Learn How Calling 9-1-1 is More Than Just Dialing Three Numbers

Sunday, September 29, 2013 |

It's important to know how to call 9-1-1. Dialing is simple. Three, easy-to-remember numbers punched into your phone will bring  your Los Angeles Firefighters to your front door in a matter of minutes. That's why the 9-1-1 system was established - to help people who needed professional help during an emergency.

With the advent of mobile technology, the 9-1-1 system nationwide has had to rethink it's approach to dispatching emergency resources. Los Angeles is no different. That's why the Los Angeles Fire Department partnered with MySafe:LA to create the short yet powerful and informative film above. View it to learn how to access emergency resources quickly and effectively. Learn the importance of clear, concise communication with 9-1-1 call takers and determine the most important information you can share with our Firefighter/Dispatchers - your EXACT location.

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Los Angeles Fire Department Honors Acts of Bravery and Courage

Thursday, September 26, 2013 |

On Thursday September 26th, 2013 the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) in conjunction with the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation honored 39 members of the LAFD at an awards luncheon. This ceremony, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom in Hollywood, highlighted their distinguished acts of bravery and courage. The following awards were presented:

Final Preparation for the 2013 LAFD Awards LuncheonMedal of Valor is awarded to a sworn member of the Department who has demonstrated bravery at great personal risk to his or her own life, beyond a doubt and clearly above the call of duty, whether on or off duty.

Medal of Merit is awarded to a sworn member, distinguished by performing an act where if not taken, would have resulted in serious injury or present imminent danger to life. The member must have demonstrated a conspicuous act of bravery with calculated personal risk to his or her own life.

Letter of Special Commendation is awarded to any department member who has performed an act during emergency or non-emergency conditions requiring initiative and / or ability worthy of recognition.

Lifetime Achievement Award is given to a retired sworn member of the department who exemplifies the true spirit of “Service to the Community” through his or her actions while on active duty and as a retired member.

Each award was based on an extraordinary and brave story. Let us share with you just two stories of which this years 'Medal of Valor' awards were based...

MEDAL OF VALOR: Firefighter David Mack and MEDAL OF MERIT: Firefighter Casey Glynn for a Structure Fire/Life Saved Incident...
Firefighter David Mack and Firefighter Casey Glynn were on a rescue ambulance, dispatched to a structure fire in a single-family home on 55th Street. Rescue 866 was the first and only fire department resource on scene. A fire was showing from the living room. Firefighter Mack and Firefighter Glynn were informed by the dispatcher that an occupant was on the phone, trapped inside the house in a bedroom closet. 
Firefighter Glynn put on his protective equipment and attempted forcible entry on the rear door. Firefighter Mack forced entry on the front door, and encountered heavy smoke and fire in the living room. He grabbed a garden hose from the yard and began to extinguish the fire in the living room. After the main body of the fire was partially extinguished, Firefighter Mack entered and initiated a search of the structure.

He crawled past the fire room. He began to search the bedroom, including the closet. After failing to find anyone, he crawled toward the rear of the house and located another bedroom, which he searched. He opened the closet door and found the trapped occupant, who had lost consciousness. Firefighter Mack removed his mask and provided air to the downed occupant. He lifted and carried her out of the house to safety with the assistance of Firefighter Glynn who had gained entry from the rear of the house. 
As they exited the house, additional personnel arrived on the scene. The rescued victim was transported to the hospital and survived this near-tragic event. If it were not for the persistent and courageous actions of Firefighter David Mack and the prompt response and teamwork of both firefighters, this victim may not have survived.
MEDAL OF VALOR: Firefighter Jesse Franco and Firefighter Kendal Koneval on the MetroLink Train Derailment Incident.
On September 12, 2008 a freight train crashed head-on with a Metrolink train, causing derailment, fire, deaths and injuries. 
When Task Force 87 arrived at the accident site, there were more than 1,000 gallons of fuel and oil on the ground and burning. While others handled extrication of passengers, Firefighters Koneval and Franco were assigned to fire attack. 
Firefighters Koneval and Franco advanced a hose line to the freight locomotive which was engulfed in fire. While fighting the fire, they heard pounding from inside the locomotive. Firefighter Koneval saw that there were people in the locomotive and attempted to remove them. He used his axe, attempting to remove the windshield from the overturned locomotive. He was able to open a softball-sized hole in the windshield. This hole showed acrid pressurized smoke. Firefighter Koneval obtained a rotary saw to cut away further at the windshield. Firefighter Franco stepped in to continue the work of removing the windshield. Both firefighters opened the window and told the train engineer to “kick like your life depends on it.” 
With this effort, the engineer was able to kick open the window and get out. He reported that his associate was still in the locomotive and needed to be rescued. Without hesitation, Firefighters Koneval and Franco entered the locomotive through the hole they had just cut. It was too small to get through with breathing bottles on, so they both removed the protection of their air bottles, and entered the burning locomotive. The smoke was acrid and banked down inside the train. They traveled fifteen feet in search of the other engineer, found him, and pulled him to safety. If not for the actions of these firefighters, the engineers surely would have perished.
Congratulations to each outstanding LAFD member awarded and thank you for your acts of bravery and courage!

