Fire Sweeps Through Attic of Hollywood's Magic Castle

Monday, October 31, 2011 |

HOLLYWOOD HILLS- The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a reported "Structure Fire" at the historic Magic Castle today, leaving the 102 year-old mansion no choice but to postpone its planned week of Halloween festivities, which the private club had ironically dubbed "Inferno at the Castle."

At 12:35 pm on Monday, October 31, 2011, 120 Los Angeles Firefighters quickly descended upon the two-story, Victorian-style structure at 7001 West Franklin Avenue, for what was confirmed by first arriving resources as a "fire in the attic." Because of the building's compartmentalized construction and its complexity in design, the fire was able to conceal itself within the walls and attic of the Magic Castle. For a time, the fire seemed, almost, to prevent itself from being discovered and perhaps hoped to extend the theme of the magic club's week-long promotion, on its own.

Great lengths were taken to keep this Los Angeles area landmark and all of its historical content safe from extensive damage. Thanks to an aggressive fire-attack, coupled with strategic work on a very elaborate roof, Firefighters were able to fully-extinguish this pesky fire in just one hour and five minutes. Although its construction dates back to 1909, the mansion is now fully-sprinklered, which aided in the LAFD's ability to confine the fire to its area of origin.

The Magic Castle's management and its workers, preparing for the Halloween Night festivities, were the only occupants in the building at the time. All managed to exit the structure without incident and we are pleased to report, there were no injuries.

LAFD Battles Fire at Hollywood's Magic CastleWhile the exact cause remains under active investigation, the fire was determined to be "accidental" in nature. Dollar loss and damage estimates were not yet available.

Click here to find updates from our friends at The Magic Castle, such as when they hope to reopen.

Dispatched Units:
E41 RA41 E27 T27 RA827 E82 E261 T61 EM14 BC18 BC5 E76 E10 E235 T35 T29 E229 E11 DC3 SQ21 EM2 BC11 RA27 E227 T3 E203 RA803 UR88 BC14 UR3 E15 E60 E278 T78 E226 T26 RA52 RA102 EM11 EA1 E3 RM2 RM3 AR2 SU1

Submitted by Matt Spence, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD: Helping Those that Help Us

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 |

The Los Angeles Fire Department asks for your help in supporting a "Benefit Bake Sale" this Friday, October 28, 2011, at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills. All proceeds are to benefit one of the hospital's own Emergency Room (ER) Nurses and a young mother of two children. "Nurse Donna" has been an employee of the Holy Cross Medical Center for several years and has always been a tremendous help to all in our community, including LAFD members that frequent her ER. Now she and her family need our help! "Nurse Donna" has recently been diagnosed with a very serious form of cancer, in its advanced stages.

WHAT:   Nurse Donna Benefit Bake Sale
WHEN:   Friday, October 28, 2011, from 8:00 am - until sold out
WHERE: Providence Holy Cross Hospital (click for directions)
              15031 Rinaldi Street, Mission Hills, CA 91346

If you prefer, monetary donations will also be gratefully accepted to benefit her young family. There will be information available in the Holy Cross Main Lobby.

For more information, please call Kay Radford at 818.360.5380

We thank you in advance for your generosity.

Submitted by Matt Spence, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Warns Residents of Home Inspection Scam


The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) would like to warn Los Angeles residents to be aware of individuals impersonating firefighters and offering home inspections of everything from hazardous materials and mold to exit ways and fire alarm systems.

Fraudulent letters have been received by residents through the mail, informing them of upcoming inspections. The falsified letter simulates City of Los Angeles letterhead, but identifies former Mayor James K. Hahn as a current office holder and contains the forged signature of retired Fire Chief William Bamattre.

Below is an example of one such letter:

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has been notified and they are currently taking steps to investigate and identify the perpetrators of this scam.

If anyone comes to your home claiming to be a representative and/or a member of the LAFD in order to conduct an inspection, please do not allow them in, and kindly ask them to leave your property. Then, immediately call the LAPD by dialing 9-1-1.

