by the California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles Police Detectives and Los Angeles Fire Department Arson Investigators.

The incident is categorized as suspicious and remains under investigation. Anyone who may have witnessed this early morning fire or has leads to provide is asked to contact LAFD Arson Investigators at 213-485-6095 or LAPD Robbery-Homicide Detectives at 213-485-2129. On weekends and after-hours, those with information can call toll-free 1-877-529-3855.

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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Blog on Hiatus

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 |

The LAFD blog was on hiatus due to staffing. We're still making slow but steady progress in our backlog of incident reports, which will soon be appearing on the blog.

Please note the dates of any new postings!

Do you have a general comment or suggestion regarding the LAFD News & Information blog? Please feel free to post your thoughts below or leave a voice message at our LAFD TalkRadio comment line: (213) 785-1098.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

New Assignments for LAFD Deputy Chiefs

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From the Office of the Fire Chief...


Fire Chief’s Press Release

February 27, 2007

"Effective April 1, 2007, Deputy Chief Emile Mack, Bureau Commander of Training and Risk Management will be permanently reassigned as the Operations Commander for the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD). Effective the same date, Deputy Chief Andrew Fox, the Department’s current Operations Commander, will be reassigned as the new head of the Bureau of Training and Risk Management.

Both, Chief Fox and Chief Mack are dedicated, loyal and accomplished officers who faithfully serve the community of Los Angeles and have achieved the rank of Deputy Chief due to their exceptional backgrounds, skills and qualifications for the position.

Their reassignment comes at a time when the Department is moving in a new direction toward growth and opportunity consistent with the goals of the audit action plan established by the Board of Fire Commissioners in response to the City Controller’s audit of the LAFD management practices.

The reassignment of Chiefs Mack and Fox allows the Department to utilize their individual strengths, skills, and abilities in different capacities that will better serve the Department and improve the organizational effectiveness and efficiency in delivering and maintaining the highest level of public safety for the residents of Los Angeles."


Media Contact:
Battalion Chief Kwame Cooper
Community Liaison Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

Car Plunges Into Apartment Pool in Woodland Hills

Saturday, February 24, 2007 |

On the afternoon of Saturday, February 24, 2007, Los Angeles Firefighters responded to a report of a vehicle into a swimming pool at 6644 Glade Avenue in Woodland Hills.

Car into Pool in Woodland Hills. © Photo by Juan Guerra.


The LAFD arrived quickly to discover an uninjured 82 year-old female driver, who had been promptly rescued from the driver's window of the sinking car by her husband, who witnessed the crash.

Car Into Pool in Woodland Hills. © Photo by Juan Guerra.

Car into Pool in Woodland Hills. © Photo by Juan Guerra.


The woman told responders she had been driving in the parking lot of her apartment complex when she mistook the accelerator for the brake pedal. Her mid-sized sedan crashed through a wrought-iron fence and vaulted a planter before splashing in the shallow end of a swimming pool at the Canoga Terrace Apartments.

Car Into Pool in Woodland Hills. © Photo by Juan Guerra.

Car into Pool in Woodland Hills. © Photo by Juan Guerra.


The woman's husband attempted to enter the vehicle to remove valuables after Firefighters departed. The car, which subsequently settled in pool's deep end, was removed by a tow truck later that day.

Los Angeles Police Officers are investigating the circumstances of the collision.

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Submitted by Brian Humphrey
Los Angeles Fire Department

Man Found Dead on Rocky San Pedro Shoreline

Wednesday, February 07, 2007 |

On Wednesday, February 7, 2007 at 9:21 AM, six Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one LAFD Rescue Ambulance, one Helicopter, three Fireboats, one EMS Battalion Captain and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 50 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Darren Palacios, responded as part of a Cliff Rescue Response to the rocky shoreline at Point Fermin near the intersection of South Gaffey Street and Paseo del Mar in San Pedro.

Responding to a call from a passerby who spotted a person motionless at the base of the sheer and rugged cliffs that form the southernmost point of Los Angeles, LAFD rescuers on land, sea and air quickly responded.

