Cat Perishes, Residents Displaced by Valley Village Fire

Saturday, March 30, 2013 |

VALLEY VILLAGE - A blaze that firefighters describe as preventable, took the life of a pet cat and displaced two women from their southeast San Fernando Valley home Saturday morning.

The fire was reported at 8:03 AM on March 30, 2013, bringing the swift response of forty-four Los Angeles Firefighters to 5239 Bellingham Avenue in Valley Village, where they discovered fire in one upstairs room of a two-story residential fourplex.

Informed of a pet feline trapped within the smoke charged unit, LAFD crews doubled an already intense search effort, finding the soot-covered and non-breathing pet not far from the active firefight.

Cat Resuscitation Attempt by Los Angeles Firefighters. © Photo by Austin Gebhardt. Click to view more...

Despite the cat's prompt rescue and a comprehensive resuscitation effort by a trio of Los Angeles Fire Department responders, the animal proved beyond medical help and was declared dead at the scene.

Flames were confined to the well-involved room of fire origin, and extinguished in just 16 minutes. No human injuries were reported. Two women displaced by the blaze were offered timely on-site emergency assistance by Disaster Action Team volunteers from the American Red Cross.

LAFD Battalion Chief Randy Beaty estimated fire damage to the 3,122 square-foot building - which was not equipped with home fire sprinklers, at $200,000 ($100,000 structure & $100,000 contents).

The cause of the fire was determined to be the careless act of leaving a burning candle unattended.
Dispatched Units: E260 E60 T60 RA60 RA860 E102 E289 E89 T89 EM14 BC14 BC10 E76 E278
[ photos ]

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

National Tsunami Preparedness Week, LAFD: Are You Prepared?

Thursday, March 28, 2013 |

During National Tsunami Preparedness Week, the Los Angeles Fire Department along with Cal EMA ask..

It's Been Two Years, Are You Better Prepared?

Two years ago a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck Tohoku Japan, generating a massive tsunami that devastated many of the country's coastal areas and claimed the lives of over 22,000 people. The impact of the tsunami was also felt close to home, along the Pacific coast.

This disaster served as another stark reminder of California's vulnerability to such events. While LAFD and our state continues to be world leaders in our emergency preparation and response efforts, those efforts are of secondary importance.

It is the advance preparedness measures of each individual that provides the first line of defense against any emergency.

By taking the time to learn and understand your risks and working to prepare for those situations, you put yourself and those around you in a better position to survive and endure whatever Mother Nature may send your way...

But first, what is a Tsunami (SOONAHMEE)? Also commonly referred to as a "Tidal Wave", a Tsunami is caused by the displacement of a large body of water that can travel the speed of a Jumbo Jet. They often arrive as a series of waves which could be dangerous for several hours after the initial wave arrival.

Although rare, tsunamis are a powerful and destructive force of nature. Since the year 1812, 14 tsunamis with wave heights higher than three feet have struck the California coast. Only six of these waves were destructive.

Is Los Angeles ready? We are proud to say, the City of Los Angeles was recently recognized by NOAA’s National Weather Service as StormReady® and the largest city in the nation to become TsunamiReady™.

This week (March 24-30) marks National Tsunami Preparedness Week. It is a time to not only reflect on past events, but to learn from them and take action.

The LAFD along with our friends at FEMA provide the following guidelines for what you should do if a tsunami is likely in your area:

  • Turn on your radio to learn if there is a tsunami warning if an earthquake occurs and you are in a coastal area.
  • Move inland to higher ground immediately and stay there.
  • Never go down to the beach to watch a tsunami come in. If you can see the wave you are too close to escape it.
  • CAUTION - If there is noticeable recession in water away from the shoreline, this is nature's tsunami warning and it should be heeded. Move away immediately. 
Whats the difference between a Warning, Advisory and Watch?
  • Warning -> Inundating wave possible -> Full evacuation suggested
  • Advisory -> Strong currents likely -> Stay away from the shore
  • Watch -> Danger level not yet known -> Stay alert for more info
  • Information -> Minor waves at most -> No action suggested
To learn more information on how your family can be prepared for a severe storm or tsunami, please visit:

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

15 Years Ago Today: A Mourning Like No Other...

Saturday, March 23, 2013 |

Fifteen Years Ago Today...