Submitted by Matt Spence, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Investigation Nabs Suspects in Car Fire That Seriously Injured LAFD Captain


LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Fire Department is pleased to announce the arrest of Maria Porras, 35 and Rigoberto Diaz, 37 both of Los Angeles, in conjunction with an auto-insurance fraud scheme involving an auto fire which occurred near Elysian Park on January 9, 2011.

Booking Photo of Arson Suspect Rigoberto Diaz
Suspect Rigoberto Diaz (Age 37)
Booking Photo of Arson Suspect Maria Porras
Suspect Maria Porras (Age 35)

An LAFD Fire Captain was seriously injured battling the blaze, when an explosion occurred similar to an unrelated incident caught on tape eight months later...

Both Porras and Diaz have been charged with: Insurance Fraud, Arson of Property, Arson with Great Bodily Injury, Attempted Grand Theft and Conspiracy. The charges are all felonies.

"These arrests are the culmination of a months-long coordinated effort between LAFD Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section Investigators and Detectives with the California Department of Insurance" said Los Angeles Fire Chief Brian Cummings, who emphasized "vehicle arson is not a victimless crime".

Anyone who recognizes these persons as being tied to any other crime or fire is encouraged to contact law enforcement authorities or the LAFD Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section directly at (213) 893-9800.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Fire in UCLA Science Lab Garners Significant LAFD Response

Monday, October 24, 2011 |

WESTWOOD - A laboratory at UCLA's Health and Sciences Center was significantly damaged by a fire this morning and at one point, brought nearly 150 Los Angeles Firefighters to the scene.

At 11:05 am on October 24, 2011, the LAFD responded to a reported "Structure Fire" in a seven-story, science building on the UCLA campus. A complete evacuation was already underway, as first arriving Firefighters made their ascent to the fifth floor of this facility. The Incident Commander noted the presence of hazardous materials clearly marked on exterior of the building, considered its size and type, as well as the time of day, and knew the potential existed for a very significant incident. Immediately, the request was made for additional resources, including the LAFD's Hazardous Materials (HazMat) Squad.

Firefighters quickly gained control and fully extinguish the blaze in 50 minutes, confining it to just one room. The incident then began to de-escalate and many of the on-scene resources were released.

With a full evacuation of the building in place, the HazMat Squad made entry and conducted precautionary testing. The facility was later deemed safe for students, faculty and employees, as they were allowed to re-populate all floors of the building, except the affected fire-floor.

We are pleased to report there were no injuries or illnesses, as a result of this incident. While the exact cause remains under investigation, the fire was determined "accidental" in nature. Dollar loss estimates were not yet available.

Dispatched Units:
E37 RA37 E71 RA71 E19 E288 T88 E269 T69 E81 T39 E239 H0C H0D H0F EM14 BC10 BC5 E60 SQ87 E88 H1 H2 H3 E87 T87 RA87 DC3 E237 T37 E292 T92 E94 E99 E109 E41 E51 E26 E278 T78 AR2 E295 T95 E226 T26 BC1 RA19 RA62 RA43 RA99 RA15 EM2 EM17 E59 BC9 EA1 BC4 EM9 UR88 CM3 RT59 RA63 EM11 RA59 LO1 RA58

Submitted by Matt Spence, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Brush Fire in Lake View Terrace is Hit Hard and Fast

Saturday, October 22, 2011 |

LAKE VIEW TERRACE - At 2:25 on October 22, 2011, a "Brush Fire" ignited on the fringe of a quiet neighborhood in the north end of the San Fernando Valley at 11880 Terra Vista Way.
LAFD Tackles Lake View Terrace Wildfire
Originally reported as a 3-4 acre fire in light-to-medium brush, first on-scene resources found fire moving rapidly, up very steep terrain, towards the front-end of the Angeles National Forest. This brought a swift and heavy response, as 75 Los Angeles Firefighters worked aggressively in the 90 degree heat, to prevent the fire from further spread.