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Vote for LAFD Fire Dog "Wilshire" to Fetch a Top Dog Title

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 |

NBC's TODAY and "Chicago Fire" are honoring the top firehouse dog in the nation, and our LAFD Fire Dog "Wilshire" could use your vote. The winner will fetch a cameo appearance on an upcoming episode of "Chicago Fire."

Hundreds of firehouses nationwide submitted entries, and three finalists were selected by "Chicago Fire" producers. They stopped by TODAY's plaza Tuesday morning with their handlers and the show's stars Jesse Spencer and Taylor Kinney. (Watch a video of their appearance.)  

Wilshire, a rescue dog adopted by the L.A. firehouse after a family couldn't keep him, continually performs live fire and life safety demonstrations at schools across the city. Beyond showing proper stop, drop and roll techniques, he teaches kids about the importance of healthy eating and exercise by lifting a 100 lb. dumbbell and running on a treadmill.

While all three dogs: Dempsey, Smokey & Wilshire have truly motivating stories and are great sources of inspiration, our Wilshire needs a little help in the polls, as the image below indicates.

Now it's up to you. Read the short bios of each pooch, and vote in the poll who should be dubbed "Top Dog." Voting ends Sept. 30th. To vote, CLICK HERE, scroll down the webpage and click on the circle by Wilshire's name to cast your ballot. Let's give our local pup a fighting chance!

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

White House Honors LAFD Captain


WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, September 24th, the White House will honor local heroes who are “Champions of Change for Community Preparedness and Resilience.” Among these recipients is LAFD Captain/Paramedic Stacy Gerlich. The event will celebrate Americans who are preparing communities for disasters and helping them respond and recover, bringing members of the whole community together – private businesses, local government, community and faith-based organizations, and individual citizens – to make a difference.

Captain Gerlich, MA, served as the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program administrator and manager, providing both organization and leadership to the continual development of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) trained volunteer program. The CERT program was developed by the LAFD in 1986 and has remained a leader in its field. LAFD CERT is currently training 4000 citizens annually and maintains an active cadre of 215 trained volunteers who contribute over 4,500 volunteer hours annually to the LAFD. The CERT program provides a structured curriculum for citizens to become more prepared, resilient, and vital components to “whole community” preparedness.

"I'm so proud of our department and the part I've been afforded to play in building the resiliency throughout our great city and the citizens we serve." - LAFD Captain/Paramedic Stacy Gerlich. 
Captain Gerlich is considered a subject matter expert in the field of disaster preparedness and has had the honor of working with citizens and stakeholders throughout the United States to prepare our nation for an untimely whole community disaster. She is one of many accomplished LAFD members that makes our great Department what it is.

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Two Firefighters Injured, Family Displaced in North Hills Apartment Fire

Saturday, September 21, 2013 |

NORTH HILLS - Two Los Angeles Firefighters were injured and a family of three displaced, when fire engulfed an apartment Saturday afternoon.

The Los Angeles Fire Department was summoned at 1:06 PM on September 21, 2013 to 8718 Parthenia Place in North Hills. Firefighters arrived swiftly at the 5,864 square-foot two-story garden-style building, to find one second floor apartment heavily involved with fire. With reports of people trapped in the inferno, an aggressive and well-coordinated attack on the fire quickly ensued.