Though land-based Fire Department crews were first to arrive, it was the crew of an LAFD fireboat that first accessed the lifeless patient, discovered floating face-down in tide pools formed by the rising waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Despite the prompt response of rescuers, the man proved to be beyond medical help, and was declared deceased at the scene.

With high-tide approaching, Firefighters assisted Los Angeles Police Officers and Coroner's staff in safely accessing the body.

Following the on-site law enforcement investigation, a Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter crew moved the man's remains to the cliff-top Pt. Fermin Park in a safe and dignified manner.

A positive identification of the dead man, as well as precise time, cause and manner of his death will be determined by Coroner's officials. The incident remains under active investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey
Los Angeles Fire Department

Firefighters Briefly Trapped, Injured in Pico-Union Blaze

Monday, February 05, 2007 |

On Monday, February 5, 2007 at 3:14 PM, sixteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, eight LAFD Rescue Ambulances, four Arson Units, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Rehab Air Tender Unit, one Hazardous Materials Squad, one Helicopter, three EMS Battalion Captains, the LAFD Medical Director, five Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 131 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Assistant Chief Ralph Terrazas, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire with Firefighter Injuries at 1866 West 11th Street in Pico-Union area of Los Angeles.

Arriving quickly to a report of two persons trapped on the second floor of a two story residential duplex that was heavily involved with fire, Firefighters mounted a swift offense with handlines and a primary search for the woman and teenage male seen at an upstairs window just prior to the Fire Department's arrival.

An all-out attack on the fire continued as ground ladders were strategically placed around the 3,187 square-foot structure and a crew of four Firefighters entered an uninvolved ground-floor portion of the smoke charged building to effect a rescue.

As the quartet of Firefighters climbed an interior stairway, it suddenly gave way, pitching the four into the flaming basement of the century-old wood frame building.

The imperiled Firefighters immediately activated the 'emergency triggers' on their handheld radios, which alerted both Firefighter/Dispatchers and the Incident Commander, who instantly deployed an on-site Rapid Intervention Company to assist the trapped crew.

Concurrently, the 18 year-old male and 42 year-old female civilians trapped in the building appeared at a different upstairs window, from which other Firefighters swiftly rescued the smoke-exposed but uninjured pair via ground ladder.

The Rapid Intervention Company was soon able to gain access to the trapped crew, to discover two uninjured Firefighters who had self-extricated themselves from a 'partial basement' to assist their colleagues who remained trapped.

Soon thereafter, those Firefighters assisted the Rapid Intervention Company in freeing a Fire Captain with a dislocated shoulder and a Firefighter with second- and third-degree burns to one hand. Both men were able to walk from the structure to awaiting medical aid.

Firefighters confined the fire to the structure of origin, fully extinguishing the flames in just 44 minutes.

The civilians rescued from the fire declined treatment or transportation to the hospital. The injured Fire Captain and Firefighter were taken to area hospitals where they were treated and released.

Loss from the fire is estimated at $250,000 ($200,000 structure & $50,000 contents). The cause of this blaze remains categorized as under investigation.

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Submitted by Brian Humphrey
Los Angeles Fire Department

Worker Rescued From Hollywood Hills Excavation

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On Monday, February 5, 2007 at 8:41 AM, nine Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, four LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Heavy Rescue, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Hazardous Materials Squad, one EMS Battalion Captain, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 74 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel, as well as a Light Force and Battalion Chief from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, all under the direction of LAFD Assistant Chief John Ware, responded to a Trench Rescue at 7835 Fareholm Avenue in the Hollywood Hills.

The Danger: A Matter of Scale. © Photo courtesy of Evan Williams


Firefighters arrived quickly to establish visual and verbal contact with a conscious and alert adult male construction worker buried to his waist in a trench between a steep and unstable 40-foot hillside of decomposed granite and the 15-foot reinforced concrete foundation of a residential structure under construction.

Perspective of The Challenge. © Photo courtesy of Evan Williams


With specialized LAFD equipment and rescue teams enroute and a large vacuum truck requested from the City's Department of Public Works, Bureau of Sanitation to assist with efficient soil removal in the event of an extended operation, Firefighters briskly but methodically commenced their rescue of the 46 year-old laborer.