Assisting the LAFD's efforts, were our partners from neighboring jurisdictions, as Los Angeles County Fire (LACo) and the Angeles National Forest (ANF) both sent fire resources. Additionally, two Quebec Bombardier "Super Scoopers" and the Erickson "Air-Crane" (all on-lease through the Brush Season), as well as four LAFD water-dropping helicopters, delivered very strategic water drops. Together, with the fire crews on the ground, this brush fire was brought under control in just 54 minutes and held to approximately eight acres.

Ground and air crews stayed on-scene for three and half hours, as the burn area was cooled and surveyed to ensure that no embers remained. Careful management of brush incidents in this manner, will prove to be of the utmost importance, as we move deeper into the Brush Season and as we make preparations for our first "wind event," with the "Santa Anas" expected sometime next week.

LAFD Tackles Lake View Terrace Wildfire
No structures were damaged during the firefight; however, there was an incident-related injury reported shortly after the fire was fully extinguished. One ANF Firefighter was transported to a local hospital, via air-ambulance, for heat-related complications.

The cause of the fire is under active investigation.

Dispatched Units:
E98 T98 E298 BC12 E77 E24 E91 E7 E275 T75 E274 T74 H0D H0F BC10 E70 E89 H2 H4 H5 WT77 RP88 DC3 T90 E290 H733 AR2 RH114 H0E H0A H1 E90

Submitted by Matt Spence, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD's "Great Shake Out" Earthquake Drill Was A Success

Friday, October 21, 2011 |

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Fire Department and MySafe:LA joined 8.6 million Californians and participated in the annual "Great California Shake Out" earthquake drill. This statewide event provides an opportunity for all to further prepare themselves for major earthquakes when they occur and how best to be protected for survival.


Thursday morning, October 20, 2011, Los Angeles Firefighters and members of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) conducted a "mock" rescue of two classrooms at Bushnell Elementary School. In this scenario, students were unable to evacuate after a "significant" earthquake. Fourth and fifth graders were educated about earthquake safety, preparedness and how to protect themselves by practicing Drop, Cover, and Hold On.

A live demonstration was provided by the Search and Rescue K9's, while the SoCal Gas Company presented additional safety information.

With almost 38 million people living in California, a considerable earthquake could cause unprecedented devastation. LAFD is devoted to ensure disasters do not become catastrophes.

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Fire and Hazardous Materials Clear Industrial Area in Sylmar

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 |

SYLMAR- A small fire at a manufacturing plant, just before daybreak on Wednesday morning, resulted in a protracted Hazardous Materials Incident, requiring the evacuation of 220 people.

At 6:16 am, on October 19, 2011, the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a reported "Structure Fire" at 12500 North Gladstone Avenue, in a mostly industrial section of Sylmar in the north San Fernando Valley. Having prior knowledge of the type of business, the facility's size (nearly 350,000 total square feet) and its contents, additional resources were requested, based on the "potential" the incident presented.

The fire erupted during a routine cleaning at "Spectrolab", a solar-cell, manufacturing plant for spacecraft power systems. Thanks to the quick thinking of the on-site, specialized cleaning personnel, the fire was swiftly extinguished and confined to one room of the facility. Despite that, there were extended operations by two LAFD Hazardous Materials (HazMat) Squads, as they worked to stabilize the extremely hazardous chemicals involved and ensure there was no danger to the building's occupants or the surrounding area.

The on-scene hazards triggered a significant response, with 122 Firefighters converging to the scene, as well as the LAPD and the Los Angeles County Health Hazardous Materials Division (LACo HHMD).

The Spectrolab workers that were present at the fire's point of origin, escaped without incident, as 15 other company employees were evacuated for precaution. All citizens in the surrounding industrial area were also evacuated. A total of 220 people were escorted to an offsite location for safety, while LAFD personnel prepared for entry.

