Veteran Firefighter Injured Tackling Studio City Blaze

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 |

On Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 4:32 PM, 12 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 3 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Arson Unit, 2 Urban Search and Rescue Units, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 2 EMS Battalion Captains, 3 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 89 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Chris Kawai responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire with Firefighter Injury at 11336 Dona Lisa Drive in Studio City.

Los Angeles Firefighters arrived quickly to find heavy smoke and fire showing from the second floor of a 2 story hillside home.

Teams of firefighters extended ground ladders to the roof of the 2,151 square-foot residence as their colleagues extended hoselines within the structure - not occupied at the time of the fire; to do battle with fierce flames.

Working swiftly and efficiently, rooftop firefighters performed essential vertical ventilation, allowing crews beneath them to advance on the flames, as the deeply entrenched fire consumed joists between the first and second floors on its way to the adjacent and attached garage.



As scores of LAFD personnel turned back the flames, one Los Angeles Firefighter sustained a one-story fall, when the ground ladder he was descending suddenly gave way. Landing squarely on the driveway below, the 23-year LAFD veteran sustained musculoskeletal injury to his legs. In fair condition, he was taken by ambulance to an area hospital, where he was treated and released that evening to remain off-duty.

The fire was confined to the structure of origin and extinguished in just 31 minutes. No other injuries were reported.

Fire loss to the 46 year old, non-fire sprinklered home was estimated at $200,000 ($150,000 structure & $50,000 contents). The cause of this late afternoon blaze was determined to be electrical in nature.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

'Big Apple' Magic at L.A. Live to Benefit California Fire Service

Sunday, November 28, 2010 |

Join members of the Los Angeles Fire Department and their families during December, when 'Big Apple' magic makes a rare trip west to benefit a special fire service charity...

Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes
Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 7:00PM
Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 12 Noon
Nokia Theatre at L.A. LIVE
777 Chick Hearn Court
Los Angeles, CA 90015


By experiencing America's Favorite Holiday Show with our LAFD Family during these two special showings, you'll be creating memories while supporting the Fire Family Foundation, a 501(c)3 charity assisting needy firefighters and their families, victims of fire-related incidents and fire departments within California.

Of course, this holiday spectacle for all ages takes place at L.A. LIVE, the new entertainment district featuring sports and music venues, night clubs, restaurants, a bowling alley, museum and movie theaters - so plan on making it an afternoon or evening your family will never forget!

Still not sure? Watch this video and then you'll know... 

Tickets for these special shows are only $75.00 each. Purchase your seats today by calling Dee Kuchler at (888) 5-FFF-Give or by e-mail at: dkuchler@firefamilyfoundation.org


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Help Firefighters Prevent 'Backovers' In America's Driveways

|

Vehicle backover injuries and deaths occur when someone, without a driver's knowledge, is positioned behind a vehicle as the driver is backing out of a driveway or other parking spot.

Most victims of backovers are children and the elderly. To add to the tragedy of backover injuries and deaths, the driver is often a relative, neighbor - or even the parent of the victim.

Since most of these heartbreaking incidents occur in private driveways rather than on the road, they are not typically included in traffic-crash fatality data. Therefore, experts often don't agree on the exact number of persons injured or killed in backover incidents each year.

Even one person dying in a backover incident is one too many! Awareness of the problem is the first step toward reducing the risk.



All Vehicles Have Blind Spots

In the case of a backover incident, the blind spot is the place behind your vehicle that you cannot see in the rear or side view mirror or even by craning your neck out the driver's side window. Generally speaking, the larger the vehicle, the larger the blind spot. Blind spots for shorter drivers tend to be significantly larger as well. In addition, the elevation of the driver's seat, the shape of a vehicle's windows and mirrors, and the slope of a driveway can affect the size of the blind spot behind your vehicle.

Technologies and Backover

At this time, no technology on the market is considered by experts to be foolproof in preventing backover incidents. Even if an accurate preventive technology is developed, it's important to remember that no technology alone can protect your children. Keeping pedestrians safe from a backover tragedy requires education, supervision and vigilance. Los Angeles Firefighters recommend the following tips to help drivers reduce the risk.

