LAFD Commemorated the Life of Firefighter Allen

Friday, February 25, 2011 |

This morning the Los Angeles Fire Department honored and commemorated the life of our fallen Firefighter/Paramedic Glenn L. Allen. We would like to thank the various Fire Departments, Dignitaries, and other Public Safety Agencies throughout the Nation that attended and participated in the Memorial Procession and Service.
Firefighter Glenn L Allen's Funeral
During and after todays funeral, many asked why and where certain traditions that are presented at the funeral originated from. Here are the top eight...

Black Bands over Badges: Black arm bands have been worn as a symbol of mourning for centuries. The black band over our badge is a visible symbol of such mourning when a Firefighter has died in the line of duty.

Lowering of the Flag: The American Flag is often lowered to half-staff locally to honor the fallen Firefighter until his or her interment.

Crossed Truck Aerial Ladders: Among the most visual tributes that our Fire Department can offer, the crossed aerial ladders form a passage symbolic of crossed sabers, that allow us to proudly and prominently display the American flag, as a final farewell with honor.

Procession: The Procession of apparatus and walking Firefighters from agencies near and far demonstrate the deep bond between all Firefighters and expresses their united support for the fallen hero and the family left behind.

Bagpipes: This tradition dates back over 150 years, when the Scottish and Irish immigrated to the U.S., when bagpipes were commonly played at weddings and funerals. In the early 1800s the primary jobs Irish immigrants obtained were the most dangerous one, such as Firefighters and Police Officers. After witnessing many funerals for Irish Firefighters, most families began requesting bagpipes to be played at non-Irish Firefighter funerals.

American Flag-Draped Coffin: This custom is observed as a Firefighter proudly protects our homeland. The stars-and-stripes are ceremoniously removed from the coffin by an Honor Guard and folded with ritual during memorial services, to be subsequently presented by the Fire Chief to the family of the fallen.

Ten Bells: Bells are an integral part of a Firefighter's life, occurring in the morning, evening, and to sound an alarm at the Fire Station. At the Los Angeles Fire Department, Ten Bells signify a Firefighter 's honorable return to his/her final place of rest.

Missing Man Formation: This tradition of aircraft flying over began in 1918 when British pilots attended the funeral of the Red Baron. LAFD flies three helicopters toward the funeral site, and as they reach their destination, one helicopter peels away from the other two, representing the fallen Firefighter.

Glenn was said to be a "man's man and a firefighter's firefighter... who approached life with a true servant's heart, always seeing to it that others' needs were met before his own".

Firefighter Allen paid the ultimate sacrifice. May he rest in peace.

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Early Morning Fire Claims One Life

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 |

On Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 3:03 AM, 5 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 4 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Arson Unit, 1 EMS Battalion Captain, 1 Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Charles Butler responded to a Fire Fatality at 4315 North Bluebell Avenue in Studio City.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover heavy smoke showing from a 1200 square-foot one-story single family home. Reports came in from neighbors, of an individual who may have still been trapped inside. Fire crews forced their way through the front of the residence and were quickly met with flames just inside the entry way. They mounted a bold and decisive attack on the fire, while continuing a systematic search of the smoke charged residence, but were initially unsuccessful in locating anyone.

Near the final phase of extinguishment, firefighters discovered the remains of a burned body, possibly an adult female in the living room area of the home. Unfortunately the individual was beyond any medical help and was declared deceased at the scene.
Firefighters were able to confine the flames to just the living room portion of the structure, and extinguished the early morning blaze in just 17 minutes. This home reportedly had no smoke alarms present, with no obvious deterrents for a possible escape.

A positive identification of the deceased, as well as the cause, manner and time of death will be determined by Coroner's officials. The cause of the fire remains under active investigation.


Submitted by Devin Gales, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Memorial for Firefighter/Paramedic Glenn L. Allen

Monday, February 21, 2011 |

Please join us in honoring and commemorating the life of our fallen Firefighter/Paramedic Glenn L. Allen. The Departmental arrangements for the Memorial Service are as follows:

Candlelight Vigil: Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Community/Department Candlelight Vigil for Firefighter/Paramedic Allen will take place from 1830 hours to 2000 hours at Fire Station 78, located at: 4041 Whitsett Avenue.  Gates will open at 1730 hours. 

