On Friday, January 21, 2011 at 6:39 AM, 5 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 2 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 EMS Battalion Captain and 1 Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 32 Los Angeles Firefighters under the direction of Battalion Chief Joseph Klein, responded to a Structure Fire at 1324 Sutherland Street in Echo Park.
Los Angeles Firefighters arrived quickly to find heavy fire showing from a 1,412 square-foot hillside single family home.
Navigating through a slim curbside gate and trio of narrow outside staircases to gain access, firefighters muscled hoselines and later ground ladders to battle intense flames that had taken hold of the front portion of a 106-year-old wood frame structure.
As the aggressive fire attack ensued, firefighters were pleased to learn that the home's five occupants had exited the building with minimal injury, prior to the Fire Department's arrival.
One of the residents however, had foolishly reentered the building in an attempt to reclaim possessions, sustaining smoke inhalation as well as first-degree burns to his neck and arms. In good condition following treatment by LAFD Paramedics, the man declined ambulance transport before being released at the scene.
Despite the diligent efforts of 32 Los Angeles Firefighters, one pet cat perished in the blaze. The well-coordinated assault on the flames held direct fire damage to a large front patio, adjacent bedroom, attic and dormer, with firefighters bringing flames under full control in just 17 minutes.
No other injuries were reported.
The three men and two women who lived separately within the home escaped only with their night clothes. They were assisted with temporary housing and human needs by volunteers from the American Red Cross.
There was no immediate evidence of functional smoke alarms within the home, as required by law. Firefighters later determined that the home's occupants owed their survival solely to the happenstance that one resident was awakened by the sound of fire, and was able to alert others.
Loss to the non-fire sprinklered home is estimated at $95,000 ($75,000 structure & $20,000 contents). The cause of this early morning blaze is categorized as accidental, and attributed to the careless discarding of smoking materials on the patio that ignited combustible furnishings.
Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department