Two Firefighters Injured, Family Displaced by North Hills Blaze © Photo by Greg Doyle, click to view more... While their colleagues battled the flames, LAFD Paramedics examined five neighbors who had tried accessing the smoke-charged apartment in a belief that occupants were trapped. Thankfully, the involved apartment had been equipped with properly installed and maintained smoke alarms, which alerted occupants and neighbors to escape in a timely manner.

The three occupants of the burning unit were without physical harm, and the five neighbors who acted in good will required no immediate care for their brief exposure to smoke. It took 44 firefighters under the command of Battalion Chief Curt Klafta, just 17 minutes to fully extinguish the flames, which were confined to the apartment of fire origin.

Two Firefighters Injured, Family Displaced by North Hills Blaze © Photo by Greg Doyle, click to view more... During fire attack, two firefighters were injured. One suffered first- and second-degree burns to his hands, ears, forehead and right knee. The other required treatment for smoke inhalation. Both men were transported to hospitals by Fire Department ambulance for what were considered non-life threatening injuries.

No other persons were injured. The woman and her two teenage sons displaced by the fire were provided on-site assistance with temporary living needs by American Red Cross Disaster Action Team volunteers.

LAFD crews spent an additional four hours at the scene mopping up the blaze while providing personal care and emotional support to residents of the eleven unit complex. Despite a lack of residential fire sprinklers, loss to the 57 year-old building was limited to $90,000 ($60,000 structure & $30,000 contents). The blaze is considered electrical in nature, attributed to a window mounted air conditioner.

Dispatched Units: E290 T90 RA90 E81 RA81 E275 T75 EM14 BC12 E98 E7 RA7 E287 T87 T87 E287 E275 T75 AR2 BC12
[ photos ]

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Foundation Donates 100 Special Evacuation Chairs to Los Angeles Fire Department


LOS ANGELES - The non-profit Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation has donated 100 specially designed Evacuation Stair Chairs to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The sturdy yet lightweight devices will be deployed citywide, enabling LAFD Firefighters and Paramedics to transport patients who weigh up to 500 pounds in multilevel buildings without elevators, narrow hallways and on steep hills.

The state-of-the-art chairs, which have a long service life, are designed for maneuverability over carpet and in confined spaces, allowing for the quick transport of ill and injured persons with safety and comfort.

They can also be deployed in a crisis to move those with special needs. The new Evacuation Stair Chairs prevent back and knee injuries among first responders, an added benefit to the community.

Cedars-Sinai Health System has graciously donated $146,000 to the LAFD Foundation to purchase 73 of the chairs as part of their initiative to improve community health and safety.

According to Captain Chip Cervantes at Fire Station 63, "This is the best tool we have in the station. It prevents so many injuries and helps us do our job better."

# # #
Cedars-Sinai Health System is dedicated to excellence, compassion and innovation rooted in the Judaic tradition, and its devotion to the art and science of healing. A commitment to meeting the community's health needs has been a defining quality of Cedars-Sinai since the opening of the 12-bed Kaspare Cohn Hospital in 1902, to what is now a world-renowned, nonprofit academic medical center. Cedars-Sinai's Community Benefit contribution, which totaled $640,287,000 for fiscal year 2012, supports a broad spectrum of initiatives to give those in greatest need access to health information, screenings and care. Learn more at cedars-sinai.edu

The Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation supports the LAFD in protecting life, property and the environment by providing essential equipment, training and public outreach programs to supplement city resources. Learn the many ways you can help at SupportLAFD.org

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Join LAFD at the 20th Annual 'Stair Climb for Los Angeles'


LOS ANGELES - This Friday, reach for the sky by joining competitors from across our nation - including Los Angeles Firefighters, in a fundraising climb to the top of the West Coast's tallest building.

It's the 20th Annual Stair Climb for Los Angeles to support the Ketchum-Downtown YMCA, and you're invited to join us on September 27, 2013. As LAFD Battalion Chief Armando Hogan explains...

Click here or on the image above to play video
Whether you climb for the thrill of a vertical race - or step at your own pace, your 1,679 steps to the top of the 75 story U.S. Bank Tower (the tallest building west of the Mississippi) during Stair Climb for Los Angeles benefits the Stuart M. Ketchum Downtown YMCA. Learn more today at:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Bereaved Father on 10K Mile Trek Inspires Water Safety in Los Angeles

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 |

SHERMAN OAKS - The bereaved father of a six year-old girl who died in a tragic drowning, was warmly welcomed by members of the Los Angeles Fire Department this week, as he continued his 10,000 mile nationwide journey by motorcycle to highlight water safety.