Safety Tips for Motorists:
  • At home and away, seek to park your vehicle where the need to drive in reverse is minimized.
  • Check your vehicle reverse lamps and brake lights periodically by having a responsible adult observer stand safely toward the rear but alongside (not directly behind!) your vehicle.
  • Whenever backing is required, use a responsible adult observer in the identical location to safely guide you.
  • Ensure children and pets are properly supervised at all times, especially where motor vehicles might be present.
  • Teach children never to play in, under or around vehicles.
  • Always assume children or diminutive adults could be present and carefully check the street and driveway as you approach your vehicle. The LAFD always recommends a complete 'circle check' before you get behind the wheel.
  • Avoid making your driveway a playground. If you do allow children in this area, make sure that it's only when there are no vehicles present. To further protect children who may be playing outside, separate the driveway from the roadway with some type of physical barrier to prevent any cars from entering.
  • To prevent curious children from putting a vehicle in gear, never leave the motor running or keys within the vehicle. Keep every vehicle, even those in your driveway and garage, locked up tight.
  • When backing up, always know where all children are and have them stay together in your full view and well away from your planned path of travel. Don't even think of backing until your radio or entertainment system is turned completely off, and your wireless phone is put away.
  • Look behind you as you back out S-L-O-W-L-Y with your windows rolled down to listen for those who may have dashed behind your vehicle suddenly - and be prepared to stop!
  • If you're driving an SUV, truck or van, remember that the blind spot behind your vehicle can be especially large: Use extreme care whenever you back up.
Finally, talk with your neighbors about backover incidents and ask them to teach their children not to play in or around any vehicle or driveway. By working together, we can help prevent these tragic incidents.

To learn more, please visit:

www.kidsandcars.org



Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Terrorism Forces Us To Be Ready and Responsible

Saturday, November 27, 2010 |

Terrorism forces us to make a choice. We can be afraid... or we can be ready. To prepare your home, family and workplace for an emergency, please visit ready.gov

Emergency and Disaster Preparedness...

If you see an actual emergency or pending act of terrorism, call 9-1-1.

Those witnessing suspicious activity in Los Angeles should report their observation by calling the Los Angeles Police Department Terrorism Tip Hotline at 1-877-A-THREAT (1-877-284-7328) or visiting iWatchLA.org

For more information about iWatchLA, please view this short video or speak with a Police Officer in your community.


In other parts of the United States, suspicious activity should be reported to local law enforcement or the nearest field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Massive Fire Destroys Building In South L.A.

Thursday, November 25, 2010 |

On Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 5:41 PM, 18 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 12 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 2 Arson Units, 2 Urban Search and Rescue Units, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 3 EMS Battalion Captains, 5 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, 1 Emergency Air, 1 Emergency Lighting, 1 Rehab Air Tender, 1 Bulldozer Team, and 1 Volunteer Service Utility under the direction of Assistant Chief Daryl Arbuthnott responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at 158 East 58th Street in South Los Angeles.


Firefighters arrived on scene in less than four minutes to find a large 1-story commercial building well involved in fire. Additional assistance was quickly requested as firefighters aggressively made their way inside the inferno, arming themselves with large 2 1/2" hose lines. The 4,880 square-foot building ventilated itself as 20' high flames roared through the roof. Within ten minutes the Incident Commander ordered all firefighters to get out of the 53 year-old structure and fight defensively due to the integrity of the building being compromised. Shortly thereafter the roof collapsed. Additional life threatening hazards endangered firefighters as transformers from power lines exploded, electrical wires sagged toward the ground, and the loading dock filled with water.

Just under 150 firefighters surrounded the building, pouring copious amounts of water into it while protecting nearby businesses. The devastating blaze was confined predominately within the business of origin. One adult male firefighter suffered possible heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was admitted for observation, but remained in good condition. Two civilians expressed minor medical complaints and were evaluated, however did not require transport to a hospital. The cause of the fire is under active investigation and the dollar loss of this furniture manufacturing business is still being tabulated.

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD 'Toy Safety' Widget Arrives For the Holidays

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 |

To help identify toys and children's products that have been recalled, the Los Angeles Fire Department and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are again teaming up this holiday season to provide a 'Toy & Children's Product Recall' widget that is easy to share with friends and family.



This free 'widget' displays the most recent child product and toy recalls from CPSC - and is easily added to your personal website or blog.

Will You Help Us?

During the holiday season, we're asking webmasters and bloggers across our nation to include this widget on their sites. You can share this real-time display on Facebook, MySpace (or other on-line site) by simply clicking on the 'Get Widget' button above - or visiting:

http://bit.ly/toy-safety-widget

Go Ahead, Give It a Try!

