On Friday, September 25, 2009 at 5:04 AM, 29 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 9 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 2 Urban Search and Rescue Units, 1 Rehab Unit, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 4 EMS Battalion Captains, 9 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, and 3 Foam Tenders under the direction of Assistant Chief Robert Franco responded to a Refinery Fire at 2101 East Pacific Coast Highway in the Wilmington area.
Light Force and Rescue Ambulance 38 arrived to find a large black column of smoke rising straight in the air from the Tesoro Refinery. This refinery produces 97,000 barrels of crude oil a day and is located only 23 miles from downtown Los Angeles.
As additional firefighters arrived, heavy hose streams were initiated. Task Force Commanders used ladder pipe operations which are capable of delivering 1000 GPM depending on the type of the tip used. Portable monitors, which are heavy stream appliances used in a similar manner as wagon batteries and ladder pipes were also put into operation to supply a significant amount of water on the fire quickly.
Lynn Westfall, SVP of External Affairs and Chief Economist of Tesoro stated, “The fire broke out in the coking unit at Tesoro's Wilmington refinery. The cause is under investigation and the amount of damage to the affected unit is unknown at this time. The plant is still operational but at a reduced capacity".
Two Hundred One Los Angeles firefighters along with 35 Tesoro Fire Brigade firefighters were able to obtain a knockdown in three hours and 39 minutes at 8:43 am.
No injuries were reported, although citizens in a one mile radius were briefly encouraged to remain indoors.
Submitted by Erik Scott
Los Angeles Fire Department