News Media will be asked to park within the Fire Station back-yard lot against the wall.

Uniform/Attire for Candlelight Vigil:
On-Duty Personnel: Work uniform
Off-Duty Personnel: Business Casual

Memorial Service  Friday, February 25, 2011

The walking Procession (Public Safety and Dignitaries only) will begin at 0830 hours.

The Procession will start from the South Lawn of City Hall (1st Street & Main Street) and end at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (A distance of five city blocks).  Check-in for personnel will begin at 0600 hours at the intersection of 1st Street & Main Street (please arrive as early as possible prior to start time).

Memorial Church Service:

The Memorial Church service will begin at 0930 hours at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, located at: 555 West Temple Street.  At the conclusion of the walking procession, members will be seated within the Cathedral.  The service will last approximately two hours. 

Media Details:

To assist the media, LAFD Public Information Officers will be on hand at the Cathedral and along procession route. Media parking at the cathedral will be available along the south side of Temple Street between Hill Street and Grand. Satellite trucks only, no personal cars.

Street Closures:

Hard Street closures will start at 6:00 a.m.
Temple Street between Grand Ave and Los Angeles
Main Street between Temple and 2nd Street
Hill Street between 1st and Ord Street
Hill Street between 1st and Temple Street (soft closure to provide local access)

Soft (ITC) Street closures will start at 6:00 a.m.
1st Street between Los Angeles Street and Grand Avenue
Grand Avenue between 1st Street and Hollywood Freeway on-ramp
Grand Avenue between 1st Street and 3rd Street
West Cesar E. Chavez Avenue between 1st Street and 3rd Street

Fire & Other Emergency Response Agencies:

Memorial Reception:

The Memorial Reception will begin at approximately at the Frank Hotchkin Memorial Training Center.  All Department members and guests are encouraged to attend this Memorial Reception.  Food and refreshments will be provided.

Graveside Service: Private, family and invitation only.

Uniforms: Department members shall wear dress uniform for all of the memorial services (summer dress shall not be worn).  Off-duty members are encouraged to wear the dress uniform as well.

Please be advised: Sadly individuals are attempting to solicit donations in the name of Fallen Firefighter/Paramedic Glenn L. Allen. If anyone tries to contact you via phone, email, or front door attempting to collect money on behalf of the Los Angeles Fire Department and or Fallen Firefighter Glenn Allen, Call 911. 

There have been recent reports of people going door to door carrying cans, asking for money, taking advantage of this tragedy.

Our deepest condolences go out to the Allen family!

Submitted by Devin Gales & Erik Scott, Spokesmen
Los Angeles Fire Department

Announcement of the Passing of LAFD Firefighter Glenn L. Allen

Friday, February 18, 2011 |

LAFD Firefighter Glenn L. AllenIt is with great sadness that the men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department inform you of the in Line of Duty Death of Los Angeles Firefighter Glenn Allen.

On Wednesday February 16, 2011, at 11:19 PM ten Fire Companies, one Heavy Rescue, one USAR Unit, seven Rescue Ambulances, seven Battalion Command Teams, one Division Command Team, three EMS Battalion Captains, and one Arson Unit responded to a reported structure Fire at 1546 North Viewsite Drive in the Hollywood Hills area of Los Angeles.

While Firefighters were performing their sworn duties, a partial ceiling collapse occurred, causing injury to four Los Angeles Firefighters and two Los Angeles County Firefighters. One of the injured Los Angeles Firefighters later succumbed to his injuries at 1215 hrs on Friday, February 18, 2011 at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

As dictated by Fire Department policy, a formal and detailed investigation is underway to determine the exact nature of the cause of injuries sustained, as well as the precise cause and manner of the Firefighters death.

The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department thank you for your kind words and sentiment at this time of overwhelming sorrow and immense loss.

The Allen Family and the Los Angeles Fire Department has received a tremendous outpouring of support during this difficult time. Your Firefighters wish to thank you and express our deepest appreciation for all the kind words and gestures that have been provided.

Glenn L. Allen was a Firefighter/Paramedic for over 36 years and last served at Fire Station 97. He is the 61st Los Angeles Firefighter to have died while directly involved in emergency operations during the Department's 125-year history. The Mayor of Los Angeles has ordered all City flags lowered to half-staff in Firefighter Allen's honor.