Tight Quarters I. © Photo courtesy of Evan Williams


With safety, speed and efficiency, LAFD trench rescue equipment and personnel were relayed into the rescue site by ladder, and the hillside promptly and properly shored before Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) certified LAFD Paramedics commenced face-to-face treatment of the still trapped worker.

View From the Top. © Photo courtesy of Evan Williams


Both medical oxygen and a breathing air line with mask were swiftly provided to the man in the interest of addressing his acute medical needs, as well as his survival in the event of additional collapse.

Another View From the Top. © Photo courtesy of Evan Williams


Simultaneously, Firefighters took advantage of the concrete construction wall and structural steel above the trapped worker to tether him and all rescuers in the trench via a mechanical advantage rope system, should the hillside suddenly give way.

Tethering the Rescue Lines. © Photo courtesy of Evan Williams


With these key systems and a precise rotational schedule for the continuous presence of trained rescuers in place, the labor-intensive effort to move soil began in earnest, as low pressure air bags were carefully placed behind already present plywood shoring to further stabilize the steep slope.

The manual efforts of Firefighters in moving the soil was soon evident, but never overshadowed the medical attention given to the trapped worker, who was constantly attended to by LAFD Paramedics who offered personal reassurance throughout his entrapment.

Making Way For the Vacuum Truck. © Photo courtesy of Evan Williams


With tons of soil moved, but a greater amount remaining, Firefighters removed a large pile of gravel to provide direct access for the enroute vacuum truck in the event it might be needed.

Nearly two hours following his entrapment, Firefighters were able to safely remove the last of tons of soil that had trapped the man. They then raised him by harness onto a backboard before placing him litter basket stretcher for his journey from the trench. Once outside the operational 'hot zone' a splint was placed on the man's left lower leg before transport to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in serious but stable condition.



Questions regarding the presence, need or injured man's use of safety equipment and approved worksite procedures remain within the purview of Cal-OSHA, which is investigating the incident as a workplace injury.

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Submitted by Brian Humphrey
Los Angeles Fire Department

Dryer Fire Leads to Five Firefighter Injuries

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On Monday, February 5, 2007 at 6:17 AM, seven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one EMS Battalion Captain and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 44 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Gerry Malais responded to a Structure Fire that caused Firefighter Injuries at 509 Nolden Street in Highland Park.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover fire and smoke showing from the first and second floors at the rear of a 1,755 square-foot single family home. Mounting a fierce offense with handlines, Firefighters confined the fire within the structure of origin and extinguished the flames in just 32 minutes.

Though there were no civilian injuries, five Los Angeles Fire Department personnel were injured in their battle with the flames, including two who required hospital emergency room treatment for mild to moderate burn injuries. The remaining three LAFD personnel were treated and released at the scene.

Loss from the fire is estimated at $300,000 ($250,000 structure & $50,000 contents). The cause of this early morning blaze is categorized as electrical and attributed to a clothes dryer in the home.

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NOTE: This fire comes just five days following the U.S. Fire Administration's release of a report regarding clothes dryer fires in residential buildings. The report examines the characteristics of clothes dryer fires and provides important recommendations. To learn more:

www.usfa.dhs.gov/downloads/pdf/tfrs/v7i1.pdf (669 Kb PDF)



Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Fire Destroys Building in Downtown Los Angeles

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LAFD Ladder Pipes in Action. © Photo by Rick McClureOn Monday, February 5, 2007 at 4:57 AM, thirty-nine Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, six LAFD Rescue Ambulances, two Arson Units, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Hazardous Materials Squad, one Helicopter, one Rehab Air Tender, one Foam Tender, three EMS Battalion Captains, seven Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 239 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Assistant Chief Roderick Garcia responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at 356 South Broadway in the Historic Downtown district of Los Angeles.

Responding to a report of smoke seen by a passing motorist, Firefighters arrived quickly to discover heavy smoke showing from the century-old O.T. Johnson Building, a Parkinson-designed former seven story brick office with basement, which had been reconfigured in decades past to a two-story structure with mezzanine, the top floor serving as heavy storage above more than a half-dozen first-floor merchants at the time of the fire.

With a large volume of thick-black smoke pumping from behind the modern facade of wooden shingles that covered the top floor windows of the historic structure, Firefighters made their way to the roof via aerial ladders to commence essential vertical ventilation.

