On April 15, 2013, just after 2:00 AM, firefighters arrived at 3390 West San Marino Street, to find fire coming from the attic of a three story U-shaped apartment building. An aggressive fire attack was made on this 100’ by 300’, 81 year old structure. Initial concerns of occupants at this early morning blaze were put at ease when it was confirmed to be a vacant building under renovation. A thorough search continued during the fire fight to ensure there were also no transients inside. This massive structure proved challenging with the attic fully involved in fire, compromised stairwells, and debris that spread fire throughout all floors.
Firefighters aggressively fought this blaze from the interior while additional companies provided vertical ventilation on the roof. After nearly an hour of intense flames, the remaining uncut sections of roof began to sag. Firefighters were immediately evacuated from the compromised roof, without incident.
LAFD fire companies, under the command of Assistant Chief Ralph Terrazas, had the bulk of the fire extinguished in 90 minutes. Companies remained on scene for several hours to perform a complete overhaul.
The Department of Building and Safety, “Red Tagged” the structure, deeming it unsafe for entry. The dollar loss is still being tabulated. The cause of this early morning fire remains under active investigation by the LAFD Arson Counter Terrorism Section, who is considering it suspicious in nature. The injured firefighter sustained minor, non life threatening injuries.
A 20-year-old man who suffered burns over more than 70 percent of his body was fighting for his life this (Thursday) morning after being pulled from a burning apartment in North Hollywood, a fire department official said.
The fire was reported at 10:44 p.m. Wednesday in a first-floor unit in the rear of an apartment building at 6737 Denny Ave., near Vanowen Street and Bob Hope Airport, said Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Thirty-seven firefighters under the command of Battalion Chief Peter Benesch mounted a tenacious fire attack with simultaneous search that led to the dramatic rescue of a 20 year-old pulseless and non-breathing man from the intensely burning apartment.
A relentless resuscitation effort by a trio of LAFD Paramedics ensued and continued during ambulance transport, as the veteran rescuers leveraged decades of experience to restore a heartbeat and respiration to the man, who had sustained second- and third-degree burns to more than 70% of his body.
“Though he remains in critical condition, the efforts of LAFD rescuers have given this man a fighting chance of survival” said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey.
No other injuries were reported.
Monetary loss from the fire, which was confined to the one heavily damaged apartment, is still being tabulated. The cause of the blaze remains under a joint active investigation by Los Angeles Police officials and Investigators from the LAFD Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section.
Video from firelensman of a fire early Christmas morning at MLK and Denker in Los Angeles. At 3:50 an LAFD firefighter had to deal with a woman who drove into the scene over a supply line almost to the front of the building. According to the description, the women was distraught about two guard dogs who were apparently okay. They can be seen running around in the video.
“Firefighters did have a heave fire load when they arrived on scene. Immediately they engaged in an aggressive fire attack, where firefighters forced entry into the building, they used hand lines inside and then firefighters when to the roof in order to do ventilation,” said Captain Jaime Moore of the L.A. City Fire Department.
The fire continued to intensify, as four ladders were brought in to douse from above.
“They placed anywhere between 1,500 to 2,000 gallons of water per minute each on the fire,” Moore said. “What we did there was actually control the fire from spreading to the adjacent structures.”
While filming the premiere episode of Pet Sense, Yogi the “cleaning-supply-hating” Corgi bit into a spray can, which led to an explosive kitchen fire captured on video.
We’re pleased to say the 8 year-old pet, humans and Los Angeles household survived the interaction between flammable paint fumes and a kitchen ignition source. Yogi’s owner Hali Hudson explains more in a thought-provoking interview video that followed the fire.
A fire service leader in providing news to the public about its daily activities suddenly shut down the information flow on Sunday only to be told to turn the spigot on again. The news media started learning this week that the Los Angeles Fire Department, on orders of Chief Brian Cummings, was no longer providing key basic information about incidents, including the location of the response. This comes in the wake of an ongoing controversy about the department’s release of response time data that was not accurate. By late Wednesday, after complaints about the new policy, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had overruled the chief, for now.