If additional information is required, please contact the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Community Liaison Office at (213) 978-3810.

Press Conference:
Captain Jaime Moore
Office: (213) 978-3824
Cell: (213) 359-9415

Captain Tina Haro
Office (213) 978-3823
Cell: (213) 359-9743

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Four Firefighters Trapped In Hollywood Hillside Blaze

Thursday, February 17, 2011 |

On Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 11:19 PM, 10 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 7 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Heavy Rescue, 1 Arson Unit, 3 EMS Battalion Captains, 7 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Assistant Chief Ralph Terrazas responded to a Fire With Firefighter Injury at 1546 N. Viewsite Dr. in Hollywood HILLS.

Firefighters arrived to find light smoke and fire, which appeared to be on the outside of a multi level hillside single family dwelling. As firefighters were investigating, attempting to find the origin, it was determined that the fire was within the walls and possibly extending into the attic. After an intense search, the flames began to engulf a portion of the structure. Several minutes into the fire fight an Emergency Traffic Alert was issued warning all fire personnel on scene of a partial structural collapse. A second alert "Firefighter Down" was immediately transmitted for three firefighters who were reported trapped or missing after the collapse. Fire crews began to conduct a rescue operation looking for their injured comrades.

Two of the firefighters were immediately rescued; a third who remained trapped under heavy amounts of debris needed an extended physical rescue, with power tools and chain saws before being treated and transported from the scene to an area hospital.

All of the injured individuals were removed from the building by fellow Firefighters and transported to Cedar Sinai Medical Center. Sadly the trapped firefighter suffered severe injuries and is listed in grave condition. A second firefighter suffered a fractured ankle requiring surgery and continued stay for observation. Four other Firefighters suffered minor injuries, two from LAFD, and two others from LACoFD, were treated and released from the Hospital. All four are expected to fully recover.

It took the Los Angeles Fire Department 1 hour 40 minutes for a complete knockdown of the flames. All residents safely made it out of the building, and there were no other injuries reported during this incident.
The estimated damage is reportedly $250,000 ($200,000 Structure & $50,000 Contents). The cause of the fire and the circumstances of the injuries are currently under investigation.

Submitted by Devin Gales,Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Man Dies After Being Pinned Underneath Vehicle

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 |

On Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 7:15 AM, 2 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 1 LAFD Rescue Ambulance, under the direction of Captain I I S. Franco responded to a Auto vs. Pedestrian at 5017 E Novgorod St. in El Sereno.

Firefighters arrived to discover a 46 year old male who had apparently been lying in the alleyway against a residential garage door. A 50 year old female driver, attempting to drive out of the garage, was unaware of the man’s presences and unfortunately drove over the individual. The woman who was very distraught thought it was some type of normal deterrent enabling the car to move and went into a reverse direction, pinning the man. She immediately called for help from bystanders, who then contacted 9-1-1.

Despite the prompt work of LAFD Firefighter/Paramedics, the man was beyond any medical help and was declared deceased at the scene.

The Los Angeles Police Department will be investigating the circumstances surrounding the entire incident. The time and official manner of his death will be determined by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.

Although this is a tragic accident, this type of incident is a reminder to us all of the need to take special precautions as to the area around any vehicle just prior to operation.

Submitted by Devin Gales, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Releases Official 'Green Sheet' Report of Fire Captain Injured in Elysian Park Vehicle Explosion

Saturday, February 12, 2011 |

On Sunday, January 9, 2011, a veteran Los Angeles Fire Department Captain sustained serious injuries when an explosion occured within a burning sedan in the 500 block of Solano Avenue near the Arroyo Seco Parkway in Elysian Park.

The injured Fire Captain was transported to the closest trauma center, where he was admitted for a fractured skull with cerebral bleed, non-life threatening internal injuries and a small partial thickness burn to his right hand.

We are pleased to report that the injured Captain was released from the hospital on January 14, 2011. He is projected to remain off-duty for approximately two months.

On January 12, 2011, the Los Angeles Fire Department disseminated the official LAFD Blue Sheet, a preliminary summary report for this incident, as well as unretouched photos from the scene.

