Each time a member of your Los Angeles Fire Department walks into the magnificent Los Angeles Central Library, they take reverent pause to consider how easily it could have disappeared - all of it - but for the work of more than 350 of their Brothers and Sisters who gave their utmost on an April day in 1986.
The next time you visit the Central Library, hopefully for a free public tour, along with the magnificent art and architecture, we hope you'll take a moment to view the plaque on the north wall just inside the Library's Flower Street entrance. There you will find the names of every firefighter described in this official correspondence...
"On the morning of April 29, 1986, one of the most challenging structure fires in the history of the Los Angeles Fire Department occurred at the Los Angeles Central Library, 630 West 5th Street.
Extinguishing this blaze required sixty fire companies, nine rescue ambulances, two helicopters, forty command officers and support personnel, a complement of over 350 Firefighters and Paramedics, and assistance from virtually every element of the Department.
Extinguishing this blaze was accomplished by the maximum commitment of bravery, courage, and determination to succeed by all those 350 members.
The members of this department performed beyond the expectations of many and through their combined efforts defied the predictions that this fire could not be extinguished short of a total loss.
Those members assigned on the historic Central Library Fire have, by their actions, set a new mark for the reputation of the Los Angeles City Fire Department by limiting the potential of a $160 million loss to $22 million in structure and contents fire damage.
These members are to be commended for their bravery, courage, determination and outstanding effort in controlling the loss to this precious resource of the City of Los Angeles."
DONALD O. MANNING
Chief Engineer and General Manager
Los Angeles City Fire Department
On April 29,1986, the mammoth Los Angeles Central Library was ablaze. Before the fire was extinguished, 7 hours and 38 minutes had passed as the men and women of LAFD battled one of the most remarkable structure fires in American history.
Approximately 45% of the on-duty Fire Department resources were committed to the fire. Fifty Fire Department members were treated for injuries with twenty-eight members requiring transport to medical facilities. Amazingly, there were no deaths or critical injuries and only one minor civilian injury.
To read, in chronological order, the amazing events that took place from the receipt of the alarm at 10:52 AM until "Knock Down" of the flames at 6:30 PM, please click on the link below:
Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department