Both HazMat Squads made entry, exercising every precaution. Special attention was given to the product containers, making certain they had not been compromised and that there was no danger of a product release. Additionally, all readings taken by the Squads came back negative and were determined to be within normal limits. The incident was then declared "static" and turned over to the building owner and the LACo HHMD.

There were no reported injuries or illnesses; however, one company employee was transported to a local hospital for precaution, in "good" condition.

The dollar loss has not yet been determined and the incident remains under active investigation.

Dispatched Units:
T98 E298 E98 RA898 RA98 E91 E275 T75 E24 EM15 BC12 BC15 E77 E77 E275 T75 E87 T87 E287 SQ87 E21 T21 E221 SQ21 BC10 BC15 E70 EM15 EM17 RA91 DC3 RA87 E289 T89 E91 DU98 T78 E278 HM75 RA75 RT83 CM3 HM17 E17 RA17 CM2 CP3 BC738 HS1 RA98 EM15

Submitted by Matt Spence, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Family Displaced by Stubborn Westwood Apartment Fire


WESTWOOD - A stubborn predawn fire in a five story Westwood apartment building displaced four residents and brought temporary closure of a busy thoroughfare early Wednesday morning.

The blaze, reported to the Los Angeles Fire Department at 4:37 AM on October 19, 2011, brought 115 firefighters to 10655 Wilshire Boulevard, a half-mile southeast of the UCLA campus in Westwood.

Awakened by smoke alarms within their unit, occupants of a fourth floor apartment were able to safely escape the blaze as the fire spread quickly through walls to an apartment above in the twenty unit non-fire sprinklered building.

The flames were fully extinguished in just 64 minutes - and no injuries were reported. Four family members from a fifth floor apartment were displaced by the fire, and referred to the American Red Cross for assistance.

Fire loss to the 56-year old "Princess Apartments" building is estimated at $170,000 ($100,00 structure & $70,000 contents). The cause of the early morning blaze remains under active investigation.

Dispatched Units: T37 E37 E237 RA37 E71 RA71 E292 T92 E59 EM9 BC9 BC18 E68 RA92 E19 E261 T61 DC3 SQ21 BC5 T61 E261 E63 E261 T61 E19 E58 E263 T63 E269 T69 SQ21 EM14 BC4 BC10 E5 T88 E288 UR88 RA5 BC5 AR2 EA1 RA861

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Man, Deceased Found in North Hollywood Trailer Fire

Saturday, October 15, 2011 |

Los Angeles Fire Department
NORTH HOLLYWOOD - An adult male was found deceased inside a "fifth-wheel" trailer in the early morning hours of Saturday, October 15th, 2011. Firefighters responded to 6926 North Farmdale Avenue just before 2:00 am, where a large, one-story commercial building was reportedly ablaze, with "heavy fire" at the rear of the structure. The Incident Commander immediately called for additional resources, as Firefighters forced-entry onto the secured grounds of the industrial building. What they encountered, was actually the trailer fully engulfed in flames. First arriving resources made quick work of the fire, however, in the midst of their fire-attack, discovery was made of the young man.

Just over 30 Los Angeles Firefighters fully-extinguished the fire in only 12 minutes, preventing extension into the adjacent structure, a rock and mineral company doing business as "Rock Our World." It is believed that the deceased was an employee of the business. A positive identification and exact cause of death to the approximate 20-30 year old male, will be determined by the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner.

The dollar loss estimate was placed at $30,000. The cause of the fire remains under active investigation by the Los Angeles Fire Department's Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section.

The Los Angeles Fire Department extends condolences to the family of the deceased.