...and then learn more about our friends at CPSC, by visiting and bookmarking:

www.cpsc.gov



Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

California Firefighters Decry Use of Illegal and Dangerous Alarm Feature

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 |

In an attempt to 'take a bite out of crime', some business owners in California have recently turned to an illegal and highly dangerous method of stymieing burglaries and robberies.

Referred to as "Security Fog Intruder Protection Systems", these seemingly benign installations are seeing an upswing in The Golden State, where they have long been prohibited by law.

NOTE: This video was placed on-line by an overseas firm.
Such systems may be allowed or unregulated outside California.

Designed to fill an entire room - or even warehouse within seconds, with a thick floor-to-ceiling zero-visibility cloud that lingers (some vendors say for 25 minutes or more), the concerns of firefighters remain on safe egress and false alarms, the latter of which occurred this week in Los Angeles.

Responding with lights and sirens through crowded city streets, Los Angeles Fire Department crews discovered "heavy smoke" emanating from a commercial building. After forcibly entering the business and cutting holes in the roof to allow the massive smoke and anticipated heat to escape, the veteran team of firefighters discovered the source of their false alarm to be a security fog intruder protection system clearly prohibited by local municipal regulations and California Fire Code Section 316.4:

316.4 Security Devices. Any security device or system that emits any medium that could obscure a means of egress in any building, structure or premise shall be prohibited.

We encourage business and homeowners to employ only reputable and licensed alarm firms that know and obey the many lifesaving regulations of Fire and Life Safety Codes. Before any contract is signed, be certain to obtain an affirmation that any and all features of your business or home alarm system are compliant with local, regional, State and Provincial law.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Firefighters: Thanksgiving Fires Are Preventable

|

As our nation comes together to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, the Los Angeles Fire Department joins the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its United States Fire Administration (USFA) in reminding residents to cook and celebrate safely and Put a Freeze on Fires.

According to data from USFA, an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings occur annually in the United States, resulting in an estimated average of five deaths, 25 injuries and $21 million in property loss each year.

Click to learn more about safety while cooking...

The leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings is cooking, and these fires occur most frequently from Noon to 4:00PM.

"What causes frustration among firefighters nationwide, is that smoke alarms were not present in 20 percent of Thanksgiving Day fires that occurred in occupied residential buildings" says Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey, calling the lack of functional smoke alarms "a thoroughly avoidable recipe for disaster".

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said "Disasters can happen any time, anywhere, but some emergencies at home can be avoided by taking a few simple steps for safety", adding "Don't forget this holiday season, while gathered around the table with family and friends, is a great time to talk about your family emergency plan, and what you would do in the case of a disaster."

"Thanksgiving marks the start of a very busy time for all firefighters," said Acting Fire Administrator Glenn Gaines, adding "holiday decorations, heating and increased indoor cooking all present just some of the causes of residential fires. Your place of residence should be the safest place of all. Protect it with working smoke alarms and know what to do if a fire should occur."

Of particular concern to firefighters and safety experts this holiday season is the increased popularity of deep-fried turkey - a meal that can cause backyard chefs to sacrifice safety in the interest of taste.

To assist cooks in their decision to fry turkey safely, the Los Angeles Fire Department has posted information on-line at:

http://bit.ly/fried-turkey


LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey summed it up by saying "No matter where or how you celebrate this most American of holidays, firefighters encourage you to always cook with care".


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Helicopter Crew Rescues Man From L.A. River

Sunday, November 21, 2010 |

On Sunday, November 21, 2010 at 7:51 AM, 11 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 1 LAFD Rescue Ambulance, 2 Helicopters, 1 Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Assistant Chief Mark Stormes responded to a River Rescue in the LA River x 1st Street bridge near Boyle Heights.




If you wish to view 'full screen' or obtain a copy
click here for higher definition video at Vimeo.


Due to recent heavy rain, local flood control channels remain swelled with storm-water, causing the Los Angeles Fire Department to remain in a "River Rescue" preparedness status. Over 60 firefighters were rapidly and strategically placed near the LA River bank, on bridges, overpasses and in the air, all searching for an adult male wearing dark colored clothing that was swept away. In approximately 20 minutes the fast moving water carried the victim from the 1st Street bridge south until he was rescued near Bandini Boulevard and Washington Boulevard. A firefighter was skillfully lowered out of a LAFD helicopter into the rough water, where he grabbed hold of the 54 year-old and both were hoisted up. Once safe inside the helicopter the patient received medical aid and was transported to County USC hospital in stable condition. A special thanks is extended to our friends at the Los Angeles Police Department and Vernon Fire Department for their expert assistance.

