Family Rescued from East L.A. Freeway Inferno

Saturday, January 12, 2008 |

Thumbnail image courtesy of Callie Miller at Click to view more...On Saturday, January 12, 2008 at 10:06 AM, 10 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 2 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Arson Unit, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 1 LAFD Foam Tender, 1 EMS Battalion Captain, 2 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 66 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel, as well as 1 Company of Los Angeles County Firefighters and 1 Company of Vernon Firefighters, all under the direction of LAFD Battalion Chief John Biggs, responded to a Traffic Collision with Fire on the Southbound Golden State (5) Fwy south of 4th Street in Boyle Heights.

A family had been traveling in a two vehicle caravan through the East Los Angeles interchange, when another vehicle reportedly collided with a big rig, forcing it to take evasive action or lose control and partially crushing a sedan beneath its cargo trailer.

It is believed that a 'saddle tank' of diesel fuel for the tractor-trailer combination may have been pierced, damaged or dislodged in the primary or secondary collision, spilling a sizeable but unknown quantity of the combustible fuel on the highway.

Witnessing the sedan became trapped beneath the cargo trailer in their rear view mirror, relatives abruptly stopped their vehicle and ran to the aid of the three trapped family members as fire erupted. According to bystanders, a male relative guided the adult female driver and 9 year-old girl in exiting the crumpled wreckage, before rescuing an adult male from the rear of the car by breaking a window.

Firefighters arrived soon thereafter to find the mangled sedan and 53' foot cargo trailer full of used tires ablaze, and immediately attacked the well-entrenched flames, as California Highway Patrol Officers closed all lanes of travel.

Drawing strongly from LAFD operational planning and interagency drills, Firefighters were able to promptly supplement the limited water supply on the freeway by using an aerial ladder truck to hoist a pair of hydrant supply lines from the street level below the interchange.

Armed quickly with the high volume of water and foam necessary to battle the stubborn fire, Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames in just 32 minutes.

The tools, teamwork and technology of an LAFD Hazardous Materials Squad were put to use early by the Incident Commander to predict the path of water runoff and preclude or limit impact to adjacent properties.

The three occupants of the sedan were taken to White Memorial Hospital for further evaluation of minor complaints. No other injuries were reported.

Firefighters remained on scene to assist the California Highway Patrol, Caltrans and Los Angeles County Fire Department Health Hazardous Materials Division in their challenging investigation and resolution of the incident, for which one or more lanes of travel remained closed until 8:00 PM, effecting multiple southland freeways.

(video) (photos)

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department


Ashley said...

The pictures that the Ms. Callie Miller captured are amazing. She was at the right place at the right time.

Thanks Brian for sharing the link to the pictures. I didn't know about this LA online news magazine.

Anonymous said...

Excellent Work!

What is the name of that nozzle shooting water from the aerial ladder?

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