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December 17, 2021
Here’s the latest news impacting Los Angeles Firefighters…

UFLAC Mourns LAFD Captain I William R. James
We are deeply saddened by the Active-Duty death of Captain I William R. James. Our deepest condolences to the many friends and family members of Captain “Bill” James. Bill is survived by his wife, daughter, and son. Captain James was hired in 2000 and was currently assigned to Fire Station 85 “C”.

Photo by Austin Gebhardt
Greater Alarm Fire Tears Through North Hollywood Commercial Park
A greater alarm fire tore through a row of commercial buildings in North Hollywood Monday afternoon. It took about 100 firefighters to knock down the blaze in the 6200 block of North Laurel Canyon Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The fire shut down portions of Laurel Canyon Boulevard, and drivers were advised to avoid the area. The blaze broke out at about 3:30 Monday afternoon and was contained by 4:20 p.m., said Brian Humphrey, fire department spokesman.

Storm Forces Multiple Rescue Attempts in Fast-Flowing LA River
The strong storm that hit the Southland Tuesday flooded the Los Angeles River and forced multiple rescue attempts between downtown L.A. north to Sylmar. At least three empty vehicles were found floating down the fast-moving river. “Our swift water rescue team has been bouncing from call to call,” LAFD Capt. Erik Scott told CBSLA. At around 5:40 a.m., L.A. Fire Department crews responded to a rollover in the 2600 block of East Washington Boulevard in downtown L.A. to find a crashed car against a concrete pylon in the river. Crews prepared for a rescue effort, but the car was empty and no victim was found. Crews then rushed to Boyle Heights, were a man was refusing to get out of the river, and firefighters had to ensure the man was safe, Scott said. Later, a second car was discovered floating downstream. It also ended up next to the same concrete pylon as the first car under the Washington Boulevard bridge. Later in the morning, a third car was then discovered floating downstream.

Over 80 Firefighters Battle Sun Valley Blaze
For over two hours, 87 firefighters battled flames Wednesday at a commercial building in Sun Valley before taking control of the fire. Fire crews responded at approximately 11:30 p.m. Tuesday to 8142 N. Sunland Blvd. where they found a two-story structure with heavy flames and began defensive operations due to the intensity of the fire, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Nicholas Prange. Firefighters used at least four ladder pipes during the operation, Prange said. The majority of the fire was knocked down by 1:37 a.m. but firefighters remained on scene to access the remaining pockets of fire within the debris and LAFD Heavy Equipment was called in to assist, Prange said.

Man calls 911 after getting swept into L.A. River in Sylmar area
A man who fell into the Los Angeles River Tuesday morning was rescued after holding on to his cell phone and communicating with firefighters. Dispatchers received a 9-1-1 call from the man while he was in the L.A. River near Sylmar High School just before 8 a.m., the Los Angeles Fire Department said in an alert. The 26-year-old man was swept into a covered channel of the river. He was able to maintain his cell phone to communicate with dispatchers, LAFD said. A fire engine on the street above continued to honk, as firefighters removed maintenance hole covers in the street. The victim reported by phone when he could hear the honk nearby, and firefighters carried out the rescue through that maintenance hole.

Fire Watch
Suspect Barricades Himself in Burning Sherman Way Building
A fire broke out Monday morning as a SWAT Team surrounded a Van Nuys apartment building where an assault suspect was holed up, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Several animals were injured or died in the blaze, which caused extensive damage to the building. It was not immediately clear what caused the fire, but the barricaded suspect was eventually taken into custody and hospitalized with burn injuries. Some residents in the complex were evacuated, and some had been asked to shelter in place amid the chaos. The blaze was reported late Monday morning in the three-story building in the 14300 block of West Sherman Way, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

First Responder News
Boy Killed in Wilmington Shooting; Young Girl on School Playground Critically Wounded by Stray Bullet
A 12-year-old boy was killed and two others were wounded – including a 9-year-old girl who was playing on a school playground — in a shooting in Wilmington Monday afternoon. The incident occurred at approximately 4:45 p.m. in the area of Eubank Avenue and East Denni Street, near Wilmington Park Elementary School. According to Los Angeles police, a 30-year-old woman and boy were sitting in an SUV on Denni Street when multiple suspects ambushed them and opened fire. Both were struck by the gunfire, along with a girl who was hit by a stray bullet while on a playground on school property, police said. “They were approached by at least two people who opened fire,” LAPD Capt. Adrian Gonzalez told reporters. “The vehicle is riddled with bullets, we are still processing the scene.” The wounded woman sped away from the scene and called 911. She was met by L.A. Fire Department crews on Eubank Avenue. All three victims were rushed to hospitals, where the boy died.