LAFD’s Media and Public Relations Office has long been at the forefront of providing information about ongoing incidents and the inner workings of the department through many platforms, including the Internet and social media. The LAFD News & Information site, as of late Wednesday night, still has the original order from Chief Cummings that was posted on Tuesday:
The following has been issued from the Office of the Fire Chief, Brian L. Cummings:
The City Council has designated the City of Los Angelesas a “hybrid entity” under the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 due to the Department’s status as a health care provider. As a hybrid entity, the Department must comply with HIPAA and is only permitted to release Protected Health Information (PHI) for the purposes of treatment, billing and operations under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, without the patient’s permission. In 2009, the President approved additional Federal legislation that increased civil and criminal penalties for the unauthorized disclosure of PHI.
The Department is currently seeking written advice from the City Attorney relative to the release of incident specific PHI to a variety of internal and external sources including elected officials, commissions, the media and associated stakeholders.
The City Attorney has preliminarily opined that the Department should immediately cease the practice of releasing PHI to any source not specifically authorized under the Privacy Rule’s treatment, billing and operations exemption. I realize that this practice will significantly impact the manner in which the Department provides updates and notifications to a wide variety of stakeholders. As the Department receives additional written advice from the City Attorney regarding specific issues, I will ensure that this information and the Department’s procedures will be forwarded for your information.
BRIAN L. CUMMINGS
Earlier this week the LAFD Breaking News widget had details about fires but provided no address information. After Mayor Villagairosa stepped in locations of incidents are again being transmitted.
Below is news coverage of this controversy with excerpts of article both before and after Mayor Villaraigosa stepped in.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has ordered the fire department to stop a new policy of withholding key information on emergencies.
A letter Wednesday from Villaraigosa tells Fire Chief Brian Cummings to wait for the city attorney’s opinion before implementing the policy.
City News Service says the LAFD announced Tuesday that they had already begun limiting the release of information like locations of incidents and injury information in order to conform to federal medical privacy laws.
Villaraigosa said in response that the department needs “more transparency, not less,” and it is “our duty to provide information to the media and the public.”
City and fire officials had already been butting heads in recent days over the department’s new methods of counting fast responses to emergency calls.
“At a time when the Los Angeles Fire Department needs more transparency, not less, I am directing you to immediately resume releasing information that provides LAFD incident specifics without violating federal law,” Villaraigosa said in a letter sent to Fire Chief Brian Cummings this afternoon.
The department began limiting the information — such as incident locations and injury information — over the weekend to conform with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, a medical privacy law.
The policy change caused a strong backlash by City Council members and news organizations, who argued the information was necessary for public safety reasons.
The mayor’s unusually blunt order came after a day in which council members criticized the department for halting its years-long practice of providing the public with basic rescue response details, including times, locations and the nature of emergencies, as well as the age and gender of victims.
The sudden change in disclosure was announced earlier this week, even as the department struggled to reassure the public and city lawmakers about response time reports that made it appear that rescuers were getting to people in crisis faster than they actually were. A malfunctioning dispatching system that has delayed help for some victims in recent weeks has added to the department’s woes.
The mayor’s directive marks the first time since the controversy began that Villaraigosa has publicly broken ranks with Fire Chief Brian Cummings and his policies.
Citing a federal medical privacy law, the Los Angeles Fire Department announced today it would no longer provide the public with basic information about fires, medical calls, traffic accidents or other emergencies it responds to.
LAFD public information officers contacted by City News Service today about various fire calls — including a vehicle shearing a fire hydrant in North Hills and a collision between a food truck and a car in downtown Los Angeles that sent two people to hospitals — said they were not permitted to provide any information, including the locations of the crashes. In the case of the downtown collision, a spokesman refused to even confirm a wreck had occurred, even though footage of the crash had already been shown on at least one television news station.
The policy apparently took effect Sunday, when the LAFD began omitting the addresses from media alerts it circulates about fires or other incidents to which crews are dispatched.
For example, a media alert issued Saturday by the LAFD specified that fire crews had responded to a fire at 936 W. 49th St.
By Sunday, the department’s media alert about a reported fire in a three-story apartment complex included no address or general location of the blaze.
Cummings said the department is subject to the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly known as HIPAA, “and is only permitted to release Protected Health Information for the purposes of treatment, billing and operations under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, without the patient’s permission.”
Above is helmet-cam video from the first of two fires last year at a pair of United Alloy and Metals facilities on East Slauson Avenue. The fires were a month apart and each included multiple explosions involving titanium. The first incident was on June 11.
That I can see, there are two explosions caught on the video above. The first is at 2:04 and the second at 3:30.
