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Fire Ravages A Commercial Building In South L.A.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 |

On Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:48 PM, 12 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 4 LAFD Rescue Ambulances,1 Arson Unit,1 Urban Search and Rescue Unit,1 Hazardous Materials Team, 2 EMS Battalion Captains, 3 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams,1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, 2 L.A.County Fire Companies,1 L.A.County Battalion Command Team under the direction of Battalion Chief D. Spence responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 1837 Slauson Ave. in South Los Angeles.

Firefighters arrived to find a 40'x125' commercial medal clad building with heavy smoke and fire showing. Entry teams forced their way in using power tools but were delayed due to an arcing power line at the front of the structure. As personnel addressed the forcible entry problems at the door, roof teams mounted an attack from above with a degree of difficulty ventilating the roof.

As the fire began to spread, crews thought a defensive attack might be necessary. A partial roof collapse ensued. However due to the aggressive efforts of all firefighters on scene and a well coordinated attack, the flames were kept in check using handlines.

Although the building, doing business as a manufacturing company was considered a total loss, no civilians or firefighters were injured during the battle.

It took a total of 87 firefighters just 26 minutes to fully extinguish the flames. Monitory loss from the fire is estimated at $140,000 ( $90,000 structure & $50,000 content). The cause of the fire is attributed to electrical work being done, when a spark lit nearby flammable materials.

Submitted by Devin Gales, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

12 People Evacuated After Haz- Mat Spill

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:34 PM, 8 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 4 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 3 Hazardous Materials Teams, 3 EMS Battalion Captains, 2 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Rudy Hill responded to a HAZ-MAT at 6515 S. Mckinley Ave in South Los Angeles.

The first company arrived quickly and subsequently encountered several small containers that had spilled, during a maintenance operation outside of a structure. Workers were apparently attempting to place an unknown substance from a smaller container into a larger one.

Further investigation revealed the unknown substance to be some sort of acid base product. Firefighters quickly went into action, evacuating approximately 12 individuals who were offered comfort and reassurance while being calmly sheltered in a safe location during the incident. LAFD hazardous materials experts were called in to identify the substance while all personnel stayed at a safe distance.

One fork lift operator was exposed to the substance and was medically evaluated by Firefighter/Paramedics and released at the scene. A total of 69 firefighters were on hand for this incident.

It was later determined that the substance was illegal and the LAPD Haz-Mat was called in for further investigation.The cause of the incident remains under investigation and the estimated damages is still being assessed.

Submitted by Devin Gales, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Presence of Smoke Alarms Questioned in Fatal West Adams Blaze

Monday, March 22, 2010 |

On Monday, March 22, 2010 at 12:17 AM, 7 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 3 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 4 Arson Units, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 1 EMS Battalion Captain, 2 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 56 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Ralph Ramirez, responded to a Civilian Fatality Structure Fire at 2610 South Ridgeley Drive in the West Adams area of Los Angeles.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover smoke from the top floor of a 50' x 25' second-story single family residence above a parking area secured in an improvised manner with multiple sheets of plywood.


During initial fire attack, firefighters discovered the lifeless body of a 77 year-old male in a small ground floor annex to the rear of the home. Without vital signs of life and beyond medical help, he was declared deceased at the scene.

A swift and well coordinated assault by firefighters confined the blaze to the second floor and attic on the north side of the home. The fire was extinguished in just 32 minutes, and no other injuries were reported.

The presence of smoke alarm(s), their functional status and role at the time of the fire could not be immediately determined.

There were no obvious non-fire factors impeding the victim's egress. The home's security doors - including one near where the man was found, were equipped with legally compliant single cylinder deadbolt locks that required no key, tool or special skill to exit.

The home was not equipped with residential fire sprinklers.

A positive identification of the deceased man, as well as the precise cause, time and manner of his death will be determined by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.

Monetary loss from the fire is estimated at $200,000 ($150,000 structure & $50,000 contents).

The cause of this midnight blaze remains under active investigation by Los Angeles Police and Fire Department Investigators.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

81 Years Ago: Part Acrobat, Twice a Fireman: Harry Tree's Last Alarm

Sunday, March 21, 2010 |

The morning newspaper of March 22, 1929 read...

FIREMAN KILLED UNDER WHEELS
TRUCK CRUSHES HOSEMAN TREE; COMRADE HURT

But a headline tells only part of the story.