At the conclusion of a detailed investigation, we are now pleased to share the official LAFD Green Sheet, a formal summary report issued by our agency for serious injuries, illnesses, accidents or near-miss incidents involving active duty personnel.

This report is intended as a safety and training tool, to aid in preventing future occurrences and to inform interested parties.

NOTE: Because LAFD Blue and Green Sheets are developed in a short time frame, the information they contain is subject to revision as further investigation ensues and additional information is developed. We therefore strongly suggest linking to this blog post or embedding the source document below to assure you are always reading the most current version.

LAFD Green Sheet 2011-01-09 Incident 1140

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Man & Horse Fatally Injured by Train

Friday, February 11, 2011 |

On Friday, February 11, 2011 at 3:01 PM, 3 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 3 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, personnel from Department of Transportation and Animal Services, all under the direction of Battalion Chief Duca responded to a Train vs. Pedestrian at 9370 North San Fernando Road in Sun Valley.
Man & Horse Fatally Injured by Train
Firefighters arrived to find a 36 year-old male and horse, fatally struck by a Metrolink railcar. Witnesses state that the adult male was riding a horse on the train-tracks over a small bridge, just west of Sheldon Avenue, shortly before they were struck. Sadly and with certainty, firefighters determined that both were beyond medical help.

Metrolink AV Line, Train 216 came to a halt and additional firefighters rapidly assessed all passengers for injuries. Fortunately no one on-board was hurt. Metrolink then utilized buses to take passengers from Sun Valley to Burbank where they were able to board another train to their destination.

San Fernando Road between Truesdale Street and Branford Street was temporarily shut down.

Surrounding circumstances and events leading up the the incident are not fully known. A positive identification of deceased male, as well as the time, cause and exact manner of their death will be determined by the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner.

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Firefighters Battle Residential Blaze near Pacific Palisades

Thursday, February 10, 2011 |

On Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 6:43 AM, 10 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 3 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 2 Arson Units, 1 Rehab Unit, 2 Helicopters, 1 EMS Battalion Captain, 2 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 71 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel, as well as units from the Santa Monica Fire Department, all under the direction of Los Angeles Fire Department Battalion Chief Curt Klafta, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 766 North Kingman Avenue in the City of Santa Monica.

© Photo by John Conkle. Click to view more...
Summoned by a cell phone caller to an address in the City of Los Angeles community of Pacific Palisades, LAFD crews were quickly joined in Automatic Aid by responders from the Santa Monica Fire Department in battling flames that had taken hold of a combination basement and crawl space below a three-story hillside home, spreading upward in walls to ignite eaves and an accumulation of dead leaves on the roof.

Los Angeles Firefighters swiftly identified two occupants with minor medical complaints who had exited the home prior to their arrival. The first person declined their treatment and the second quickly departed the scene prior to medical assessment.

It took Los Angeles and Santa Monica firefighters 77 minutes to fully extinguish the stubborn blaze, and no other injuries were reported.

Following the knockdown of flames, an impromptu site survey by fire and law enforcement officials determined the burnt home to be wholly within the city limits of Santa Monica.

As such, the fire investigation, including loss and cause determination, as well as all public and media inquiries related to the fire will be handled the Santa Monica Fire Department and Santa Monica Police Department.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Trench Collapse Claims Life of Construction Worker in Studio City

Tuesday, February 08, 2011 |

On Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 2:51 PM, 8 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 5 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Heavy Rescue, 1 Urban Search and Rescue Unit, 1 Rehab Unit, 1 EMS Battalion Captain, 2 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 65 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Assistant Chief David Yamahata, responded to a Trench Collapse with Civilian Fatality at 3931 Oeste Avenue in Studio City.

Firefighters arrived quickly to find an unconscious and non-breathing adult male worker buried to his neck deep within an excavation for a sewer line at a hillside residential construction site.

According to witnesses, the 33 year-old man - a ten year employee of a private construction firm, was last seen working in or near the 8 foot deep by 2 foot wide trench when the worksite foreman departed for an errand.

The collapse was not witnessed by other construction personnel working remotely on the property, and only noted by the foreman upon his return to the site after an unspecified period of time.