On Friday, June 11, 2010 at 11:00 AM, 36 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 16 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 2 Arson Units, 1 Urban Search and Rescue Unit, 2 Hazardous Materials Teams, 1 Helicopter, 4 EMS Battalion Captains, 7 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 248 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel, as well as Los Angeles County Fire Department staff responding in Mutual Aid, all under the direction of LAFD Deputy Chief Mario Rueda, responded to a Major Emergency Industrial Fire at 900 East Slauson Avenue in South Los Angeles.
Responding to numerous cell phone callers providing non-specific information regarding one or more explosions and a well-established fire, Los Angeles Firefighters quickly arrived at United Alloys and Metals to find heavy fire at an industrial facility known for processing titanium and super alloy scrap.
Firefighters came to the immediate aid of a worker critically injured by an earlier explosion and fire, as they brought huge volumes of water to bear upon intense flames encompassing a 150' x 100' area that included titanium shavings in large bins and containers.
Despite the challenge of subsequent explosions and resultant precautions, the first arriving 160 firefighters were able to tame the blaze in just 2 hours and 22 minutes.
Along with the critically injured civilian, one Los Angeles Police Officer suffered a minor injury during the course of the fire. Both were taken to an area hospital by LAFD Ambulance.
Los Angeles explosion raw video: The video of the explosion that left three firefighters and a TV photographer injured has been sitting in the STATter911.com video player since yesterday morning (thanks to WUSA9.com’s Emily Cyr). Click the image above if you haven’t seen it. Emily cut out the sound because of some language issues. Here’s a longer versions with the shots leading up to and after the blast. Being on the road yesterday I didn’t have time to write about the fire at a firm that makes titanium golf clubs, but Bill Schumm did at Firegeezer.
Seven hours to change a flat: The Memphis Fire Department found out the hard way that the city no longer had anyone under contract to change tires on its fire trucks. Here’s the story.
Firehouse water battle leads to chief’s arrest: Assistant Chief Jason Ober faces assault, harassment and disorderly conduct charges when a water battle went awry at the Richland Township Fire Department in Cambria County, Pennsylvania. News accounts indicate firefighters were cleaning up from an event around 3:00 AM on June 27. They had been throwing water at each other and dunking people in a tub of ice water that held the beer. As Ober was carried toward the tub he broke free and broke bad leaving one firefighter bloodied. Read details.
Mayor thinks laid off firefighters could be source of female candidates: The mayor of Haverhill, Massachusetts has his eye on 23 recently laid-off firefighters from Lawrence, specifically the two women who lost their jobs. Mayor James Fiorentini, sensitive to the fact his department is all male, says he is asking for a ruling on gender specific hiring. Read more.
I guess this is one where you can’t say they will come down from the tree when they get hungry: It wasn’t a cat stuck in a tree that brought out firefighters in the U.K. This time it was a little boy about 40-feet above the ground. Here are the details.
More raw video of early rescues at Manhattan 7-alarm fire: We started following this one before midnight with the live audio and the first citizen YouTube videos. We now have lots more video (including another view of the early rescues and a spectacular HD clip at the height of the fire) from the fire at 283 Grand Street that left at least three resident and two dozen firefighters injured. Fireground audio has also been added. Click here for our coverage. Also, WUSA9.com’s Emily Cyr put together a slideshow of images from the fire.
Annapolis chief reluctantly suggests cutting staff: Chief Doug Remaley admits it will reduce response times, but sees cutting staff as a better alternative than slashing supply and training budgets. Read the story.
Some must see vintage video: I am sure many of you have seen this 1991 video from Springfield, Massachusetts showing a very close call for a firefighter from Rescue 1. I hadn’t. It is well worth a second look.
Controversy in Baltimore over firefighter’s injury and PIO comments: IAFF Local 734 has been cranking out the press releases as one of its members, Firefighter/Paramedic Jeffrey Novack is on the mend from last week’s fire at 3910 Liberty Heights Avenue. The union makes the case that “firehouse roulette’” played a contributing role in the injuries to Novack and civilians rescued from the apartment fire next to the firehouse. PIO Kevin Cartwright questions that claim and becomes the subject of a follow-up press release. We have all the details here.
Second-alarm in Perth Amboy, New Jersey: Raw video from a fire on Friday, plus a recent demonstration on staffing for the political leaders of the town. Click here.
Two-tiered troubles: In Flagstaff, Arizona the Daily Sun’s editorial board looks at various possibilities for the future of EMS responses in tight budget times. This comes after the paper ran recent articles looking at how fire, police and Guardian Medical Transport all have a role in EMS. Here’s the editorial. The articles are here and here.