Los Angeles Fireman Harry Tree
at the Monroe Centennial Exhibition
in Exposition Park in 1923.
Things were indeed different in Los Angeles during 1929, just six years since Cotton was retired in a Department-wide shift to ancestors of nine mechanical horses that came to power seventy-one Engine Companies and twenty Truck Companies across the burgeoning metropolis, including those at Fire Station 29, which served as home to LAFD's Truck Company 4.

It was at 11:46 PM on March 21, 1929 while returning from an alarm, that Los Angeles Fireman Harry L. Tree - standing on the sideboard of Truck 4 as was common at the time, was killed and a colleague seriously injured, when ladders on the truck gave way, hurling both men to the pavement.

It seemed unlikely that Tree could die in such a manner, as the well-respected 27 year-old fireman was not only an exhibition jumper and ladder-climber - but held the world's record for safety-net jumping. It was equally unlikely that then Chief Engineer Ralph J. Scott could memorialize a man not only part acrobat, but twice a Los Angeles Fireman... (read more...)

To learn more about our Brother Harry and others who have made the ultimate sacrifice in their service to the City, we encourage you to visit the Los Angeles Fire Department Museum and Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Hollywood.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

61 Years Ago: Basement Fire Takes the Life of Fireman John Herbert

Saturday, March 20, 2010 |

A host of uniformed firemen stood in silent respect near a bronze casket covered with an American Flag. They were there, with other friends, to bid a final goodbye to a colleague, while affirming their eternal support for his young wife and orphaned children.

As the last words of prayer dropped from the Minister's lips and as rifles were raised toward the Heavens in a final salute, a brisk breeze whipped up the Colors into a military snap and stirred the flowers, as the minds of many drifted back just three days prior...

At ten o'clock in the morning of Sunday, March 20th, 1949 the spacious new fire station at 800 North Main Street was unusually quiet. Churchgoers passing by the new facility - opened less than 90 days prior, looked in on an apparatus floor, deserted except for the waiting fire apparatus and the lone LAFD member on floor watch.

LAFD Station 4 circa 1949

A close observation however, could have detected a hum of activity behind one of the nearby doors. Clearly and concisely, one member of a group which formed an attentive semi-circle was reading aloud from a Department manual: "Article 3, Section 43...A rope life line shall be secured around members before permitting them to descent into shafts, deep pits, etc. The following line signals will be used: one jerk signifies All is Well, two jerks...Advance, three...Take up, four...Help."

As the reader continued on, the collective thoughts of each fireman listening was varied. To some this was material for coming civil service exams, to others it was a routine drill. Some of the newer men pictured emergency situations wherein such knowledge would be vital...older men remembered times when it was. The voice rolled on.

Not a one however, with all their varied thoughts, could have pictured what was to occur within two short hours...

John H. Herbert
Los Angeles Fireman John H. Herbert, 'Herbie' to his friends, was born in Great Britain...Swansea, Wales, to be exact. Five years as a paratrooper for Uncle Sam gave him plenty of opportunities to get his sights on the enemy that threatened his birthplace. He enlisted in Los Angeles as a member of the Reserves before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

In a short time, Herbert found himself in the middle of the fracas in Europe sporting an Army Officer's insignia and terrific pride in the fighting group which he commanded, a part of the famed 101st Airborne Division. Dropped out of the sky on "D" Day near Normandie - deep behind German lines, Herbert led the dogged advance of his group for five days against the enemy.

On the sixth day the Germans had his outfit pinned down on two flanks. Staying under cover was of prime importance. But Herbert spotted one of his men who had become unknowingly exposed to enemy gunfire. He left his own protection to crawl out and pull the man to safety when an enemy mortar shell hit near his position. Killing two of his men, the explosion sent him reeling back with a shattered jaw and a body torn by shrapnel.

In a bleeding and dazed condition he started a miraculous trek...a walk to a first aid station which took him across a railroad trestle in full view of enemy snipers and along a route infested with entrenched Germans.

Yet amazingly, he wasn't shot.

Much to his loved ones relief, Herbert returned after five years of military service with a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and his own slice of a Presidential Unit Citation...not to mention a body full of shrapnel - and an effervescent will to become a Los Angeles Fireman.

Which brings us to that Sunday on North Main Street...

At 11:10 AM, the new tapper at Fire Station 4 began sounding its alarm, feeding out inches of alarm tape. As the crews dropped their work and ran for the rigs, they counted the bells 1...2...3...6! The Captain jerked the tape from its tapper and held it under the corresponding number on the running card.