Forcing entry from street level, teams of Firefighters fought their way with hoselines into the smoke charged structure to do battle with well entrenched flames deep within the unreinforced masonry structure. Their perseverant quest to gain access to a second floor inferno via the sole interior stairway proved unsuccessful, when they - along with firefighters on the roof, were formally ordered to a defensive posture 21 minutes into the fire.

The brisk transition to exterior attack came as elements of the structure began to fail, and Firefighters soon requested a boost in water pressure from the Department of Water and Power to battle heavy fire, making full use of the combination of 8" and 12" water mains serving the largely commercial district.

Eight ladder pipes and many heavy streams were ultimately brought to bear against flames that lit the pre-dawn sky.

As dawn approached, low-hanging smoke from the fire began activating smoke alarms in several nearby buildings, including those developed in recent years to loft-type housing.

With ground-level visibility waning, the California Highway Patrol was asked to close the 4th Street off-ramp of the Harbor Freeway, and City Department of Transportation and Caltrans officials soon commenced their respective roles of traffic control into and within the City's burgeoning Downtown core.

Though the bulk of flames were knocked down within ninety minutes, it took nearly four hours to fully extinguish the stubborn and smoldering fire, which destroyed the building.

The flames were confined to the structure of origin and there were no injuries.

Fire loss is estimated at $4,000,000 ($3,000,000 structure & $1,000,000 contents). While fire origin was declared to be in or near a bridal shop, the specific cause of the blaze remains undetermined.

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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

82 Year-Old Pilot Walks Away From Downed Aircraft

Saturday, February 03, 2007 |

On Saturday, February 3, 2007 at 3:10 PM, four Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one LAFD Rescue Ambulance, one Hazardous Materials Team, two Helicopters, one EMS Battalion Captain, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, US Coast Guard, Los Angeles County Fire and Lifeguards under the direction of Battalion Chief Darren Palacios responded to a Sinking Aircraft at the Cabrillo Beach Breakwater near the Port of Los Angeles.

The Operations Control Dispatch Center received notification of possible two aircraft down in the waters off the Donald Trump Golf Course. Upon further investigation LA County Lifeguards initially found one, World War II-style biplane used in acrobatic-type flying, with damage to one wing. The second aircraft, of unknown type, involved in the midair clash, landed safely at Torrance Airport. No injuries to the pilot reported.

The Pilot of the impaired aircraft, while attempting to land, was forced into the shallow waters off Cabrillo Beach. US Coast Guard personnel assisted in the removal of the 82-year old Pilot's seat belt and he was able to walk to safety.

The men and women of Los Angeles City Fire Rescue Ambulance assessed the extremely fortunate pilot for injury while ground units secured the aircraft. The pilot was transported with minor injuries to San Pedro Peninsula Hospital and released, virtually unscathed.

The incident will be investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.

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Submitted by Melissa Kelley, Spokesperson
Los Angeles Fire Department

Fire Captain Injured Battling Sun Valley Blaze

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On Saturday, February 3, 2007 at 5:22 AM, six Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one EMS Battalion Captain, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief John Nowell responded to a Structure Fire With Firefighter Injury at 11107 Arminta Street in Sun Valley.

Upon arrival, Firefighters discovered a two-story condominium over garage, the garage well involved with dense smoke and heavy fire.

The determined firefighters donned their Personal Protective Equipment and aggressively attacked the advancing flames. During considerably standard firefighting operations, a Captain from Engine 60 heard a loud explosion and was struck by a projectile object, believed to be an aerosol can.

The impact to the Captain's torso was enough to propel him out of the structure, knocking him to the ground. He was transported to Providence St. Joseph Hospital and upon further inquiry, was released in good condition.

It took the men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department just 22 minutes to terminate the flames. Seven Residents were displaced. Damage to the structure is estimated at $75,000 ($50,000 Structure & $25,000 Contents).

Arrangements will be made for their well being. The cause of the fire continues to be under investigation.