03/23/98 12:19:32

S P E C I A L   N O T I C E

MARCH 23, 1998


The Eternal Scar
by Nicholas Reiner

March 23rd, an ordinary day, just one to forget.
Maybe for you, but not for me, not yet.
I was changed that morning, changed in my soul and my heart,
A morning for me that will stand apart
My Dad died that day doing what he did best
Saving lives without much rest.
The helicopter--the cradle of life had rudder failure and started to descend.
The girl in the chopper dying, my dad and others gave a hand to lend.
The aircraft was lost, my Dad lost with it.
I was thunderstruck, shocked, and utterly sad
That my life had taken this turn because of the loss of my Dad
I didn't know what to think, or say
I experienced nothing but sadness that horrible day.
I was left without a father to guide me on my way.
Left without a leader, I began to sway
Back and forth with a question I had
Why did God choose to take my Dad?
Why me, why him, why o why?
What would my life be like if he were here, alive?
How would I have been, what would I have done?
Would I have been a good or bad son?
I'll never know, because I can't change the past
This is why my memories and prayers must last
One of his favorite quotes was "Always take the high road."
Well, when I think of him I ponder this quote.
And I think that if he died to save then I can stand up and be brave
Face my fears, and take up my crosses
Accept hardship, and deal with my losses
I am scarred forever because he died
Unable to forget what is contained inside
This wound, once open and throbbing without control
Now silent, numbed, a deep meaningful hole
Eternally present, once only pain,
Now death gives way to hopeful gain
A tear, a smothered cry, anguished undenied
Find here a knowing, a caring and warmth supplied
The day is gone, the scar will stay
His courage, now mine, will lead the way.

Please take a moment to learn about the gallant crew of Fire 3;

...and when time permits, join us in visiting their memorial:

View Larger Map and Directions to the Fire 3 Memorial Site

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Swift Actions by L.A. Firefighters Save Contents of Furniture Store

Friday, March 22, 2013 |

WATTS - Nearly 100 Los Angeles Firefighters battled a Greater Alarm Sructure Fire at a commercial building in south Los Angeles.

On Friday, March 22, 2013 at 7:18 am, firefighters were called to 10215 South Central Avenue. The LAFD arrived quickly to find heave smoke coming from a 50’ by 80’ commercial building.

Fire companies made a rapid interior fire attack with hose-lines. Simultaneously, firefighters from Truck Companies performed vertical ventilation on the arch truss roof. An aggressive attack on the blaze confined and limited the fire to a 2 room mezzanine tenement. Quick thinking and rapid salvage operations saved the contents of the main building doing business as Brothers Leal Furniture and Cabinetry.

Thanks to prefire planning and diligent training, first arriving fire companies were familiar with the building lay out and specific hazards. Although this building was a 1 story commercial there was an interior second story mezzanine. The building was vacant at the time of the blaze. During the firefight adjacent buildings in the small strip mall were threatened, though none were damaged.

Firefighters under the command of Battalion Chief Gene Bednarchik worked seamlessly with Los Angeles County fire companies to extinguish the flames in just 26 minutes. Firefighters remained on scene for nearly 3 hours to perform a thorough overhaul and salvage. There were no injuries reported.
The Department of Building and Safety deemed the mezzanine units uninhabitable and ordered removal of contents and evacuation from the furniture store.
Loss from the fire was estimated at $220,000 ($210,000 structure & 10,000 contents). The cause of the fire was determined to be electrical in nature.