The LAFD reminds citizens that when rainstorms impact the Los Angeles area, flood control channels, rivers, and arroyos can quickly fill with fast-moving water, creating a potentially life-threatening danger to anyone who gets caught or swept away. Please keep all animals under supervision and remember it is against the law to be inside a flood control channel in Los Angeles, regardless of the weather.

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Ruben Terrazas Named Eagle Rock Paramedic of the Year

Friday, November 19, 2010 |

For those of us who have worked alongside him, it is seen as an honor long overdue...


LAFD Firefighter/Paramedic Ruben Terrazas
Eagle Rock Paramedic of the Year

Aaron Proctor
Eagle Rock Patch

At Eagle Rock's Fire Station 42, next to [Eagle Rock] City Hall , Ruben Terrazas is known as the jovial guy who's never short of a smile or a joke. But to his LAFD colleagues, Terrazas is the paramedic who has spent the past 31 years responding to medical emergencies at the oddest hours, particularly after midnight. Nicknamed "pee-wee" by his... (read more...)

Thank you Ruben, for more than three decades of selfless service to the people of Los Angeles. It is my honor and that of many others to call you both a mentor and a friend.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Firefighters Use Specialized Tool to Save Man's Life

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 |

On the evening of November 15th, 2010 Fire Engine 77 responded to a 9-1-1 call for a person trapped under a vehicle at the 8000 block of Norris Avenue in Sun Valley. Firefighters arrived on-scene and found a flatbed tow truck with a SUV that appeared to have fallen half way off. A victim's feet were sticking out from underneath the vehicle, the rest of his body was pinned, rendering him unable to breath.

Firefighters quick thinking and the use of a specialized tool led to a rapid rescue. A battery powered Holmatro Rescue Tool was carefully placed under the frame of the vehicle on the drivers side and lifted the SUV enough for firefighters to remove the pinned victim. All this, along with using cribbing to stabilize the vehicle was completed within just two minutes. Firefighters on scene stated, "We feel the victim would not have survived if we did not have this tool". The LAFD has hydraulic powered Holmatro tools placed strategically through out the city, predominately on Truck Companies. However thanks to the generosity of La Tuna Canyon Community Association, Karen Bristing, Deken Jones & Neighborhood Councils this $9,823.00 tool was purchased just 9 months earlier for Engine 77. The donation of this unique tool led to a rapid extrication which along with medical aid rendered from Firefighter/Paramedics greatly improved the patients condition. He reportedly even asked to make a phone call to his boss while in the back of an ambulance on the way to Holy Cross Hospital. We are happy to state the patient was admitted for observation and is labeled in serious but stable condition. The Los Angeles Fire Department stresses the importance of using extreme caution if you ever have to go under a vehicle.

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Fire in Furniture Manufacturers Building In South L.A.

Monday, November 15, 2010 |

On Monday, November 15, 2010 at 6:09 PM, 13 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 3 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Arson Unit, 2 EMS Battalion Captains, 2 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Kevin Pearson responded to a Structure Fire at 6310 Avalon Boulevard in South Los Angeles.

 

Firefighters arrived within four minutes to discover fire showing from the roof of a one story, 100’ x 300’ commercial building. Firefighters used rotary saws to force entry through rolling steel doors, allowing their colleagues to extended hand-lines inside. Vertical ventilation was performed on the conventional construction sawtooth roof to remove smoke and heat. The seat of the fire was difficult to locate due to decreased visibility and an abundance of wood-furniture, paint and additional contents. The bulk of the flames appeared to be in a spray-booth and quickly traveled to the roof. This 71 year-old building was equipped with fire sprinklers which assisted holding the flames in check and aided 80 firefighters to extinguish the fire in just 27 minutes. A division wall prevented the flames from spreading horizontally to adjacent units. Fire loss to the A & S Furniture Manufacturers was limited to $125,000 ($100,000 contents and $25,000 structure). One firefighter sustained a minor injury and was transported to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in good condition. No civilians were injured. The cause of this fire is undetermined.

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

The 1955 La Tuna Canyon Fire: None More Wicked

Friday, November 12, 2010 |

1955 La Tuna Canyon Fire. Click to learn more...In the annals of the Los Angeles Fire Department, there is no fire so uniformly referred to as "wicked" as the 1955 La Tuna Canyon blaze - actually a series of widswept fires spanning five days in the Verdugo Mountains of the northeast San Fernando Valley.