Body Found in Confined Space Under Freeway in Mid-City Area
A person was found dead in a small space at an overpass in the Mid-City area of Los Angeles Wednesday. The person was found wedged “in an overpass void space” under the Santa Monica (10) Freeway in the area of 5917 W. Burchard Ave. just before 4:50 p.m., according to Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department. LAFD crews were preparing to remove the body from the confined space to allow for a Los Angeles Police Department and coroner’s office investigation into the person’s death.

Man fatally struck by Metro train at Hollywood station
A man was fatally struck by a Metro Red Line train Sunday night in Hollywood. The victim became trapped under the train, according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey. The crash happened at the station at 6250 Hollywood Blvd. around 8:15 p.m., according to Humphrey. Firefighters located the trapped man and discovered he was dead, Humphrey said. The man's name will be withheld pending notification of next of kin. Firefighters were in the process of removing the body, Humphrey said.

Photo by Ismael Miranda
Woman flees scene of Lake Balboa chain-reaction crash that left 2 people injured
A woman is being sought after fleeing the scene of a crash in Lake Balboa that left two people seriously injured, police said Tuesday. The crash was reported about 9:45 p.m. Monday near the intersection of Balboa Boulevard and Sherman Way, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The driver of a 2014 Hyundai SUV heading east on Sherman Way at a high rate of speed allegedly ran a red light and crashed into a Honda CRV heading south on Balboa Boulevard, police said. “The force of this collision caused another two vehicles to be hit as a result of the initial collision,” LAPD said in a news release. Both vehicles were stopped at the intersection when the crash occurred. The SUV driver then left her vehicle at the scene and took off on foot without stopping to help any of the victims, police said. Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to the scene and transported two people from the CRV. Both victims remain hospitalized in serious condition, officials said.

Two People Critically Injured in Collision in South Los Angeles
Two people were critically injured when they were struck by a vehicle and became trapped underneath it in South Los Angeles tonight. The collision occurred about 8:35 p.m. in the area of 8539 S. Vermont Ave., near Manchester Avenue and the Harbor (110) Freeway, according to Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department. The two pedestrians were taken to a hospital in critical condition.

Underground Explosion Shatters Windows at North Hollywood Apartment
An explosion in an underground electrical vault damaged an apartment building Thursday morning in North Hollywood. The explosion was reported below a 32,000-square foot apartment building in the 5600 block of North Farmdale Avenue. At least one unit's windows were damaged in the blast at the three-story building. "The forceful blast, heard over a wide area, as well as concrete debris from the electrical vault's lid, caused damage to the eve line of the structure and broke multiple apartment windows," the Los Angeles Fire Department said in a statement.

Photo courtesy of the LAFD
Driver Survives Plunge into Reseda Flood Control Channel
The driver of a mid-size sedan amazingly sustained only minor injuries, when their vehicle failed to stop at a t-shaped intersection in the 7000 block of Crebs Avenue, tore through a fence and plummeted more than 20 feel into the concrete lined Aliso Canyon Wash, just before dawn on December 4, 2021. Los Angeles Fire Department responders provided on-scene care before utilizing an aerial ladder in a crane-like fashion to hoist the driver in a stretcher to street level from the thankfully dry flood control channel.