© Photo by Michael Corral. Click to view more...
With an LAFD Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Team and LAFD Heavy Rescue Unit proactively assigned to the initial response, Firefighter/Dispatchers also summoned a trio of large vacuum trucks from the City's Department of Public Works, Bureau of Sanitation to assist with efficient soil removal, of what commenced wholeheartedly as a rescue operation.

With safety, speed and well-practiced efficiency, LAFD trench rescue equipment and personnel were relayed to the site, as both medical oxygen and breathing air lines were swiftly made ready. As the soil was promptly shored to protect both the patient and responders, USAR certified LAFD Paramedics were soon face-to-face with the trapped worker, to sadly determine with great certainty that he was beyond medical help.

© Photo by Shawn Kaye. Click to view more...
Declaring the man deceased at 3:10 PM, rescuers - still together as a team, began the dolorous transition to recovery of the man's remains. With the enhanced shoring of trench walls and key safety procedures in place, firefighters commenced a precise rotation of personnel for the labor-intensive effort of exhuming the man's body.

More than three hours after they were first summoned, Los Angeles Fire Department responders removed the man from the trench in a dignified and respectful manner, placing his remains in custody of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner.

No other injuries were reported.

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

Representatives from the City of Los Angeles Department of Building & Safety joined Cal/OSHA Investigators at the scene.

Questions regarding the presence, need or deceased man's use of safety equipment and approved worksite procedures remains within the purview of Cal/OSHA, which is investigating the workplace fatality.

(photos) (photos)

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

35 Years Ago Today: Firemen Engulfed in Flames after DC-6 Crashes near Van Nuys Airport


Three civilians died and ten Los Angeles firemen were injured on the drizzling Sunday morning of February 8, 1976, when engine trouble forced the pilot of a Mercer Enterprises DC-6 charter aircraft to attempt an emergency landing at Van Nuys Airport.

Losing power, the four engine aircraft - with only a flight crew aboard, pancaked onto the Woodley Golf Course near the airport. The aircraft skipped a quarter-of-a-mile across the fairways, smashed through a starter's shack and stopped near Victory Boulevard and Havenhurst Avenue.

First-arriving Los Angeles firefighters thought they heard voices in the smashed cockpit. As a firefighter prepared to use a rotary saw to cut into the cockpit, other firefighters laid a foam blanket and stood by with foam and water supply lines.

The saw, striking a stainless steel fitting ...

We encourage you to learn more about this incident, and view dramatic photos of this and other significant LAFD events by visiting the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Archive at:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Congratulates Newly Appointed LACoFD Fire Chief Daryl Osby


For 87 years of our 125 year history, the men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) have proudly worked alongside members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD).

On a daily basis for nearly nine decades, members of our similar sounding but separate agencies have brought strength to one another in facing the fiercest elements of man and nature.

Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby
It is therefore with great pride that LAFD Chief Millage Peaks and members of our agency congratulate LACoFD Chief Deputy Daryl Osby, chosen today by unanimous vote of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, to lead the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

A 27 year veteran of the LACoFD, Chief Osby achieves command of his 4,400-person agency following the retirement of Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman, a great friend of the LAFD who served as LACoFD's commander for 21 years.

Congratulations Chief Osby!

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Mourns Passing of Legendary Broadcast Journalist Jack Popejoy

Sunday, February 06, 2011 |

The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department are deeply saddened to report the death of Jack Popejoy, a legendary newsman and longtime friend of the LAFD.

Jack Popejoy (1947-2011). Click to learn more...
Popejoy, age 63, was a morning news anchor at KNX-AM1070 NewsRadio at the time of his passing. He died from complications of cancer at his Sherman Oaks home on Sunday.

For millions in Los Angeles and beyond, Jack was for decades the endearing and deeply trusted news professional who informed us in times of joy and duress. With an unparalleled skill for sharing word of disaster, in-progress events, science issues and other hard news, he was rightfully called "the go-to guy when the world starts shaking".

Heard and seen frequently on CBS, BBC, CNN, ABC, Group W and countless broadcasters across the globe, Jack is most fondly remembered for his clear, confident and always calm voice on radio stations KFWB and KNX during such landmark events as the Challenger disaster, the Northridge Earthquake and the Los Angeles Riots.