Bereaved Father Inspires LAFD Water Rescue Team
Russell Reddick addresses the Los Angeles Fire Department
during his nationwide journey to improve drowning prevention.

Escorted locally by members of the Fire Hogs Motorcycle Club, Russell Reddick arrived in Sherman Oaks on September 18, 2013 to the cheers of Los Angeles Firefighters who staff LAFD's seasonal Swift Water Rescue Teams.

Those rescuers are among many nationwide tracking Russell's self-funded "Four Corners Ride", which will take the Casper, Wyoming man to distant points of Washington state, California, Florida and Maine in honor of his 6 year-old daughter, who senselessly drowned during swim lessons.

The nonstop ride is also raising awareness and funds for the Drowning Support Network (DSN), which offers peer support to those who have lost loved ones to drowning or other aquatic accidents, including when no physical remains have been recovered - or the recovery process has been lengthy and difficult. Families dealing with near-drowning injuries also receive support through DSN.

Joining firefighters to welcome Mr. Reddick was DSN Founder Nancy Rigg, a Southern California resident who knows all-too-well the heartache that accompanies drowning.

Rigg reminded the audience at Fire Station 88 that drowning remains the leading cause of accidental death among children four and younger - and the second leading cause in kids 4-14. Citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she offered the sobering fact that 10-12 Americans drown each day - a number that does not include flood, hurricane, tsunami deaths or those related to boating.

Rigg joined the Los Angeles Fire Department in reminding local residents of all ages to respect and prevent the dangers that remain in any body of water, including pools, spas and bathtubs, as well as rivers, lakes and the ocean.

Learn more about the work of DSN at:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Wilmington Salvage Yard Blaze Scorches 105 Autos


WILMINGTON - An hour-long blaze in an automotive recycling yard torched more than a hundred vehicles Wednesday afternoon.

Los Angeles Firefighters were summoned at 4:48 PM on September 18, 2013 to multiple reports of vehicles burning at Apple Auto Dismantling, 2701 East Anaheim Street in Wilmington. Noting a large, black plume of smoke, the first due fire crews immediately requested additional personnel to respond.

Entering the large salvage yard, Fire Department crews found 15 to 20 cars already engulfed. The intense fire soon spread in the 150' by 200' area of tightly packed autos, requiring copious amounts of water and firefighting foam to douse the flames.

Nearly 70 firefighters under the command of LAFD Assistant Chief Ralph Terrazas were able to fully extinguish the blaze in just one hour. There were no injuries.

The fire was confined to the yard, damaging 105 autos. Fire loss was estimated at $450,000. The cause of the blaze is listed as under investigation.

Dispatched Units: E38 E49 E85 T85 E285 BC6 RA38 E36 E112 E248 T48 E264 T64 DC1 EM13 BC13 FT17 E17 T15 E215 E10 BC4 E11
Submitted by Katherine Main and Brian Humphrey, Spokespersons
Los Angeles Fire Department

Join the LAFD Golf Ball Drop

Monday, September 16, 2013 |

Join the LAFD Invitational Golf Ball Drop one week from today, Monday, September 23, 2013. Good fun benefiting a good cause at the MountainGate Country Club. Buy a ball and you could win big.

How does it work? In one, over the top-moment, thousands of individually numbered golf balls will rain down, quickly filling the hole. The three participants whose numbered golf balls go into the hole or fall closest to the hole will win these prizes (winner need not be present to win).

  • 1st Prize – $2,500 cash
  • 2nd Prize – 3-Day Baja Mexico Cruise for Two
  • 3rd Prize – HDTV
  • 4th Prize – Apple iPad
Download the entry form and enter today. All proceeds benefit the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund.

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Welcomes the 2014 World Firefighter Games to Los Angeles

Sunday, September 15, 2013 |

Did you hear? Firefighters from across America and the world will come to Los Angeles to participate in the 2014 World Firefighters Games. This is the first time the Games have been in the USA since 1992! 