Women make Houston history: In case you missed it, in the middle of continuing issues over its dealings with women firefighters, the Houston Fire Department had its first all female engine crew running last week. Check it out.
Another firefighter arson case: There seems to be a lot of them making the news again. This time it is in Central City, Pennsylvania where a firefighter has been arrested for a fire in a vacant structure Saturday morning. Here’s the story.
A veteran Los Angeles city firefighter, who trains firefighters in swift water rescue. had to be rescued himself. Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said the incident occurred near the Jensen Filtration plant in Mission Hills this afternoon.
Firefighter Dave Danielson was conscious and breathing when as he was airlifted to a hospital. Danielson has already been released and has talked to reporters (below):
A Los Angeles City Firefighter is in the hospital after getting trapped under the water in a concrete aqueduct during a swift water rescue training session today. The 40-year-old FF was rescued by his colleagues near a filtration plant. The firefighter was conscious and breathing following the close call when as he was airlifted to a hospital and is expected to survive.
Brian Humphrey, LAFD’s PIO says all of their Firefighters go through the training at the plant to prepare for swift water rescues in the city’s hundreds of miles of flood control channels. The Firefighters take turns rescuing each other and the man who was caught under water was one of the trainers running the exercise.
One of the more interesting videos I have seen recently: Have to give Jason Thomas at Firefighter Spot credit for finding this. The photographer springs into action and moves a police car blocking the way as firefighters in Maple Shade, New Jersey pull up to a motel fire on Sunday. In Part 2 you will see where the cops were. Check out the third floor as they break out windows, apparently looking for victims.
A top doc socks it to DC Fire & EMS over child death: It is only two paragraphs long, but Monday’s letter to the editor in the Washington Post from Dr. Joseph Wright packs a wallop. You will want to take a look at the doctor’s credentials in the field of pediatric emergency medicine as it relates to EMS. Dr. Wright not only questions what happened in the recent death of 2-year-old Stephanie Stephens, he is critical of how the system generally provides pediatric pre-hospital care. The DC Fire & EMS Department stands on its record of improvements since Mayor Adrian Fenty’s task force provided an outline for the future of EMS following the 2006 death of former New York Times reporter David Rosenbaum. Dr. Wright looked at Stephens’ death as a “pediatric Rosenbaum”. Click here for our coverage.
Long Island fire chief & FDNY member accused of “vigilante” justice: Hempstead Fire Department Chief Michael Charles. who is a retired NYPD detective, and FDNY’s Brian Schuck from Ladder 111, are accused of stopping and searching a pedestrian at gun point and then letting them go. The men were in the fire SUV. The incident happened after shots rang out near the Hempstead firehouse. Schuck has been suspended without pay. Read and watch the story and here.
Pay attention to this report and you can get rid of STATter911.com: The Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association is trying to put this blog out of business and I am helping them. It is called reputation management and the CVVFA folks put together a special report on how some firefighters are tarnishing the image of the fire service. They even asked me to give them some insight on the awful stories I cover. Forget my role and just read the document. Here it is.
Speaking of reputations – it doesn’t look like Chicago’s mayor is ready to help salvage the fire commissioner’s image: The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting Mayor Richard Daley “conspicuously refused today to give embattled Fire Commissioner John Brooks a vote of confidence”. Brooks, accused of sexual harassment, made this memorable statement to the Sun-Times:
I do not proposition women. I don’t have to. Women usually proposition me. God has blessed me like that.
Los Angeles City Council has second thoughts on cutting ambulance service to save money: The plan is to stop using 10 of the department’s ambulances during night time hours. But after hearing testimony the council is getting cold feet. Here is the story.
Smoking ban for new firefighters rejected: In Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin the police and fire commission is bucking the trend and said no to a new tobacco free policy for newly hired firefighters. Check out the story.
Exploding cell phone: It wasn’t even plugged in, according to a family and firefighters in Seffner, Florida. Here’s the story.
Fire chief lays down the law over accidental fire: Actually that’s this chief’s name, Jonathan Law. He’s the chief of Oklahoma’s Nescatunga Fire Department. Chief Law told the Alva Review/Courier, “I will not stand for such kinds of incidents” after a firefighter accidentally started a small grass fire. Here’s the story.