Dispatched Units:E65 RA65 E264 E64 T64 RA864 EM13 BC13 E46 E233 E33 T33 E21 T21 E221 E14 T9 DC1 EM1 BC11 T3 E203 E3 UR3 UR88 BC1 RA64 RA264 E9 BC4 BC18 SQ21 RA803

Submitted by Katherine Main, Spokesperson
 Los Angeles Fire Department

10 Things You Must Do During 'Poison Prevention Week'


During Poison Prevention Week, the Los Angeles Fire Department wants you to be aware of ten simple tips that can reduce the risk of poisoning in your home.

Poison Control (1-800-222-1222) Click to learn more...But first, put the Poison Control Hotline number (1-800-222-1222) on every phone to help save lives.

While household products such as cleaners and chemicals naturally come to mind as being hazardous, the LAFD suggests that any product bearing the words 'Caution', 'Warning' or 'Danger' be stored out of children’s reach, ideally in a locked cabinet or compartment.

It's also a good idea to survey your home, especially the kitchen, bathrooom, workshop and garage from a child's - or grandchild's point of view, so that you can know what items might be accessible or spark their curiosity.

Ten Important Poison Prevention Tips...

  1. Know the things in and around your home that can poison you.
  2. Put child safety locks on cabinets to safely store cleaners, medicines, cosmetics, chemicals and other poisons.
  3. Keep products in their original packaging with the labels on them.
  4. Look at labels for the words "Caution", "Warning", "Danger" or "Poison". Follow all directions carefully when using these products.
  5. Be aware that fuels (such as gasoline), car fluids (such as anti-freeze), pesticides (such as bug killers), and lawn and garden products (such as fertilizer) are poison.
  6. Do not mix household products together. Their contents could react with dangerous results.
  7. Install a carbon monoxide (CO) detector near your bedrooms and furnace to warn you of high levels of CO, a deadly gas you cannot see or smell. Collected CO gas can quickly harm or kill you.
  8. Have a certified service technician check heaters, stoves and fireplaces at least once each year to see that they work well.
  9. Program the Poison Control Hotline number in every phone and place it near phones and on the refrigerator: 1-800-222-1222.
  10. Know to call 1-800-222-1222 if someone takes poison**. This number works around-the-clock anywhere in the USA to connect you with a nearby poison control center. Call the hotline whenever you have a question about poisons. It’s free, private, and can save you a trip to the emergency room!
** If someone is unconscious or has trouble breathing call 9-1-1

To learn more, visit:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Do You Know Your Home's True Flood Risk?

Thursday, March 21, 2013 |

LOS ANGELES - With today's release of the U.S. Spring Outlook and Flood Risk Assessment by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Los Angeles Fire Department joins that agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in asking Americans to increase their personal knowledge of local flood risk during National Flood Safety Awareness Week, March 18-22, 2013.

Join LAFD families in visiting for these free resources:

You can further protect loved ones and help Neighborhood Firefighters by visiting:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Firefighters Rescue Man Trapped in Pacific Palisades Trench, 2nd Victim Beyond Help

Thursday, March 14, 2013 |

PACIFIC PALISADES - Los Angeles Firefighters rescued a man buried in a dirt trench, however a second construction worker was beyond medical help on March 14, 2013.

At 1:34 p.m. firefighters quickly arrived at the 200 block of Temescal Canyon Road where they found an approximate 20' long u-shaped trench, ranging from 110" to 10' wide, and up to 15' deep. Inside the trench, one man was buried nearly up to hips, conscious but unable to escape, and another man buried up to his chest, unconscious and non-breathing. The two workers were from a privately contracted company, working for the city on a storm water project. They were excavating the ground with back-hoes.

With LAFD Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Teams and LAFD Heavy Rescue Unit proactively assigned to the initial response, Firefighter/Dispatchers also summoned large vacuum trucks from the City's Department of Public Works, Bureau of Sanitation to assist with efficient soil removal.

Safely, speedily and with well-practiced efficiency, LAFD trench rescue equipment, medical gear and personnel were relayed to the site. The dirt was promptly shored to protect both the patient and responders.