This fun filled event raises the international profile of the fantastic work Emergency Responders do throughout the world, increases health and fitness awareness, boosts LA's economy, and will leave a lasting legacy.

The World Firefighters Games is one of the world’s largest participation sporting events, attracting thousands of competitors and their families, spectators and tourists to the 10-day sporting, entertainment and social spectacular.

This event is expected to attract more than 10,000 participants from across the globe to more than 50 competitions, including the competition’s flagship event, The Toughest Firefighter Alive.

 When: August 15-24 2014
Where: Downtown Los Angeles, California. Primarily at the Los Angeles Convention Center and at venues in close proximity to LA Live.

You don’t have to compete - just join as a spectator, or enjoy the Opening Ceremony, - its all about coming together to make new friends and renew old acquaintances in our shared commitment to making our communities safer.

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Fire at Sun Valley Business Sends Elderly Owner to the Hospital

Saturday, September 14, 2013 |

SUN VALLEY - On Saturday September 14, 2013,  Los Angeles Firefighters battled a blaze in a commercial building that seriously injured the business owner.

Large Sun Valley Fire Sends Business Owner to HospitalAt 11:18 AM, The Los Angeles Fire Department  responded to 10642 West Arminta Street. Firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke and fire coming from a 50' by 150' single story commercial building. Within minutes of the firefight explosives were heard. Fire companies made a coordinated retreat and a defensive fire attack ensued. Nearly 100 firefighters, under the command of Battalion Chief  Robert Takeshita fully extinguished the flames in just 36 minutes.

The 80 year old business owner sustained burn injuries and was transported to an area hospital in serious condition. The owner of  Hollywood Engineering, had been at this location for over 40 years, where reloading equipment for ammunition was fabricated.

 The blaze was confined to the building of fire origin and deemed unsafe by the Department of Building and Safety. Because of the close proximity, the owners residence was also red tagged. The American Red Cross assisted with temporary placement for 3 adults, and 2 dogs.

Monetary loss from the fire was estimated at $500,000 ($250,000 structure & $250,000 contents). Los Angeles Fire Department Arson Investigators determined the cause to be electrical in nature.
Dispatched Units: E77 E89 T89 E289 RA89 RA889 E60 T60 E260 BC12 BC10 E81 E239 T39 E86 E298 E98 T98 DC3 EM15 BC14 T88 E288 UR88 E27 UR27 BC5 E88 RA88 E227 T27 AR1 AR2

Submitted by Katherine Main, Spokesperson
Los Angeles Fire Department

Student Housing: Are You Asking the Right Questions?

Friday, September 13, 2013 |

As thousands of parents bid farewell to college-age children entering student housing at universities across our nation, the Los Angeles Fire Department joins the U.S. Fire Administration and Campus Firewatch in highlighting the life-taking danger that lurks in on- and off-campus living environments.

The horror of fire in a college setting is something that few discuss, yet a tragedy that has taken more than 150 lives in the past dozen years. It is something that these families will never forget:

Among the findings of a recent National Fire Data Center Report:

  • An estimated 3,800 U.S. university housing fires occur each year.
  • Eighty-eight percent of university housing fires are cooking fires.
  • University housing fires occur most frequently in late summer and fall.
  • Fires in September, October, and November account for 33 percent of all fires.
Clearly we can do better to prevent such fires, and prepare college students to survive them. Considering the risk, our friends at Campus Firewatch suggest you ask these 18 questions:

How many fires have occurred on campus in the past year? How about fires in off-campus student housing?
Schools are now required to track and report residence hall fires to the U.S. Department of Education.
Are the residence halls, Greek housing or off-campus housing equipped with an automatic fire sprinkler system?
Sprinklers provide a vital line of defense when it comes to controlling a fire. Many residence halls are not sprinklered – ask for your student to be put in sprinklered housing.
Does every student’s room have a smoke alarm? Does it send a signal to campus security or the fire department?
 Fire alarm systems will give everyone the warning that there is a fire, and let them know it is time to get out.
How many false alarms have occurred in the residence halls?
False alarms cause students to stop paying attention to the alarms, which can be a fatal decision. False alarms are avoidable, but only if the school takes action.
What are the disciplinary steps taken against anyone who causes a false alarm, doesn’t get out during an alarm or tampers with fire safety equipment?
Is the fire department immediately notified whenever any alarm system is activated?
Some schools investigate the alarm first and then notify the fire department, This delay can put more people at risk and be deadly. The fire department should be automatically notified of all alarms.
What items are prohibited in residence halls because of fire safety? Are smoking, candles, and Halogen lamps prohibited in the residence halls?
If not, they should be.
Does the school have policies that electrical appliances and power strips be certified as safe and reliable?
How much fire prevention training does the residence hall staff receive?
How often do the students themselves receive fire prevention education?
This should continue throughout the academic career, not just while they are living in the residence halls.
How often are evacuation drills conducted?
There should be at least one per semester.
How often are fire safety inspections of the residence halls and student rooms performed? Are the results made available to students and parents?
For off-campus housing, are there smoke alarms in each bedroom and on each level?
Are couches or upholstered furniture on the front porch or deck?
Many communities are banning these outright, as fires have started in couches and then rapidly spread into the house, killing those inside.
Make an informed decision when choosing both a school and student housing. Learn more today at:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Public Invited to Remember 9-11 in Los Angeles

Monday, September 09, 2013 |

We Shall Never ForgetIn many ways, it is hard to believe that twelve years have passed since our nation was savagely attacked on September 11, 2001. While time moves forward, it in no way lessens the resolve of firefighters who loudly pledge:

We Shall Never Forget!

The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department warmly welcome you to stand with them in fulfilling this pledge, as they gather for Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance events on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at five separate locations.

All are welcome to these solemn yet uplifting public ceremonies:

7:00 AM to 8:00 AM
9/11 Memorial Service
LAFD Museum and Fallen Firefighter Memorial
1355 North Cahuenga Boulevard
Hollywood, CA 90028

8:00 AM to 9:00 AM
9/11 Memorial Service
USS Iowa
250 South Harbor Boulevard
San Pedro, CA 90731

10:00 AM to Noon
City of Los Angeles 9/11 Memorial Service
World Trade Center Memorial
LAFD Frank Hotchkin Memorial Training Center
1700 North Stadium Way
Los Angeles, CA 90012

5:00 PM**
9/11 Remembrance Night
Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks
Dodger Stadium
1000 Elysian Park Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012

6:00 PM
Ceremony at 9/11 Memorial Fountain
LAFD Station 88
5101 North Sepulveda Boulevard
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

We hope you can join us for one or more of these events. If that is not possible, we kindly ask you to take time for quiet personal reflection or community service in remembrance of all who were killed in New York, Pennsylvania and Northern Virginia on September 11, 2001.

** Baseball game starts at 7:10 PM. Please arrive early at Dodger Stadium for pre-game ceremonies. Paid stadium admission for the game is required.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Intense Fire Leads to Collapse of Woodland Hills Home

Saturday, September 07, 2013 |

WOODLAND HILLS - On Saturday September 7, 2013 just before 8:00 PM, Los Angeles Firefighters rapidly made their way up narrow roads to 5219 Calatrana Drive. Arriving firefighters found heavy fire engulfing a three story hillside home and threatening nearby structures and brush.

Fire companies made an aggressive interior fire attack as water dropping helicopters surrounded and extinguished burning vegetation. 30 minutes into the firefight a coordination exit was ordered in anticipation of building collapse. 147 firefighters under the command of Assistant Chief Andrew Fox continued exterior operations until extinguishment in one hour and 25 minutes. Fast action by firefighters protected nearby structures and the blaze was confined to the 2,604 square foot, tri-level home.

Three adult occupants, who were not present at the time of the blaze, were displaced from the residence, which was completely destroyed.

During the firefight, limited access and egress, low water pressure, and high ambient temperatures proved challenging for firefighters. The topography of the area presented concerns with water flow to surrounding structures and salvage efforts minimized damage. Fire companies remained on scene throughout the night monitoring flare ups from smoldering materials beneath the collapsed walls.