Third and San Pedro. "Truck only".

As the second and third rounds of bells came in, the Engine Company Captain pushed the control buttons and sent the modern marvel of automatic doors sliding open and soon with siren and air horn blasting, the big aerial truck swung out onto Main and then Aliso enroute San Pedro at 3rd.

It was there that Fireman John Herbert came to face dark, dense and ugly smoke that boiled up... (read more...)

To learn more about our Brother John and others who have made the ultimate sacrifice in their service to the City, we encourage you to visit the Los Angeles Fire Department Museuem and Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Hollywood.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Greater Alarm Fire at Auto Recycling Yard

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 |

On Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 1:37 PM, 12 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 2 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 1 EMS Battalion Captain, 2 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, 2 Foam Tenders, and 2 Bull dozers under the direction of Assistant Chief Ralph Terrazas responded to a fire at 11201 West Pendleton Street in Sun Valley.

The first arriving engine saw a large, black plume of smoke and immediately requested additional firefighters to be dispatched. Firefighters entered a Pick Your Part auto recycling center and made their way through the large 193,642 square-foot lot. They found a 75’ by 50’ debris pile of trash, wood, tires and used auto parts, stacked 20’ high, which was contained on three sides by a metal fence.

Firefighters quickly deployed hand-lines and made an aggressive attack on the blaze. The fire hydrant was a considerable distance from the source of fire therefore a water shuttle operation was started. This allows the firefighters at the end of the hose to continue to spray water and foam without interruption, while multiple fire engines fill up with water from the hydrant and shuttle it back.

Due to the quick action of 77 firefighters and because of the fortunate metal wall around the debris, the blaze did not spread. The fire was extinguished in one hour and 53 minutes. No structures were damaged and no injuries were reported.

The fire was started when a skip-loader tractor, used to move rubbish into the 75’ by 50’ containment area, created a spark which ignited the trash. The dollar loss was zero.

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Fire Chars Furniture Factory in South Boyle Heights

Monday, March 15, 2010 |

On Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 11:40 PM, 13 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 3 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Urban Search and Rescue Unit, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 2 EMS Battalion Captains, 4 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 91 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief James Gaffney, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 3525 East Emery Street in South Boyle Heights.

Firefighters arrived quickly to find fire showing through the roof vents and skylights of a 150' x 150' one-story commercial building.

Forcing entry into the secured structure with hand and power tools, firefighters made an aggressive and well-coordinated assault on the fire, extending handlines to the core of the furniture manufacturing firm, as their colleagues performed strategic vertical ventilation of the arched truss roof above.

Timely and effective teamwork by dozens of firefighters prevented flames from extending horizontally beyond the core of the building, sparing the bulk of the business from severe fire damage.

The flames were extinguished in just 26 minutes, and no injuries were reported.

Fire loss to Yesenia's Upholstery is estimated at $800,000 ($300,000 structure and $500,000 contents).

The cause of the blaze was determined to be electrical in nature.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Blaze Engulfs South Los Angeles Warehouse

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 |

On Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 6:13 PM, 24 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 6 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Arson Unit, 1 Urban Search and Rescue Unit, 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 LA County Fire Department and Vernon Fire Department, under the direction of Battalion Chief Armando Hogan responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at 1753 East Slauson Avenue in South Los Angeles.


Firefighters arrived quickly to discover heavy smoke and fire showing from a 100' x 200' commercial building. Fire crews mounted a swift and offensive attack, as a light breeze fanned the fire which appeared to have originated just inside the occupancy. Wooden pallets exposed to the flames quickly caught fire outside the structure, which included an exposure to an adjacent building. A fierce attack commenced as the blaze grew in intensity. A subsequent roof collapse ensued as the fire engulfed the warehouse's lightweight roof.

Battalion Three Incident Commander Armando Hogan called for additional companies as well as for all operations to go to a defensive mode of attack on this incident. Master streams were strategically placed to bring the volume of water necessary to attack the free-burning fire. Because of the wind and the concern for flying embers, personnel surrounded the stubborn flames with additional handlines.

It took 153 firefighters just under one hour, before confining the wind-swept fire entirely within the occupancy of origin for a complete knockdown. One firefighter sustained a second degree burn to the neck from flying embers. He and was later transported to Sherman Oaks Burn Center in stable condition and is expected to recover. No civilians were injured during the fight. The damage and cause of the blaze is still being tabulated and investigated.


Submitted by Devin Gales, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department