Elderly Couple Struggle to Survive Boyle Heights House Fire

Thursday, January 10, 2013 |

BOYLE HEIGHTS - Despite a valiant rescue effort by Good Samaritans, and the quick response of Los Angeles Firefighters, an elderly man and woman were hospitalized in grave condition Thursday morning, after an accidental fire swept through their home.

The Los Angeles Fire Department was summoned at 9:00 AM on January 10, 2013 to 3136 East Malabar Street, where they found a 1,400 square foot one-story home fully involved with fire.


A pair of men, who had just taken their children to adjacent Malabar Elementary School, ran to the scene and forced entry to the rear of the home, kicking a door to begin rescue of a non-breathing 70 year-old woman. The LAFD arrived to complete the effort and provide advanced medical care for the lifeless resident.

Despite oppressive fire conditions fed by variable wind, firefighters relentlessly searched the burning building to find and rescue the woman's non-breathing 90 year old spouse. He was swiftly provided care by a separate team of LAFD Paramedics, and the two were soon transported in 'grave' condition to nearby hospitals.

Sixty Los Angeles Firefighters under the command of Battalion Chief Phillip Fligiel, prevented the fire from spreading to adjacent homes or the nearby school. They fully extinguished the flames in just 21 minutes. Two firefighters suffered smoke exposure due to suddenly shifting winds. They were medically evaluated at the scene before being returned to duty. No other injuries were reported.

A post-fire investigation found no evidence of functional smoke alarms within the home, and further determined that window security bars were not equipped with mandated emergency escape quick-release systems. A front door security screen was found to be secured inappropriately with a padlock, and myriad electrical hazards, including overloaded circuits, improperly used extension cords and portable space heaters were found throughout the 107 year-old wood frame home, which was not equipped with residential fire sprinklers.

Monetary loss from the fire - which destroyed the home, is still being tabulated. Following a detailed examination of the scene, LAFD Investigators resolutely determined there were no suspicious circumstances. The specific cause of the fire remains undetermined.
Dispatched Units: E2 E25 RA25 RA1 T3 E203 EM1 BC1 E9 E16 T9 T2 E202 RA17 RA9 EM13 AR1 DC1 EM3 AR23 AR39 AR12 AR17 E203 T3
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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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