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Smoke Alarms Absent in Sylmar Fire That Claims 4 Lives

Monday, January 13, 2014 |

SYLMAR - A fire in a barn-like Sylmar residence claimed four lives Monday.

Alerted at 4:37 AM on January 13, 2014 to investigate smoke near Polk Street and Eldridge Avenue in Sylmar, Los Angeles Fire Department crews quickly discovered a well involved two story metal clad barn-like residence to the rear of 13781 Eldridge Avenue.


Despite the challenge of steady wind at 15 miles-per-hour that gusted to 30 and fanned the flames, Los Angeles Firefighters mounted a bold interior offense with hose lines, entering the first floor to search for and rescue four unresponsive occupants from thick smoke conditions.

As the fight continued against heavy flames in the separate and unoccupied unit above, teams of Firefighter/Paramedics commenced advanced life support on the four pulseless and non-breathing victims, described as a man, woman and their pre-teen son and daughter - who had unsuccessfully sought refuge or escape from the fire.

The four were taken by LAFD ambulance to area hospitals in grave condition, where the man and children died Monday morning. The woman succumbed to her injuries later that day.

No other injuries were reported.

The first arriving thirty-five Los Angeles Firefighters under the command of Battalion Chief Charles Combs were able to confine flames to the haphazardly constructed duplex, fully extinguishing the blaze in just 25 minutes.

LAFD responders found no evidence of smoke alarms in the residence, according to Chief Combs. The City's Department of Building and Safety has joined the LAFD Bureau of Fire Prevention and Public Safety in an effort to determine the structure's overall code compliance.

Monetary loss from the fire is still being tabulated. The cause of the early morning blaze remains under active investigation by Los Angeles Fire Department Investigators.
Dispatched Units: E91 E15 RA91 E298 T98 RA898 E275 T75 BC12 E98 E287 T87 RA98 EM15 RA75 E18 RA18 E290 T90 DC3 EM14 EM17 EM9 BC10 T89 E289 E89 UR89 RA89 RA889 UR88 BC14 AR2 RA77 AR7 AR9 AR12 AR21 AR23 AR11 BC15 AR14
Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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