E289 E89 T89 RA889 RA89 E260 E60 T60 E77 BC14 BC10 E100 E86 E102 E39 T39 E239 E278 T78 T98 E298 DC3 SQ21 EM14 BC12 BC18 T88 E288 E88 UR88 BC5 AR2 AR11 AR17 AR9 T89 E289

Submitted by Erik Scott & Matt Spence, Spokesmen
Los Angeles Fire Department

Multi-Story Residential Blaze in Echo Park

Thursday, October 13, 2011 |

ECHO PARK - A relentless fire in a multi-story residence, required more than 150 Los Angeles Firefighters and  two water dropping helicopters to extinguish. The October 12, 2011 incident was reported by multiple 9-1-1 callers at 5:41 PM, bringing a rapid response from Firefighters as they ascended narrow roads en route to 1357 North Elysian Park Drive, just west of Dodger Stadium.

Large House Fire in Echo Park
Arriving at a three-story Craftsman-style residence with a basement, Firefighters made access and quickly extinguished the flames on the first floor, however they still had fire roaring on the floors above, through the attic and in the basement.

Truck Companies assigned to the roof, aggressively performed vertical ventilation with chainsaws, as fire blew from each hole that was cut. The environment then became unsafe and required a quick exit from the roof, before it collapsed.

As scores of additional Firefighters were dispatched, the strategic decision was made to request water dropping helicopters. They were able to survey downwind for burning embers, while having the capability to swiftly halt advancing flames if they spread to the hillside. Ultimately, one precise water drop on the burning structure itself, was all that was required.

Through the exhausting assault, Firefighters, for a time, went into "defensive mode," exiting the untenable structure to do battle from the exterior. Then, once additional headway was made, they re-entered the wood-sided, century-old house to attack the flames head-on.

Firefighters continually overcame heavy fire on multiple floors of this balloon construction house, protecting adjacent residences and ensuring flames did not spread to nearby, volatile vegetation. As if that wasn't enough, live ammunition that had been stored on the second floor, discharged in the midst of the firefight.

Battalion Chief Fred Mathis stated, "...another challenge we faced was access to the hilltop house. There was one way in and out. After the first apparatus arrived, all those following had to stack one behind the other, downhill. This required some Firefighters to carry gear up a 1/4 mile, then back again to exchange air bottles. It was a tough location. They did a great job!"

Large House Fire in Echo ParkThis "Major Emergency Structure Fire" was fully extinguished in one hour and 16 minutes by 165 Firefighters. Fortunately, due to an aggressive attack and sound command, no one was injured.

One owner of the residence, a senior, was compassionately evaluated by Firefighter/Paramedics on-scene. She did not require transport to a hospital.

There was extensive damage to one side of the residence, however it was not a total loss. The estimated dollar loss was $300,000 ($250,000 structure and $50,000 contents).

The cause of the fire is under active investigation.

Dispatched Units:
E11 E3 BC11 E9 E220 T20 RA3 RA803 EM6 E29 E203 T3 E6 SQ21 DC2 BC1 E15 E211 T11 EM2 BC2 UR3 T27 E227 RA827 T5 E205 UR88 BC5 RA20 RA27 E27 H0E H0B E205 T5 H2 H4 E90 E215 T15 EA2 RT59 RA1 E226 T26 E21 RA56 RA11 EM11 T90 E290 AR1 T61 E261 E5 E89 SU1 T12 E212 E63 T39 E239 RA6

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Man Found Dead in Los Angeles Condominium Fire

Sunday, October 09, 2011 |

Los Angeles Fire Department
BALDWIN HILLS - Los Angeles Fire and Police Investigators are seeking the cause of a Baldwin Hills area fire Sunday morning, in which a man was found dead.

Security officers at the gated Cameo Woods condominium complex near Baldwin Hills first reported the fire at 11:45 AM on October 9, 2011, bringing a swift response by the Los Angeles Fire Department.

LAFD crews quickly navigated the 27 acre complex to find smoke showing from one downstairs unit of a two-story residential fouplex at 5823 Bowcroft Street. A well coordinated effort by 48 Los Angeles Firefighters confined the fire to the unit of origin. They extinguished the blaze in just 17 minutes.

During fire attack, firefighters discovered the remains of an adult male within the burning structure. Beyond medical help, he was declared deceased at the scene. No other injuries were reported.

