CHINATOWN - Despite a swift response and dramatic rescue by Los Angeles Firefighters, one woman has died and two men have been critically injured in a fast moving apartment fire Wednesday evening.
The Los Angeles Fire Department was summoned at 6:04 PM on December 26, 2012 to 756 North Cleveland Street in the Chinatown district. Firefighters arrived quickly to find one second floor apartment at the rear of the U-shaped two story building well involved with flame.
LAFD crews commenced a simultaneous fire attack and rescue effort for an elderly mobility-impaired woman trapped in the burning apartment, as they crawled through blinding smoke that had repulsed neighbors' attempts to assist her. Quickly finding and carrying the burnt, pulseless and non-breathing 80 year-old from her apartment, firefighters discovered two injured men nearby, and began on scene care for the trio.
The lifeless woman, who had sustained 2nd and 3rd degree burns to nearly 80% of her body, was provided prompt advanced life support measures by LAFD Paramedics who rushed her in grave condition to the Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center, where she died shortly after arrival.
The injured men, described as her husband and son, suffered varying degrees of burns and smoke inhalation. In critical condition, they were also taken by LAFD ambulance to the Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center.
Forty-eight LAFD personnel under the command Assistant Chief Ronnie Villanueva confined the fire to the apartment of origin, extinguishing the blaze in just 13 minutes. Monetary loss was limited to $31,500 ($25,000 structure & $6,500 contents) and no other injuries were reported.
Though the two bedroom apartment contained three smoke alarms, their functional status and role in alerting residents could not be immediately determined. The 46 year-old building was not equipped with residential fire sprinklers.
The identity of the deceased woman, as well as the precise cause, time and manner of her death, will be determined by the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner. Though the cause of the blaze remains the focus of an active investigation, LAFD Investigators do not consider the fire to be an intentional act or suspicious in nature.
Dispatched Units: E203 T3 RA803 E4 E220 T20 RA20 EM1 BC1 E9 E3 T9 E11 BC11 RA209 RA9 AR1 AR11 DC716 E3[ video ]
Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department