One Firefighter sustained non life threatening injuries, he was assessed at the scene and returned to work. Dollar loss is still being tabulated and expected to be in excess of one million dollars. The cause of the fire remains under active investigation by the LAFD Arson Section.
Dispatched Units: E84 RA84 RA107 E305 T105 E72 E293 E93 T93 EM17 BC17 BC10 E100 E105 H0C H0F H4 H5 E90 E239 T39 E106 E104 E296 T96 E273 T73 DC3 BC14 E260 T60 E98 E107 E103 E288 T88 E70 AR2 BC9 BC12 UR88 T89 E289 UR89 RA89 RA889 E5 BC5 EA1 RA876 E93 RA72 T29 E229 E39 E60 T94 E294 E3 E21 T105 E305 E93 BC17 AR2 T98 E298 T93 E293
[ photos ]

Submitted by Katherine Main, Spokesperson
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Tenaciously Works to Save Pet Dog, Owner Shares Story

Wednesday, September 04, 2013 |

LOS ANGELES - On September 2, 2013, Los Angeles Firefighters tenaciously work to free a pet dog that was stuck. The loving owner shares her story and what she learned with others.

Samantha (fictitious name) began winding down from Labor Day and came into her backyard to find her dog Curry, a five year-old golden retriever, sadly with her head securely stuck in a pipe at the bottom of a barbecue smoker. 

"The top was covered with a metal lid, the door was latched, and the whole thing was covered with a BBQ cover. How she ever got herself into that situation is baffling." - Samantha
Curry, with her keen nose, sniffed her way to the barbecue and inside the large pipe on the bottom, getting her head stuck inside and her body outside the drum. The homeowner, unable to free their beloved pet, called upon their veterinarian and the Los Angeles Fire Department for help.

LAFD Tenaciously Works to Save Pet Dog, Owner Shares StoryThe barbecue oven, is somewhat elaborate and proved to create a rather extensive challenge for firefighters to remove her. Here's why...

It is large, heavy and dense, 35" high with a 13" opening in the top, with a 5" thick ceramic interior and a 1/4" thick stainless steel exterior. At the bottom is a 5" pipe that draws air in allowing the user to smoke meat over a long period of time. 

Firefighters from Station 71 quickly arrived and rapidly worked to remove the frantic dog. Shortly thereafter, firefighters from Station 88 assisted, including Urban Search & Rescue Specialists. While monitoring their radios for any emergency 9-1-1 calls in the area, they worked as a team, utilizing various tools from a shop-vac, pneumatic air chisel, to specialized hydraulic cutters and spreaders, for 1 1/2 hours until the conscious but fading Curry was freed.

Once out, he was quickly secured and transported by private auto with the veterinarian to their hospital for further evaluation. She seemed to have promising vital signs.

Today we received a very considerate email, however it saddened our day. Curry, described as a "smart, funny, beautiful and joyous dog"... who "quickly won our hearts", passed away at the veterinarian hospital, despite their outstanding efforts.

Even though there was a tragic ending to this incident, Samantha took the time to write these words which she agreed to share. 
"The only reason Curry had a fighting chance to improve at the hospital, was because of the quick response, capability, determination, leadership, teamwork and kindness shown by the numerous firefighters who came to rescue her. I saw how hard they worked for about 1 1/2 hours with a nearly impossible situation, and how they were able to free her. When they needed more help they didn't hesitate to call for more help. They gave her water, oxygen, tried to get her head back through the pipe, and when they realized it wasn't possible, they cut through 1/4" stainless steel and cut away the 3" thick wall of clay, cut through the 1/4" thick stainless metal pipe, used the jaws of life to pry apart the metal, all the while vacuuming up the clay dust created in the oven so that she could breathe. There was the firefighter who kept her calm through the whole ordeal. I can't tell you how impressed I was with the attention every one of the firefighters gave to our dog and how careful they were with her. Our family will forever be thankful for all that the brave firefighters did to help Curry, and that they persevered so that she didn't die in that situation in front of our young teenage sons."  
Samantha went on to share this humble teachable lesson that we felt would be of benefit...
"There are several things I have learned from this that I hope might help other pet owners. The first is to carefully go over your BBQ area where there has been cooking even from a month prior as I believe was in our case, that might be of interest to a pet, and see if there is any danger to a pet. Even if you can't imagine your dog putting her head through a small hole or pipe, if there is the smell of food involved, she may just be tempted enough to do it. Or, she could run into the same problem chasing a lizard or small animal. A fixed metal mesh in our case covering the pipe would have been good. The little metal door covering the vent wasn't enough; Curry figured out how to unlatch it."
LAFD Tenaciously Works to Save Pet Dog, Owner Shares Story"The other thing I learned is that heat stroke is a huge risk to a dog and has irreversible problems associated with it. Since they can't sweat as humans do, and they have all that fur, they regulate their heat by panting. In our case, even though it was late afternoon and Curry was in the shade, lying on cool bricks, and the surrounding air wasn't hot, Curry still had problems cooling herself which I hadn't appreciated. Breathing was difficult for her... and the shock of what was going on was likely raising her temperature... I plan to explore ways I could have helped her to keep her temperature down so that I may help if I ever encounter another similar situation. I have read that lukewarm but not cold water... and also a fan could help... I welcome any thoughts or suggestion as I know I can always learn more."
Your Los Angeles Firefighters encourage that while surveying your home for National Preparedness Month take simple steps to ensure it is Pet Safe from other unforseen incidents.