LAFD rescues, airlifts seriously injured mountain biker out of Santa Monica Mountains
A mountain biker was seriously injured after falling while riding his bike in the Santa Monica Mountains in the area between Pacific Palisades and Encino Saturday, requiring an airlift from the Los Angeles Fire Department. The 23-year-old biker was reported injured just before 11:30 a.m. along the Sullivan Fire Road that passes along the eastern edge of Topanga State Park, according to an LAFD alert. Officials said the cyclist was wearing a helmet at the time of the fall and was in serious condition after sustaining injuries to his head, arm and shoulder. An LAFD rescue helicopter was able to land nearby and was assisted by ground crews to medically stabilize the man, officials said. The biker was then transported by air to a regional trauma center.

2 injured after pedestrian jumps onto Metro train, goes through window in Hollywood
A person attempted to jump onto a Metro Red Line train in Hollywood Wednesday evening, injuring themself and a person on the train, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The pedestrian, whose identity, gender and age have not been released, “reportedly jumped onto the train from the platform and went through the window into the cab of the train” at 6:53 p.m., the LAFD said in an alert.

State News
Tracking coronavirus vaccinations in California
Experts say about 85% of Americans will need to be vaccinated to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control. This page tracks California’s progress toward that goal using data from state and federal authorities.

California Fire Map & Tracker
An interactive map of wildfires burning across the Bay Area and California.

In Remembrance
Remembering Our Fallen Brothers & Sisters
Captain I
William R. James (Active)
Deceased: 12/11/2021
Appointed: 10/23/2000
Assignment: FS 85

Fire Inspector I
William L. Marion
Deceased: 12/11/2021
Appointed: 4/20/1963
Assignment: Tractor Company
Retired: 11/16/1979

Carl L. Long
Deceased: 12/7/2021
Appointed: 4/13/1968
Assignment: FS 26
Retired: 8/8/1995

Jerry L. Brittenham
Deceased: 11/19/2021
Appointed: 11/2/1963
Assignment: Arson Section
Retired: 2/10/1983

Apparatus Operator
Michael C. Surber
Deceased: 11/5/2021
Appointed: 1/6/1973
Assignment: FS 69
Retired: 2/15/2005

Firefighter II
Harold G. Lackey
Deceased: 11/12/2021
Appointed: 2/3/1958
Assignment: FS 2
Retired: 2/18/1985

Captain II
Richard A. Smith
Deceased: 11/5/2021
Appointed: 9/1/1962
Assignment: FS 26
Retired: 6/28/1995

Fire Inspector II
Thomas R. Smith
Deceased: 11/2/2021
Appointed: 6/12/1971
Assignment: FPB Construction Services
Retired: 6/16/2002

Gary D. Peck
Deceased: 10/31/2021
Appointed: 3/10/1962
Assignment: FS 102
Retired: 10/3/1991

Fred E. Miller
Deceased: 10/26/2021
Appointed: 11/24/1962
Assignment: FS 88
Retired: 7/1/1972

George McConnell
Deceased: 10/15/2021
Appointed: 5/19/1958
Assignment: FS 24
Retired: 4/13/1986

Pat M. Murphy
Deceased: 10/12/2021
Appointed: 6/16/1953
Assignment: FS 85
Retired: 3/26/1983

Year In Review 
On behalf of the approximately 3,400 Firefighters of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, IAFF Local 112 (UFLAC), we are proud to present the 2020 Los Angeles Fire Department Year in Review. UFLAC’s mission is to lead the way to protect and advocate for the health, safety, working conditions, wages and benefits of our members and their families. This book helps to tell the story of our dedicated First Responders who continued to protect lives and property in Los Angeles while risking their own safety during an extraordinary year.
In 2020, our Firefighters and Paramedics responded to more than 444,000 emergency calls for service throughout Los Angeles - an average of 1,213 calls per day. As an all-risk fire and rescue agency serving more than four million people, the LAFD is one of the busiest fire departments in the country and we are ready to answer any call that may come our way. UFLAC is honored to help showcase the dedication and commitment demonstrated by the men and women of the LAFD. Click HERE to view the publication.

About UFLAC: Since 1918, UFLAC has been the labor organization of the proud men and women that serve as firefighters and emergency medical responders protecting the City of Los Angeles. The members of the Los Angeles Fire Department rely on UFLAC to focus on the wellbeing and safety of those that protect the lives of others. For more information, visit