At any office water cooler, or the entrance to a public shelter following disaster, one could be almost certain to hear "Well, Jack Popejoy says...", a vote of confidence well placed in a man who shared his work seriously.

...and we emphasize share, because watching and listening to Jack Popejoy was always like being in the presence of a dear and knowledgeable friend - who despite being a broadcaster, was somehow always speaking directly to you.

Yes, Jack was that good: Earning 27 Golden Mike Awards from the Radio & Television News Association, and in 1998 being named Journalist of the Year by the Society of Professional Journalists in Los Angeles for his work at the aforementioned broadcasters, as well as television stations KTLA and KCOP.

But that is only part of the story...

Jack Popejoy was involved in emergency planning and management, contributing his significant expertise to the City of Los Angeles Emergency Operations Organization for more years than any other person, and remained an adviser to the County of Los Angeles Office of Emergency Management and ardent supporter of the American Red Cross.

Moreso, Jack Popejoy was a unparalleled mentor and dear friend to our Los Angeles Fire Department media relations staff, always taking time in and outside the studio to offer helpful suggestions and more often to inquire about LAFD policies, protocols and procedures. So devoted was he to understanding and communicating life safety issues, that the Los Angeles Fire Department proudly named him an Honorary Chief in 1989.

Jack's inquiring mind led him to be an indisputable expert on fires, floods and especially earthquakes, not to mention space exploration and astronomy. To this day, many are surprised to hear that the humble Mr. Popejoy was a Regional Semi-Finalist in NASA's Journalist-in-Space competition, which was cancelled in the wake of the Challenger disaster.

As one of the creators of the annual Great California ShakeOut, with 8 million participants, and a valued crisis communications trainer to countless public officials, Jack leaves a legacy of excellence, as well as an emotional hole in our hearts.

Services for Jack Popejoy have yet to be announced.


View and share your thoughts on Twitter: #knxpopejoy

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Fast-moving Fire Heavily Damages Church in South Los Angeles

Saturday, February 05, 2011 |

On Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 2:14 PM, 11 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 6 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Arson Unit, 1 Urban Search and Rescue Unit, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 3 EMS Battalion Captains, 3 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 85 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Rudy Hill, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 4321 South Long Beach Avenue in South Los Angeles.

Pre-Fire Image. Click to learn more...
Los Angeles Firefighters arrived quickly to find heavy smoke showing from a 50' x 50' one-story commercial building converted to a house of worship.

Forcing entry through security doors and windows, firefighters encountered heavy fire within the non-occupied building, including the attic of the wood-frame structure. A well coordinated fire attack, including strategic vertical ventilation, quickly halted the advance of flames, but could not prevent a portion of the flat roof weakened by fire to collapse during the assault.

The flames were confined within the non-fire sprinklered structure and extinguished in just 24 minutes.

During the relentless assault on the fire, one firefighter sustained painful though non-life threatening second-degree burns to his face. In fair condition, he was taken to an area hospital, where he was expected to be treated and released to remain off-duty.

Fire loss to Visions of Heaven Church of God in Christ is estimated at $150,000 ($100,000 structure & $50,000 contents). The cause of this mid-afternoon blaze has been categorized as accidental, and remains under investigation.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Toddler Suffers Finger Amputation at Van Nuys Courthouse

Tuesday, February 01, 2011 |

Escalator Example Image. Click to learn more about escalator safety...
On Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 8:51 AM, 3 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters and 1 LAFD Rescue Ambulance, a total of 17 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Captain II Jesse Cisneros, responded to an Escalator Injury with Traumatic Amputation at 14400 Erwin Street Mall in the Van Nuys Civic Center.

Los Angeles Firefighters responded quickly and were guided to a first floor lobby at the Los Angeles Superior Court, Van Nuys Courthouse West, where a mother was holding her injured 17 month-old son.

According to witnesses, the boy had been riding an escalator from the second to first floor, when a significant portion of his left index finger was traumatically amputated in the comb-and-groove of the foot tread at or near the lowest ('arrival') level of the machinery.

Quick thinking bystanders, including Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies on-duty at the courthouse, promptly swung into action - activating the escalator's emergency stop switch located at the base of the handrail to prevent further harm. The child was not entangled or trapped, but his detached finger was missing deep within the briefly turning escalator mechanism.