"As nearly as it can be determined, the La Tuna Canyon holocaust had a very innocent and unspectacular birth. Two eight year old boys, in their own back yard in the 9600 block of La Tuna Canyon, and, without any malicious plans for the future, were preparing a noonday feast. A strong easterly wind..."
In the days that followed, one Los Angeles Fireman would die, and at least a hundred more would be injured as the firestorm consumed 4500 acres, 2 homes, a pair of guest houses, several out-buildings, automobiles and trailers.

Map of 1955 La Tuna Canyon Fire. Click to enlarge...
In chronicling action during the most intense firefight, LAFD officials noted...
"As the main body of the fire swept over the position, all water was directed to protect the men and the equipment from the effects of the intense heat. Men without hose lines laid in the mud and were kept wet from nearby rigs. Some men stacked up on the ground like hot cakes with the top man keeping the pile wet with a hose line."

Los Angeles Autofireman James Catlow. Click to learn more...
"It was during this momentary eternity that Autofireman James Catlow brought everlasting credit to himself as well as everyone in the fire service. Hose Wagon 39 was in a narrow spot in the road, as the fire hit there too fast to actually get set. He was able to get two lines into action, and by working one, he performed superhumanly in an effort to protect his equipment for future use, and to keep the road open for men who were ahead of him. His injuries were not accidentally incurred, as he could have retreated merely 10 yards to relative safety. His act of heroism required unbelievable determination and demonstrates to all to see and realize that a devoted fireman will do his full duty regardless of personal cost."
Assistant Fire Chief Leonard Eggleston would later describe Catlow's stand as "the most outstanding example sheer courage" he had ever seen.

Suffering burns over more than 75% of his body, James Catlow fought bravely to survive, succumbing to his painful injuries six days later on November 12, 1955.

A veteran of World War II submarine service, and an active supporter of charitable causes, Catlow drew end-of-life solace in knowing that the Widows, Orphans and Disabled Firemen's Fund would take take full and proper care of his wife Frances.

James Catlow was posthumously awarded the LAFD Medal of Valor.

To learn more about historical emergency incidents in the City of Los Angeles, including the La Tuna Canyon Fire of 1955, we encourage you to visit the LAFD Museum in Hollywood, or view the on-line LAFD Historical Archive at:

www.lafire.com


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Offers Quick Tips on Wind Safety

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 |

Beware of Gusty North to Northeast winds in the greater Los Angeles area. Wind advisories may even be extended through the weekend. The LAFD encourages the following tips:
 
  • Use extreme caution while driving.
  • Report nearby smoke and flames immediately to 9-1-1.
  • If you encounter downed wires, assume they are energized.
  • Treat all non-functioning traffic signals as a four way stop.
  • Minimize the use of candles, lighters, fire pits and barbeques.
  • Secure household items, such as outdoor furniture.
  • Be watchful of toppling trees and wind-blown debris.
Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

8 Students Transported To Hospital After Eating Chocolate

Thursday, November 04, 2010 |

On Thursday, November 4th, 2010 at 8:40 AM, 3 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 5 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 3 EMS Battalion Captains, 1 Battalion Chief, under the direction of Battalion Chief D. Spence responded to a Multi Patient Medical Incident at 4410 South Mckinley Avenue in South Los Angeles.

Firefighters quickly responded to George Washington Carver Middle School for a possible overdose, where they found eight students that became ill after eating an unknown type of chocolate. Three boys and five girls, ranging from 12-14 years-old were in the Nurses Office complaining predominately of increased heart rate and blood pressure. Firefighter Paramedics along with the school nurse evaluated the students and determined they should be further analyzed by a doctor. Four ambulances transported two patients each to L.A. County USC Medical Center. We are glad to report that they were in good condition. Exactly what was ingested and if it had an illegal substance in it is was not determined on scene. Further information will come from school officials.


Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Massive Fire Consumes Chatsworth Printing Firm

Wednesday, November 03, 2010 |

On Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 5:59 PM, 32 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 8 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 3 Arson Units, 1 Urban Search and Rescue Unit, 1 Rehab Unit, 1 Emergency Air Unit, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 2 EMS Battalion Captains and 6 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, a total of 205 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Assistant Chief Daren Palacios, responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at 9260 Owensmouth Avenue in Chatsworth.