According to Battalion Chief Robert Nelson, "the home was fitted with a smoke alarm, which was functioning at the time of fire". He added there were no security doors, window security bars or obvious non-fire factors to impede the man's egress. The 62-year old dwelling was not equipped with residential fire sprinklers.

A positive identification of the deceased man to include his age, as well as the cause, time and manner of his death, will be determined by the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner.

Monetary loss from the fire is still being tabulated.

Dispatched Units: E294 T94 RA894 RA43 E58 E68 E34 E292 T92 EM2 BC18 BC11 E29 RA94 EM14 AR2 AR11 AR39 AR7 RA94 T94 E294

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Responds to Fire at ConocoPhillips Refinery in Wilmington


Los Angeles Fire Department
WILMINGTON - An on-site leak of hydrogen at the ConocoPhillips Refinery in Wilmington, California ignited a stubborn non-injury fire on Sunday that was brought under control by the refinery's industrial fire brigade without need for evacuation.

The October 9, 2011 event was reported at 9:48 AM by several passersby - including Los Angeles Firefighters, who noted a non-typical plume of smoke from within the 424-acre Wilmington portion of ConocoPhillips Los Angeles Refinery at 1660 West Anaheim Street in Wilmington, nineteen miles south of downtown Los Angeles.

A precautionary response by the Los Angeles Fire Department brought more than 80 LAFD personnel to the scene, including LAFD Hazardous Materials experts, who supported the refinery fire brigade in their skillful handling of the pressurized leak and control of the flames, which involved refinery equipment "the size of a tractor trailer", according to LAFD Battalion Chief Chris Logan.

The overall impact of the leak and fire upon refinery production was not determined by Fire Department responders, who referred such inquiries to ConocoPhillips media relations.

Pursuant of protocol, a formal incident investigation was commenced by the Los Angeles County Health Hazardous Materials Division and South Coast Air Quality Management District officials.

Dispatched Units: E285 T85 E85 E49 E36 E248 T48 BC6 E9 E438 SQ48 RA848 RA38 T48 E248 E11 T11 E211 RA11 RA811 E9 T85 E285 E36 BC13 E266 T66 E112 RA85 EM6 DC2

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Fire Rips Through Mid-City Craftsman, Displaces 20

Wednesday, October 05, 2011 |

LAFD Battles Mid-City Structure FireMID-CITY - At 1:17 pm on October 4th, 2011 LAFD resources responded to a reported "Structure Fire" at 1625 West 24th Street in the Mid-City Area of Los Angeles. Task Force 26 was first on-scene and noted heavy smoke coming from the rear of a two story, four-plex.

Based on the size and type of occupancy, additional companies were immediately requested by Battalion Chief Richard Rideout, as Firefighters quickly ensured that the residents of all four occupancies were out of harm's way. It was later determined that the blaze had started in the basement of the approximate 1,800 square-foot structure. The fire quickly ripped through both floors, eventually making its way into the large attic space of this 104 year-old, Craftsman-style residence.

With several areas of the structure compromised, the 76 Firefighters on-scene, had their hands full. In fact, the blaze was so intense that a portion of the roof collapsed only minutes after LAFD resources arrived. Thankfully, there were no injuries and after a firefight that lasted nearly 40 minutes, the Incident Commander declared a "Knockdown."

The four-plex was home to a total of 20 residents (10 adults and 10 children) that will require assistance from local Red Cross, for shelter and other essential needs. Initial dollar-loss estimates were placed at $450,000 for structural damage and $75,000 for its contents. The cause of the blaze is under active investigation by the LAFD's Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section.

E226 E26 T26 RA26 E13 RA844 E215 T15 E11 SQ21 EM11 BC18 BC1 E29 RA826 RA15 E211 T11 E10 DC2 EM14 BC5 BC11 MD1 EA1 RT59 AR1 RA868 E210 T10 E66

Submitted by Matt Spence, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department