VALLEY VILLAGE - It took more than 170 Los Angeles Firefighters nearly 90 minutes to tame a Wednesday morning blaze in the San Fernando Valley that directly damaged four apartment units, caused collateral damage to five others and displaced dozens of residents, sending one to the hospital.
The Los Angeles Fire Department was summoned at 10:03 AM on February 13, 2013, to 5260 Bellingham Avenue in Valley Village, where they discovered smoke from the third floor of a four story apartment building, comprised of three occupied floors over ground level parking.
A maintenance worker in a third floor apartment reported hearing a smoke alarm in an adjacent room, where he found active fire. Given advanced warning by the properly functioning device, he was able to safely exit and alert others. The fire gained a strong foothold prior to the Fire Department's arrival, spreading to the apartment above and threatening all eight adjoining units on the south side of the of the 41,493 square-foot non-fire sprinklered building.
Firefighters used ground ladders to safely rescue two imperiled residents from a smoke-charged third level balcony, as their colleagues extended multiple hoselines through serpentine interior hallways filled with heat and smoke to battle deeply entrenched flame. The well coordinated effort of 171 firefighters under the command of Deputy Fire Chief Mario Rueda, fully extinguished the blaze in just 83 minutes.
With significant structural compromise to a portion of the wood-frame and stucco structure, including collapse of one apartment balcony, the Department of Building and Safety declared the entire building temporarily untenable. To assist as many as 75 displaced residents, the American Red Cross opened a temporary shelter at the North Hollywood Senior Center.
During the course of the fire, seven residents were examined for smoke exposure, though only one woman desired transport to an area hospital for further evaluation. No other injuries were reported.
Preliminary loss from the fire is estimated at $250,000 ($175,000 structure & $75,000 contents). The cause of the mid-morning fire remains under active investigation.
Dispatched Units: E102 RA102 E86 E39 RA97 E278 T78 T88 EM14 BC10 BC12 E76 T89 E289 T60 E260 RA89 E97 E108 DC3 RA88 E27 E99 E298 T98 E227 T27 EM88 EM11 BC5 BC18 UR88 E3 UR3 T85 E285 BC1 E60 E203 T3 RA803 EA1 RA86 RA39 E210 T10 E61 E26 E293 T93 T11 E211 E37 E88 E235 T35 BC11 AR2 RT83 RA903 T64 E264 BC5 E15 T26 E226 E33 T73 E273 E95 E98 BC10 E105[ photos ] [ photos ] [ photos ]
Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department