Firefighters worked to remove the trapped as rapidly as safely possible during this dangerous and delicate operation, making sure not to compromise the safety of the trapped victims or of the firefighters rescuing them. Careful attention was paid to shoring the dirt, minimizing unnecessary movement around the trench, and taking continuous precautions to ensure there was no further collapse.

Just before 3:00 p.m., the first victim a was safely rescued and transported via ground ambulance to an awaiting LAFD helicopter at Will Rogers Beach parking lot. He was then transported to UCLA hospital in serious but stable condition.

Firefighters then concentrated on an extended operation to remove the second adult male victim that remained buried to his chest, unconscious and non-breathing.

Declaring the man deceased, rescuers - still together as a team, transitioned from 'Rescue Mode' to 'Recovery Mode', beginning the dolorous recovery of the man's remains. With the continued 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 nine hours after they were first summoned, a total of 90 Los Angeles Firefighters, all under the command of Battalion Chief Al Ward, 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.

A positive identification of the deceased, 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 and LAPD at the scene. Also the Mayor's Crisis Response Team provided on-scene crisis intervention, and attended to urgent victim and family comfort needs.
Dispatched Units: E23 RA23 E269 T69 E263 T63 HR56 EM9 BC9 T88 UR88 T5 E205 UR5 BC4 E59 E88 BC18 E5 DC3 RA69 RA62 EM18 RA88 BC731 H5 E90 RH114 JT5 RA867 RA803 RT59 T27 E227 UR27 DT2
Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Multi Agency Emergency Drill in Alameda Corridor was a Success

Sunday, March 10, 2013 |

On March 10, 2013 a full-scale exercise took place, providing a vivid depiction of a unified command working together on a simulated incident inside the Alameda Corridor.

The drill took place from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and included the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD), Vernon Fire Department, Compton Fire Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Union Pacific Railroad, BNSF Railway and representatives of the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA).

The exercise was held at 52nd Street at Little Alameda City of Vernon and simulated the sighting of smoke from a well car on a train in the Alameda Corridor trench, a leaking tank car, and injured railroad personnel. The objective of the drill is to improve unified command, communications, hazardous materials operations and command operations to an incident inside the Alameda Corridor.
The Alameda Corridor is a 20-mile dedicated freight expressway linking the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to the transcontinental rail network near downtown Los Angeles. The Alameda Corridor, which opened in 2002, was built by ACTA, a joint powers authority governed by the cities and ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. In 2012, the Alameda Corridor handled roughly 42 trains per day, each train about one and a half miles long (about 300 containers per train).

This is yet another example of multiple local agencies working together to ensure the greatest care for Los Angeles citizens, and taking pride in the Los Angeles Fire Department motto, "Train as if your life depends on it… Because it does!"

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

2 LAFD Firefighters Injured in Mid-City House Blaze

Friday, March 08, 2013 |

PICO (MID CITY) - Two firefighters suffered minor injuries today in a fire that heavily damaged a two-story house in the Mid-City section of Los Angeles. The fire broke out just after 2:30 a.m. and structurally compromised the residence at 1846 S. Orange Grove Avenue.

KTLA video

On March 8, 2013, Los Angeles Firefighters quickly arrived to find heavy smoke billowing from the first and second floors, and out of every attic vent of the 65 year-old house. Additional firefighters were immediately requested.

An aggressive interior attack with hose-lines ensued, however the inside stairwell was not accessible due to instability from the flames. Firefighters were then directed to ladder a balcony on the east side of the home to attack the flames on the second floor.

Simultaneously firefighters from Truck Companies performed vertical ventilation, cutting heat holes with chainsaws on the first story roof, then progressed to the second story roof. Roaring flames shot through the openings and the structural integrity began to quickly deteriorate. Firefighters were forced to swiftly exit before a partial roof collapse occurred.

