Greater Alarm Fire in Echo Park

Thursday, September 10, 2009 |

On Thursday, September 10, 2009 a 2:26 AM, 11 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 4 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Arson Unit, 2 Urban Search and Rescue Units, 1 Rehab Unit, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 2 EMS Battalion Captains, 3 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, along with LAPD and DOT under the direction of Battalion Chief Raymundo Gomez responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 1411 North Echo Park Avenue in the community of Echo Park.

Firefighters arrived to find a 1 story, L-shaped Mini Mall, approximately 100 foot x 75 foot, with 2 units showing heavy smoke and fire. Engine Companies on scene made an aggressive interior attack with hand lines while Truck Companies provided ladders to the roof and started vertical ventilation. The roof construction was made of lightweight wooden I beam. Truck companies were able to stand over a breeze-way that presented a stable surface to remain on while cutting a heat hole over the fire.

Due to the aggressive attack of all firefighters on scene, the damage was primarily confined to one unit and no injuries were reported. It took 88 firefighters only 35 minutes to knockdown on the blaze. The dollar loss is $350,000 ($200,000 for property and $150,000 for contents). The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Submitted by Firefighter Erik Scott
Los Angeles Fire Department


Anonymous said...


I was wondering if I could possibly get more info from the Truck Companies that were operating on the roof of the lightweight wooden I beams as I'm a Truck Captain for Sacramento FD and am interested for obvious reasons.
Proximity of heat hole to seat of fire, size of hole cut, was there any of the joists that failed and how many or any signs of failure/sagging, are just a few of my questions.
Thanks for your help.

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Captain Helvin,
I apologize for the amount of time it took to respond to your email. I receive an abundance of email on a daily basis but try to return questions from concerned citizens and particularly fellow firemen in a timely fashion.
This incident you are referring to was an unusual yet successful operation. As you probably aware, the LAFD historically is aggressive in performing vertical ventilation but not without keeping safety in mind, and considering "Risk vs Gain". I, like you were inquisitive of a Truck Company performing a Heat Hole Operation on light weight roof, so I called the Battalion Command Staff Assistant on this incident while he was on the roof. The SA stated "The Truck Company was able to stand on baring wall over a breeze way that provided enough support so they could cut a heat hole over the fire". This baring wall provided the support necessary for the Truck Company to perform an Offensive cut, that of a Heat Hole on a light weight roof. The LAFD typically performs Defensive ventilation techniques while on light weight roofs (exp: Wooden I Beam, Open Web, Metal Gusset Plate, Panelized etc). The LAFD employs the practice of “trading space for time” so that they may complete their roof-cutting operation prior to the fire impinging on a given ventilation hole and ensuring a timely and safe exit. Due to the continual training of the LAFD this operation had a successful outcome.
For further information regarding LAFD's ventilation techniques please click the link below.
LAFD Truck 20 was first on scene to the incident in whish you are inquiring. Specific questions such as, "Proximity of heat hole to seat of fire, size of hole cut, was there any of the joists that failed and how many or any signs of failure/sagging" could be answered by the "A" Shift A/O (Apparatus Operator) Moodey at Fire Station 10, he was working at F.S. 20 that day. A/O Moodey can be reached at 213 485-6210.
I look forward to hearing from you Captain Helvin if I can be of further assistance in the future.

Erik Scott
Firefighter & Spokesman
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department
200 N. Main St, Rm OCD-EPI
Los Angeles, CA 90012

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