On Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 3:13 AM, 5 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 2 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 2 Arson Units, 1 EMS Battalion Captain, 1 Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Jerome Boyd responded to a Civilian Fatality Structure Fire at 4038 South Ursula Avenue in the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw area.
Firefighters arrived quickly to discover heavy smoke showing from a two-story garden type apartment building. While beginning to extend hoselines into one of the two bedroom units, firefighters were immediately met by a woman who apparently made it out of the residence with one of her five children. While continuing a systematic search through the smoke charged structure, a quick, bold and decisive interior attack on the fire was initiated.
Two additional children were rescued by firefighters and all were unharmed by smoke or flame. Sadly and despite the prompt work of all resources, two male teenage twins were discovered without vital signs of life in a rear room. Both boys were declared deceased at the scene. It took the diligent effort 36 firefighters 21 minutes to knock down the flames. All other residents in the home were unharmed. Although melted smoke alarms were present, it is unclear as whether or not they were a factor in warning the residents.
Seeking to comfort the grieving Mother, the LAFD quickly mobilized a Crisis Response Team to provide compassionate assistance to all friends and neighbors, and those closest to the victims. The American Red Cross was called in to aid the displaced and distraught family. This incident is a reminder to all families of the importance of E.D.I.T.H (Exit Drills In The Home), a well planned exit strategy in case of a fire. Although a Monetary loss exists, one can not truly be calculated where there is loss of life. A positive identification of both deceased, as well as the cause, manner and time of their deaths will be determined by the LA County Coroner's officials. The cause of the fire remains under an active investigation.
Submitted by Devin Gales, Spokesman Los Angeles Fire Department