A total of 55 firefighters, all under the command of Battalion Chief Alicia Welch, attacked the intense flames for nearly an hour before they were fully extinguished. Firefighters tirelessly remained on scene throughout the day controlling hot spots.

Due to the structure's severe damage, the home was Red Tagged by Building & Safety (B & S), deeming it unsafe for occupants, including firefighters and Arson Investigators to enter. Over 12 hours later, firefighters left the home in the care of a B & S structural engineer and a private insurance company.

The cause of the early morning blaze remains under active investigation by the LAFD Arson section. It does not appear to be suspicious in origin. Due to extensive fire damage the home is expected to be a total loss.

Fortunately, the residence was unoccupied at the time of the fire as the family was away due to the house being scheduled for fumigation at 7:00 am this morning.

Unfortunately, a Fire Captain suffered a knee injury while crawling inside the flame filled structure during fire attack, and a Firefighter was injured as he ascended a 16' ladder to the first floor roof. The ladder slid out from underneath him, causing him to fall onto wet concrete. Breaking his fall was a Firefighter working in the area bellow, whom did not require medical care. Both injured members (Captain & Firefighter) were treated and released at local hospitals.

Chief Welch commended the family for their precautionary wisdom in placing all their important documents in a fireproof safe of which firefighters were able to retrieve. Also commendable was the families close relationship with neighbors, whom quickly notified them of the emergency, assisting firefighters confirmation of no one being trapped in the inferno.
Dispatched Units: E68 RA68 E58 RA858 E261 T61 EM11 BC18 E61 E294 E94 T94 RA61 E26 E226 T26 DC1 BC11 RA58 EM9 AR2 T27 E227 UR27 UR88 BC731 E29 T61 E261
Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Asks: Will You 'Be a Force of Nature'?


The Los Angeles Fire Department joins the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in recognizing March 3-9, 2013 as National Severe Weather Preparedness Week - asking you to "Be a Force of Nature" in helping assure a weather ready nation.

In 2012 across the United States, there were more than 450 fatalities and nearly 2,600 significant injuries attributed to severe weather. That's why our agencies are asking you, family and coworkers to discuss and prepare for weather emergencies.

Whether at home or on the road, you need to stay informed. That's why firefighters ask you to program all vehicle and battery powered radios to easily tune to a local news station. When traveling, be sure to ask the car rental agent or hotel clerk what news stations serve that region. If you live, work or visit areas prone to severe weather, a special weather alert radio can be a lifesaver!

The natural hazards in many communities can be anticipated, so develop an emergency plan helpful to you. A household discussion about communicating, finding shelter, high ground or alternate travel routes in a weather crisis can help protect the family you love.

A disaster supply kit that meets weather emergency needs is both simple and affordable. Make certain your kit includes the essentials for all family members, including seniors, infants and pets.

And finally... FEMA, NOAA and LAFD suggest you not only be prepared - but inspire others to do the same. The free "Be a Force of Nature" toolkit offers a variety of ways you can help spread the word about severe weather preparedness. Learn more at:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Fire Damages Classrooms at Sun Valley High School

Sunday, March 03, 2013 |

SUN VALLEY - A Sunday afternoon blaze at Sun Valley High School seriously damaged two classrooms, but led to no injuries, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

LAFD was first summoned by an alarm service at 1:15 PM on March 3, 2013 to investigate a sensor activation in a building at Sun Valley High School, 9171 Telfair Avenue in Sun Valley.

Firefighters arrived quickly at the unoccupied campus to find flames showing from a one story structure containing two classrooms. Forcing entry into the well secured building, firefighters found a fast-moving blaze in a storeroom between art and film classrooms, that had taken hold of the structure's shallow attic.
LAFD Squelches Sun Valley High School Blaze. © Photo by Mike Meadows. Click to view more...
Fifty-three Los Angeles Firefighters under the command of Battalion Chief Curt Klafta held damage from the inferno to less than 40% of the building, extinguishing the flames in just 31 minutes.

