The early morning hours of December 4, 1984 were cool, quiet and peaceful for Los Angeles Airport Police Officers Joe Ransfer and Robert Lopez, on routine patrol of LAX and environs.
That was until about 4:50AM, when they were stunned to see flames piercing the roof of the one-story Proud Bird Restaurant not far from the airport's south runways.
As the Officers keyed their radio to request the first of 23 fire companies and eight rescue ambulances that would respond to the blaze, little could they imagine the commitment, bravery and unspeakable loss about to envelop the Los Angeles Fire Department in the coming minutes before dawn.
Before that December sun would rise, one Los Angeles Firefighter would succumb, a colleague would earn a Medal of Valor, four firefighters would be injured and an entire city would join a Fire Department in mourning.
Firefighter Benjamin Pinel never came home to his wife and 6 month old daughter that morning.
The sun has risen more than 9,000 times since - yet never have we forgotten this chapter in our history caused by the scourge of arson. We encourage you to learn more about that morning, 25 years ago today...
Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department