On Friday, January 16, 2009 at 1:03 AM, 9 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 4 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 5 Arson Units, 2 EMS Battalion Captains, 1 Battalion Chief Officer Command Team and 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 64 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Ralph Ramirez, responded to a Civilian Fatality Structure Fire at 3856 South Redondo Boulevard in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles.
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Firefighters arrived quickly to discover a critically burned woman outside, with reports that two of her family members remained trapped within the well-secured one-story single family home well involved with fire.
Teams of Los Angles Firefighters made swift forcible entry with hand and power tools, and then extended handlines to do battle with the well entrenched fire, as their colleagues scaled the roof of the 1,369 square-foot wood frame home to perform vertical ventilation.
While aggressively attacking the flames and seeking to rescue those in peril, firefighters discovered the lifeless bodies of an adult male and an adult female within the residence. Beyond medical help, they were declared deceased at the scene.
The burned woman, believed to be the spouse and mother of the deceased, sustained 2nd and 3rd degree burns to more than 60% of her body. In critical condition, she was treated by LAFD Paramedics, who transported her to Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center.
Two small pet canines were found uninjured by firefighters within the home, and were later placed in the care of the Department of Animal Services.
Firefighters determined smoke alarms were present in the home, but their functional status at the time of the blaze and their role in alerting occupants, could not be immediately determined.
Though the 62 year-old building was fitted with legally compliant security bars and door screens, the presence of non-compliant double-cylinder deadbolt locks on all but one door, may have been a factor impairing egress.
The structure was not equipped with residential fire sprinklers.
Monetary loss from the fire is estimated at $200,000 ($150,000 structure & $50,000 contents).
A positive identification of the deceased, as well as the exact cause, time and manner of their deaths will be determined by the Coroner's Office.
The cause of this early morning blaze remains the focus of a joint active investigation by Los Angeles Police and Fire Department officials.
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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department