© RMG News via yfrog. Click to view larger/learn more...
No injuries were reported. Loss from the fire was limited to $750,000 ($500,000 structure & $250,000 contents). The cause of the fire is undetermined.
Dispatched Units: E77 RA77 RA7 E98 T98 E298 E260 T60 E81 EM1 BC10 BC5 E76 BC12 E89 EM15 T89 E289 RA89 E87 E239 T39 DC3 EM17 BC5 T88 E288 UR88 E3 UR3 BC1 RA898
[ photo ] [ photos ] [ video ] [ video ] [ video ]

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

When You Hear Sirens or See Lights - Make the Right Move

Friday, March 01, 2013 |

Turn up your computer sound and click here!During the month of March, the Los Angeles Fire Department is emphasizing Operation Pull to the Right, seeking to educate motorists about the importance of yielding to ambulances, fire trucks and police cars when they are responding to emergencies.

Many are surprised to learn: Nationwide, nearly 16,000 collisions occur each year because a growing number of drivers fail to Pull To The Right & Stop when emergency vehicles approach using their lights and sirens.

If you or someone you love is in need of emergency assistance, naturally you want help to get there right away. YOU can help us provide this emergency assistance as quickly as possible. It’s as simple as Moving to the Right for Sirens and Lights!

When drivers stop directly in front of emergency vehicles, Emergency Responders are forced to find a way to maneuver around them, which delays their response and can possibly result in an accident. 

When hearing sirens or seeing lights...
  • Stay calm, signal your intentions, and remember all vehicles must pull over to the right.
  • If it is not safe to pull over to the right, stop, but not in an intersection.
  • Use common sense, if your windows are up or the music is on, regularly scan your mirrors for emergency vehicles. 
  • Don’t panic.
  • Don’t pull to the left or stop in the middle lane when there is room to pull to the right.  
  • Don’t race ahead to make the green light before the emergency vehicle gets there.
  • Don’t drive through a red light or stop sign when an emergency vehicle approaches from behind.
  • Do not closely follow. All civilian vehicles must stay at least 300 feet behind emergency vehicles.
Emergency Responders and those they are responding to sincerely thank you for being safe, respectful drivers, and for following the law. Remember, you may be in need of an emergency vehicle one day.

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Hosts the 2013 PAD Program Award Ceremony


Every uniformed member of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) is trained in the use of a defibrillator, a devise that externally shocks the human heart out of a fatal rhythm, allowing a normal, healthy rhythm to resume.

Once restricted to use by medical doctors or highly trained fire department paramedics, modern science has produced special Automated External Defibrillators (AED's) that can now be easily and safely used by lay persons with minimal training.

Knowing the presence of AEDs in Los Angeles can easily save lives, the LAFD embarked upon a promising program bringing AEDs to many City facilities that the public accesses for business and recreation in Los Angeles. This Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) Program has the backing of medical leaders, including the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross.

On Thursday, February 28, 2013, the LAFD proudly hosted the 2013 Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) Program Awards Ceremony, where 48 individuals were recognized for responding to a victim of sudden cardiac arrest in a City facility and utilizing one of the City’s PAD Program defibrillators.
Honorees of the 2013 PAD Program Award Ceremony, Hosted by LAFDThis moving award ceremony highlighted 10 incidents that occurred in Los Angeles between December, 2011 and October, 2012. Honorees included members of the public, City employees from various Departments, as well as Fire Department members. We are humbled by these brave heroes who did not hesitate to take immediate life saving action when it was needed.

A sudden cardiac arrest can strike anyone, anytime, anywhere... but not without a fight in the City of Los Angeles! You can help your local firefighters by going through and sharing this important information brochure.

Los Angeles Firefighters say, "Don't be a bystander. Be a life saver."

Ready to act today? Click HERE for information on how to join in one of the biggest Citizens CPR Training in Downtown LA, today from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

Need more time? Register for a CPR or AED class in your area below.


Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department