© Photo by Juan Guerra. Click to see more...Firefighters arrived quickly to find smoke showing from a one-story 165' x 100' commercial building that appeared to be closed for the business day.

Forcing their way through rolling steel and entry doors, firefighters discovered extreme fire conditions throughout a graphics design and direct mail marketing firm heavily loaded with combustible printing and printed materials.

The offensive interior attack on the fire proved short lived as flames roared through the roof, compromising the structure within ten minutes of the 9-1-1 call that brought scores of Los Angeles Firefighters to the scene.

 

Within minutes of a swift and well-coordinated transition to defensive operations, the intense heat within the structure caused the catastrophic failure of a forklift mounted propane cylinder, propelling shrapnel through a section of rolling steel door that had yet to be opened.

As flames leapt more than 50 feet into the darkening sky, multiple large diameter hoselines were deployed from strategically placed aerial ladders and key ground locations, as teams of firefighters entered nearby businesses to limit the horizontal spread of fire.

© Photo by Juan Guerra. Click to see more...
Though full roof failure occurred during an early phase of the firefight, the masonry walls remained intact as firefighters streamed massive volumes of water into the burning structure well into the night.

The fire was confined within the business of origin, and fully extinguished in less than five hours. No injuries were reported.

With concern that changing weather was causing potentially irritating smoke from the fire to linger uncharacteristically at ground level, experts from the South Coast Air Quality Management District were summoned to assure neighborhood comfort and safety.


Fire loss to the firm of "Aaron, Thomas & Associates" is estimated at $7,000,000 ($5,000,000 contents and $2,000,000 structure). The cause of this fire remains under active investigation.

(photos) (photos)


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Nine Days of Hell in November: The Old Topanga Wildfire of 1993

Tuesday, November 02, 2010 |

When it comes to vegetation fires in The Golden State, few months keep responders as busy as November - and few locations offer as much challenge and heartache as the often volatile and rugged Santa Monica Mountains that originate in and bisect the City of Los Angeles before commencing a 46 mile westward journey through the Counties of Los Angeles and Ventura.

It is both the suburban proximity and diversity of this scenic coastal range that makes it a national treasure and a vengeful adversary to firefighters.

© Photo by Martin Nate Rawner. All Rights Reserved. Click to learn more...

It was seventeen years ago today, on November 2, 1993 that a small blaze in the Santa Monica Mountains fanned by 40 mile-per-hour winds, would become a nine-day conflagration that killed three civilians, overran or entrapped 74 firefighters and led to 565 firefighter injuries.

Known as the "Old Topanga Incident" this massive and relentless brush fire continues to serve as a global example of Fire Service teamwork and commitment. The official report from our friends at the County of Los Angeles Fire Department remains a worthy read:



Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Fire in Windsor Square Home Sends Two to Hospital

Monday, November 01, 2010 |

On Monday, November 1, 2010 at 6:44 AM, 7 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 4 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Arson Unit and 1 EMS Battalion Captain, a total of 47 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Joseph Klein, responded to a Structure Fire with Civilian Injury at 553 South Windsor Boulevard in the Windsor Square area of Los Angeles.

Firefighters arrived quickly to find smoke showing from a large 3 story single family home. Immediately entering the 11,205 square-foot residence, firefighters discovered and assisted a 74 year-old woman in exiting the smoke charged building.

As crews searched within the massive home, additional firefighters circling the nearly half-acre lot soon discovered three men - including one wheelchair bound, in distress on a second floor balcony. Raising a 35' ground ladder and climbing to the stranded men's location, a pair of firefighters rapidly determined the trio could be safely sheltered in place as LAFD crews tackled flames and strategically abated the smoke.

Within minutes, firefighters were able to safely utilize an interior stairway to evacuate the men, bringing them to waiting Paramedics. The two younger males, ages 38 and 40 declined medical treatment or transportation.

The 65 year-old man who had been utilizing the wheelchair, as well as the woman earlier assisted by firefighters, were taken to area hospitals in fair condition for examination of smoke exposure.

 

The stubborn flames were confined within the deep recesses of the walls and ceiling of the first floor kitchen, and extinguished in just 38 minutes.

No other injuries were reported.

The relationship between the four persons assisted by Los Angeles Firefighters could not be immediately ascertained. Pursuant of protocol, the LAFD did not formally determine or publicly release their identities.

Loss from the fire is estimated at $200,000 ($150,000 structure & $50,000 contents). The early morning blaze originated in the kitchen area, and is considered to have been accidental in nature.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department