Submitted by Melissa Kelley, Spokesperson
Los Angeles Fire Department

Woman Dies Following Pico-Union Apartment Fire

Friday, February 02, 2007 |

On Friday, February 2, 2007 at 5:55 PM, seven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, three Arson Units, one EMS Battalion Captain and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 45 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Mark Saxelby responded to a Civilian Fatality Structure Fire at 1546 West 11th Place in the Pico-Union area of Los Angeles.

Firefighters arrived quickly to find smoke showing from one first floor occupancy in a sixteen-unit two-story center hallway apartment building.

Investigating reports of smoke and the activation of alarms within the 9,638 square-foot building prior to the Fire Department's arrival, the on-site manager unlocked and opened the door of the involved apartment, only to be met by large volumes of thick, black smoke.

The manager's instinctive action to fully close the apartment door before retreat prevented the fire's spread, and may have saved lives.

Gaining immediate entry to the unlocked apartment, Firefighters discovered an intense but localized fire in living room furnishings that had caused critical burns and other injuries to an eighty-four year old female.

Carrying the non-breathing woman promptly from the burning room, Firefighter/Paramedics began immediate care, which continued through her transport to California Hospital Medical Center in grave condition.

Despite the combined efforts of Los Angeles Fire Department and hospital personnel, the woman, who reportedly suffered from blindness, died shortly after hospital arrival.

There were no other injuries.

Firefighters skillfully limited the fire to furnishings within the one apartment, fully extinguishing the flames in less than 12 minutes.

Though the apartment was equipped with smoke alarm(s), their functional status and role in warning the woman could not be immediately determined. There were no window security bars or other obvious factors to impede the woman's escape from the blaze.

Physical fire loss within the ninety-four year-old building was limited to $10,000 ($5,000 structure and $5,000 contents).

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

The cause of this fire is categorized as electrical, and determined to be accidental in nature.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Crane Topples onto Busy Freeway, Trapping Operator

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On Friday, February 2, 2007 at 1:02 PM, nine Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, six LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Heavy Rescue Unit, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, one LAFD Helicopter, one EMS Battalion Captain, the LAFD Medical Director, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of total of 72 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Assistant Chief Curtis James responded to a Industrial Accident near the Northbound San Diego (405) Freeway south of the Ventura (101) Freeway in Sherman Oaks.

Toppled Crane. © Photo by Evan Williams.


Firefighters arrived quickly to discover a large contractor-owned rubber-tired 'rough terrain' crane that had overturned at a State-funded highway improvement project, trapping the crane operator and leading to the collision of at least two vehicles on the northbound lanes of the San Diego Freeway.

In a failed attempt to avoid the crane's extended boom that suddenly blocked most lanes of northbound travel, the driver of a conventional semi with tandem dump trailers maneuvered towards the center divider, causing his rear trailer to be impacted by a full-sized sport utility vehicle as his hood was crushed by the sturdy boom, dislodging his truck's massive drivetrain.

Damaged Big Rig. © Photo by Evan Williams.


The male driver of the sport utility vehicle inexplicably sprinted from the scene, leaving his 61 year-old female passenger alone and lightly trapped in the wreckage. She and the 34 year-old big-rig driver each sustained non-life threatening injuries, and were transported by LAFD Ambulance to local hospitals in good condition.

LAFD USAR Personnel. © Photo by Michael Corral.


While the aforementioned patients were being triaged and treated, Los Angeles Firefighters, including those specially trained and equipped for Urban Search and Rescue (USAR), came to the immediate aid of the 44 year-old crane operator, who was trapped by his legs in the highly confined space between the crane's mangled control cab and a large worksite generator crushed by the impact.

Crane On Top of Generator (after the rescue). © Photo by Evan Williams.
Crane On Top of Generator (after the rescue). © Photo by Evan Williams.
Lumber and Cribbing Stabilizes Crane. © Photo by Evan Williams.


Using dimensional lumber from the scene and wooden cribbing from LAFD USAR vehicles, Firefighters quickly stabilized the crane chassis as an LAFD Heavy Rescue unit was used to gingerly steady the extended boom, all in an effort to prevent the multi-ton vehicle from shifting the entirety of its weight onto the man's legs.

With the man's legs and life literally hanging in a delicate balance, LAFD Command Staff worked closely with California Highway Patrol and Caltrans officials to prevent northbound freeway travel and delay the removal of damaged vehicles pending his rescue.