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Public Safety BBQ in Downtown Los Angeles

Tuesday, September 03, 2013 |

Los Angeles Public Safety Appreciation BarbecuePlease join the Los Angeles Fire Department this Friday, September 6, 2013 from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM in Downtown Los Angeles for the 14th Annual Public Safety Appreciation Barbecue.

Hosted by the Downtown Los Angeles Center Business Improvement District, this public event honors the men and women of LAFD, LAPD, CHP, FBI, the Sheriff's Department and other public safety agencies.

Conveniently held at Fig at 7th (located at 735 South Figueroa Street), this barbecue lunch features Downtown's most delectable fare:

All are welcome. We encourage use of the Metro Red Line, Metro Purple Line, Metro Blue Line or Metro Expo Line, which all serve the nearby "7th Street/Metro Center" Station. DASH Downtown Shuttles also serve the intersection of 7th Street and Figueroa Street, home to Fig at 7th. There is plenty of bicycle parking.

For those who wish to drive, there is easy-to-access hourly parking nearby.

This year, your simple $9 admission supports the renowned Sheriff's Youth Foundation, providing young people with safe facilities, planned programs and the vital tools they need to thrive and succeed in life.

The most important aspect of this event is an opportunity for us to meet and thank you. So please mark your calendar and plan to join us this Friday, September 6th for a great BBQ lunch.

For more information and a full list of sponsors, visit downtownla.com/public-safety-bbq-2013.asp - or call the Downtown Center Business Improvement District at (213) 624-2146.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Neighborhood Firefighters Stress BBQ Safety

Sunday, September 01, 2013 |

The seasonal migration to decks, balconies and backyards continues, as Americans fire up gas and charcoal grills. With an increase in outdoor recreation comes a spike in barbecue fires. To keep your family safe, the Los Angeles Fire Department and U.S. Fire Administration offer simple tips for outside cooking safety.

Use All Barbecue Grills Safely:
  • Never leave a barbecue grill unattended.
  • Place the grill away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill. Have a 3-foot "kid-free zone".
  • Use long-handled grilling tools to give yourself clearance from heat and flames.
  • Keep the grill clean. Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, and know how to use it.
  • Use only outdoors! Grills used indoors or in an enclosed space, such as a tent, poses an extreme risk for fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Charcoal Grills:
  • Purchase the proper starter fluid and store out of reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited, and never use any flammable liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the fire going.
  • Dispose of charcoal coals only after they are cool. Empty the coals into a metal container with a tight-fitting lid that is used only to collect coals. Place the container away from anything that can burn. Never empty coals directly into a trash can.
Propane Grills:
  • Never store propane cylinders in buildings or garages.
  • Follow the manufacturers' instructions on how to set up and maintain the grill.
  • Check the propane cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will reveal escaping propane quickly by releasing bubbles.
  • If your grill has a gas leak by smell or soapy bubble test - and there is no flame:
    • Turn off the propane tank and grill.
    • If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
    • If the leak does not stop, call the Fire Department.
    • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
  • Light a propane grill only with the cover open.
Watch What You Heat...
  • Lack of proper attention is the leading cause of cooking fires.
  • Keep potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, bags, food packaging and towels away.
  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves. Loose clothing can dangle and catch fire.
  • Do not cook if you are sleepy, drinking alcohol or taking medicine that makes you drowsy.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department