The Fire Critic has lost his mind: Where The Fire PIO yesterday had one of the more interesting blog postings I have seen in a while, our friend in Roanoke has gone far in the other direction. There will be nothing socially redeeming in Rhett’s Top Ten Best/Funniest Firefighter Dance Videos, but I am sure you will get a few laughs. That also pretty much describes my first encounter with Rhett at the blogger meetup on Friday. Click here to see what I am talking about.
Watch our latest videos over here >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
UPDATED – Close call in Fairfax County, VA at scene of now double fatal fire: (Click here for slideshow from fire.) PIO Dan Schmidt confirms the bodies of two men were found inside a burning home on Heming Avenue in North Springfield this morning. Earlier three firefighters from Station 422 ran into trouble when the kitchen floor began collapsing around them. Other firefighters assisted them in getting out safely. Schmidt says one firefighter has been hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. All firefighters were accounted for. The fire was reported around 6:40 AM. We will have more later, including video.
Dead, not dead: Firefighters in Prince George’s County, Maryland thought they were doing body recovery early Sunday morning on I-95. The “body” in the burned out car started breathing and things quickly reverted to a rescue operation. We have the details, fireground audio, and a timeline. Click here for our coverage.
More PGFD news – Shake-up at the top: In November, Chief Eugene Jones said about Lt. Colonel Victor Stagnaro, “You are growing into the leader I always believed you had the capacity for” as he gave the 24-year veteran “a rare and prestigious” department award. Yesterday, Chief Jones gave Stagnaro something else: his walking papers. According to Chief Jones, Stagnaro “indicated his intent to retire”. But numerous other sources familiar with what happened at the Largo Government Center tell STATter911.com the chief’s executive officer presented Stagnaro with a letter telling him his last day is February 12. Click here for more on this story.
Close Call #1: This is the "before" picture a neighbor snapped just prior to two firefighters falling through the roof of this burning Phoenix home on Monday. The firefighters were not injured. Police say the house was set on fire by an 18-year-old who had assaulted his parents. Click the image to see more pictures and watch the story.
NEW – Virginia Task Force 1 heading home Thursday: That’s the plan today for the return of the urban search and rescue team from Northern Virginia. They have been in Haiti for two weeks and are now assisting with humanitarian efforts after helping to rescue 16 people who were trapped in the rubble of the earthquake.
More from Memphis: A TV station is into its second week of reports on the Memphis Fire Department. WLMT-TV has been looking at the department’s hiring practices, the number of firefighters who have been arrested and allegations of discrimination over who gets to keep their job and who doesn’t. The latest installment is here. Click here to see what you missed earlier.
New talk of major FDNY cuts: Firehouses and firefighters are again being discussed for possible cuts as mayor’s staff and the new fire commissioner meet on budget issues. Read more.
911 system in DC getting scrutiny after gun is pulled on council member: A fire truck was the first on the scene to assist Council member Yvette Alexander last week when she interupted an armed robbery. There are questions about the accurate relay of information and the timeliness of the response. Read more.
Close Call #2: Three firefighters inside as explosion lifts roof off home during fire in Wells, Minnesota. The chief says he was blown 3-feet out of a door. The firefighters weren't hurt. Click the picture by Brie Cohen for details and more pictures from the Albert Lea Tribune.
Former Columbus, Ohio firefighter who killed dogs walks out of hearing because of TV camera: The latest on David Santuomo, who left the two dead dogs in a dumpster behind a firehouse in December, 2008, is that the Civil Service Commission dismissed the appeal of his firing because the former firefighter wasn’t present. News reports indicate Santuomo got up and left when he saw the camera being set up. You may recall Santuomo executed the dogs because he didn’t want to pay kennel fees while on vacation. Read more.
LAFD defends dog rescue: The Los Angeles Fire Department stands by the decision to commit resources to last Friday’s dog rescue in the L.A. River that left a firefighter with dog bites. Read more. Earlier coverage here and here.
Mayor is shocked: Paramus, New Jersey Mayor James Tedesco is also a volunteer firefighter. Responding on a call for a downed power line, the firefighting mayor touched a fence that had come in contact with the wire. He is okay. Read more.
House fire in New Jersey: This is from yesterday in Oradell in Bergen County.
The LAFD firefighter seen across the country dangling from a helicopter and jumping into the Los Angeles River to save a dog talks about the rescue. Joe St. Georges was bitten a number of times by the dog as the firefighter scooped him out of the water.