Aware of the man's need for timely medical care, and that traffic was snarled for many miles in all directions, the Incident Commander summoned a Paramedic-staffed LAFD Air Ambulance to land on the barren northbound lanes of the freeway.

LAFD Air Ambulance prepares to land. © Photo by Michael Corral.
Confined Space of Crane Control Cab. © Photo by Evan Williams.


Working within a space of little more than 18", and often in an inverted position, LAFD Firefighter/Paramedics established and maintained continuous face-to-face contact with the trapped man. After performing as thorough a medical assessment as possible, they administered intravenous fluids and constant words of explanation and encouragement throughout his ordeal.

Patient access and rescue efforts were further aided by other Firefighters who focused on scene safety concerns, including flammable diesel fuel and hydraulic oil leaking from both the crane and generator.

LAFD USAR Personnel. © Photo by Michael Corral.


With both speed and finesse, heavy-lift air cushions and specialized rescue tools were strategically placed near the trapped operator while the LAFD Heavy Rescue unit slowly raised the crane off of the damaged generator. With the machinery separated, large chains earlier placed at the base of the platform-mounted generator were used to pull it slightly away from the crane cabin, providing access for rescuers.

Firefighters promptly used hydraulic rescue tools with great care to make relief cuts in the crumpled sheet metal, preventing further injury to the trapped worker. This swift and well-coordinated effort at deconstructing the crane, which included full removal of the steering wheel, allowed Firefighters to free the victim less than hour following the mishap.

The man, in serious but stable condition with apparent rib fractures and an avulsion injury to his left hand, also sustained a laceration to his foot but amazingly no fractures to his legs. Conscious, alert and expressing gratitude to his rescuers, he was placed aboard the waiting LAFD helicopter for his less than three minute flight to the UCLA Medical Center in Westwood.

LAFD Firefighters attend to vitim. © Photo by Michael Corral.
LAFD Air Ambulance enroute to UCLA Trauma Center. © Photo by Michael Corral.


Though the crane was reportedly being "operated" at the time it overturned, Firefighters did not determine the specific movement or mobility associated with that operation.

Questions regarding the presence, need or injured man's use of safety equipment and approved worksite procedures remain within the purview of Cal-OSHA, which is investigating the incident as a workplace injury.

The California Highway Patrol and Caltrans coordinated the subsequent removal of the crane and debris from lanes of travel, which had the highway fully open before nightfall.

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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Electrical Fire Displaces Seven in Boyle Heights

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On Friday, February 2, 2007 at 6:30 AM, ten Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, five LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Hazardous Materials Team, one Emergency Air Unit, two EMS Battalion Captains, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 83 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Assistant Chief Roderick Garcia responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 653 South Chicago Street in south Boyle Heights.

Moving Swiftly to Center Stage. © Photo by Rick McClure.

Firefighters arrived quickly to find heavy smoke showing from the second floor of a two-story residential duplex. The first floor occupants awakened at a routine hour to find a light haze in their residence from a deeply entrenched fire above them, and immediately alerted Los Angeles Firefighters via 9-1-1 before escaping unscathed.

It is important to note while smoke alarms were physically present in their home, the devices proved to be non-functional, likely due to a lack of their monthly testing and annual maintenance strongly suggested by Firefighters and safety experts. Had the fire occurred but minutes earlier while the family slept, they might not have survived the blaze.

Firefighters, using hand-held thermal imaging cameras were able to finely focus their efforts on the stubborn flames, which had run the walls of the 85 year-old wood-frame and stucco building.

Our Job is Working with Tools. © Photo by Rick McClure.

With the assistance of strategic vertical ventilation to support the firefight and prevent fire spread, the flames were confined within the structure and completely extinguished in just 58 minutes.

There were no injuries.

A total of seven persons living in the two units were ultimately displaced by the fire, yet declined Fire Department offers of placement assistance.

Comprehensive and creative salvage efforts by Firefighters during fire attack limited fire loss to $100,000 ($75,000 structure and $25,000 contents), and guarded many family treasures.

The cause of this early morning blaze is categorized as electrical in nature.

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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department