First arriving LAFD Paramedics were able to comfort and reassure the toddler, whom they described as calm and exceedingly brave throughout the ordeal. Paramedics soon confirmed through the hemorrhage that a significant portion of his inch-long index finger was missing.

Skilfully stemming the blood loss with a dressing and bandage, Paramedics placed the child and mother into an LAFD Ambulance as their colleagues began a relentless yet methodical search for the missing finger.

Aided by Sheriff's Deputies who pledged and delivered every possible amount of help, firefighters began the strategic disassembly of the massive machinery in a quest to save the boy's finger.

Personnel from the nearest Los Angeles Fire Station soon joined the effort with power tools to deconstruct the sturdy device piece-by-piece, as Sheriff's Deputies delivered the Escalator Maintenance Supervisor for the facility.

Releasing the tread deck to disassemble the escalator one massive step at a time, firefighters worked swiftly but carefully within the confines of the intermittently de-powered device, knowing that even the tiniest overlooked detail could cause grave personal injury to responders and possibly macerate the boy's missing digit.

Greatly aided by the expertise of the Escalator Maintenance Supervisor and Sheriff's Deputies, the team of firefighters soon had a sizable pile of the heavy steps removed from the treadmill-like machinery, as they rotated and examined the entirety of each and every gear, chain, step and pulley they encountered.

Keeping the receiving hospital abreast of their efforts, more than a dozen Los Angeles Firefighters worked non-stop for nearly 90 minutes until they found the missing finger. Pursuant of medical protocol, the finger was quickly placed in a cool, sterile dressing inside a clean plastic bag held tightly by firefighters, who sprinted to a waiting LAFD emergency vehicle.

Having proactively secured administrative approval for a 'light and siren' transport of the found finger, firefighters traveled swiftly but safely the 7.7 mile distance to the Richie Pediatric Trauma Center at Northridge Hospital, where renowned surgical teams awaited a chance to restore the child's missing digit.


Though any attempt to reattach the toddler's finger was not certain to be a success, the teamwork of Los Angeles Firefighters, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies, a County of Los Angeles Escalator Maintenance Supervisor - and especially the team at Northridge Hospital Medical Center, gave the young boy the greatest odds possible following a serious injury.

For elevator and escalator safety information...



Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

The Los Angeles Fire Department Celebrates 125 Years of Service


Today, the men and women of your Los Angeles Fire Department proudly celebrate the 125th Anniversary of our agency. Regarding the year of our founding, former LAFD Chief Engineer William L. Miller once noted...

"The year 1886 - was a period of great advancement for the City of Los Angeles. Los Angeles had been an incorporated city under laws of the State of California for 36 years. It had a population of some 35,000, with three good hotels, 27 churches, an adequate number of saloons and 350 telephone subscribers...

...the City Fathers determined that it was high time to have an organized and paid Fire Department to replace, in part, the volunteer fire companies that had served on an intermittent basis since 1869, with apparatus provided principally by public subscriptions ..."

Though much has changed in Los Angeles since, the devotion and commitment of your Los Angeles Firefighters remains inspired by those who have proudly protected our City for the past 125 years.

We encourage you to join LAFD members past and present throughout the coming year, as we celebrate the quasquicentennial of our agency. For more information - including some facts that may surprise you, we encourage you to visit:


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Water Main Break Displaces Over a Dozen In Van Nuys


On Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 3:12 AM, 5 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 1 LAFD Rescue Ambulance, 1 Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief John Potter responded to a Flooding at 16422 West Vanowen Street in Van Nuys.

Firefighters arrived to find knee-deep water rushing down both sides of Vanowen Street, entering residences and business in its path. The majority of the water flowed eastward from Havenhurst Avenue toward Odessa Avenue.


Firefighters rapidly canvassed the area and accessed residences to ensure no one was trapped or injured. A series of holes were strategically created by Firefighters in exterior and interior walls of buildings to relieve pressure.

LAFD personnel carefully carried pets and assisted families from apartment complexes to safety at a nearby parking lot. As many as 60 individuals were affected and over a dozen awaited assistance from American Red Cross.

Our friends at Department of Water & Power successfully shut down the water flow from a reported 20" water main around 5AM. No injuries were reported. The dollar loss is still being tabulated.

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department