Stay Connected
July 1, 2022
Here’s the latest news impacting Los Angeles Firefighters…

Feature
The LAFD Encourages You to Have a Safe Fourth and Think About Your Neighbors
All fireworks, even the so-called 'safe and sane' variety are illegal in the City of Los Angeles. It may be tempting to acquire personal fireworks for your 4th of July celebration, but this year we ask you to "Think About Your Neighbors." Personal fireworks are known to negatively affect children, pets, and combat veterans. In addition, the wildfire danger is ever present and vegetation moisture levels are significantly drier this year than previously recorded. We encourage everyone to seek a public fireworks show, which will be more readily available than last year. Click HERE for a list of Fireworks Displays taking place in the LA area.

Photo by Mike Meadows
Hansen Dam Aquatics Center evacuated due to brush fire
A brush fire scorched more than 10 acres Friday and caused firefighters to evacuate the Hansen Dam Aquatic Center. The fire was first reported to be burning in about a half-acre of brush near 12001 Montague St. just after 3:15 p.m., said Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department. The fire grew to between 10 and 12 acres by 5:30 p.m., prompting the LAFD to evacuate about 1,000 people from the Hansen Dam Aquatic Center out of an abundance of caution, Stewart said. The LAFD announced just after 7:30 p.m. that the brush fire had been contained.

Fierce firefight in Hollywood Hills helps keep brush fire away from homes
Over 100 firefighters prevented a brush fire in the Hollywood Hills from spreading to homes after a fierce firefight Monday night. The fire quickly burned at least one acre as it was being fueled by medium-to-heavy brush, according to officials. The Coyote Fire was first reported at about 9:30 p.m. in the 3600 block of N Barham Boulevard, above a dog park near the Ava Apartment complex. At least four water-dropping helicopters helped battle the blaze from the air. Los Angeles County Fire Department crews also joined the firefight as part of mutual aid.

Firefighters Protect Homes from Grass Fire Burning Near Sylmar Neighborhood
Firefighters protected homes Thursday from a grass fire that cast smoke over the northern San Fernando Valley. Details about how the fire estimated at about 25 acres started in a field near the 5 and 405 freeways were not immediately available. The fire broke out in the 15000 block of West Lakeside Street on a day of above normal temperatures. The fire was burning uphill with a moderate rate of spread. One home appeared to be threatened as wind pushed flames and smoke toward the residence.

UFLAC Presents the 2021 LAFD Year In Review
UFLAC is proud to present the 2021 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 publication tells the story of our dedicated First Responders who continued to protect lives and property in Los Angeles while risking their own safety during another extraordinary year. In 2021, our Firefighters and Paramedics responded to more than 475,000 emergency calls for service throughout Los Angeles - an average of 1,300 calls per day. As an all-risk fire and rescue agency serving more than four million people, the LAFD is one of the busiest and most understaffed big city fire departments in the entire country. 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.

Fire Watch
Firefighters battle major emergency brush fire in Playa Del Rey
It took 86 Los Angeles Fire Department responders to put out a vegetation fire that broke out Saturday afternoon in Playa Del Rey near Culver Boulevard and Jefferson Boulevard, west of Lincoln Boulevard. With some additional help from LA County and Culver City Fire Department, crews managed to fully contain the fire within an hour. No structures were threatened by the fire. The blaze grew to three and a half acres of vegetation, according to LA Fire. The official cause of the fire has not been determined at the moment, however LAFD believes that a sport utility vehicle nearby may have played a role.

2 Brush Fires Flare Up in Chatsworth Area; 1 Firefighter Injured
Two brush fires flared up in the Chatsworth area Monday, and one firefighter suffered a non-life threatening injury. The first fire was reported about 1 p.m. near the 22000 block of West Chatsworth Street, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Firefighters stopped the forward progress of the fire at about a quarter-acre within a half hour, and crews remained on scene dousing hot spots. A second quarter-acre brush fire sparked just before 3:45 p.m. in the 22230 block of West Chatsworth Street, just north of the first fire, according to the LAFD. Crews managed to contain the second fire to less than a half-acre by about 4:10 p.m.
 
Fire ignites inside Canoga Park skilled nursing facility
Twenty patients were evacuated in their hospital beds after a fire broke out at a skilled nursing facility in Canoga Park on Tuesday morning. The fire broke out just before 5 a.m. at Topanga Terrance & the Villas located in the 22100 block of Roscoe Boulevard. The other 70 patients who were not evacuated were sheltered in place inside the building. Firefighters at the scene reported thick black smoke coming from the laundry room. They later discovered the fire started in a small bathroom nearby in the facility. "Convalescent facilities like this are our worst-case scenario because they are going to generate a lot of patients. They have a lot of sick patients inside, they have a lot of different medical problems," Los Angeles Fire Department Battalion Chief Andrew Wordin explained. Firefighters quickly knocked down the blaze and no injuries were reported.

Firefighters battle blaze at downtown LA businesses
Firefighters in downtown Los Angeles battled a fire in a restaurant, the Los Angeles Fire Department reported Saturday. A bystander at the scene was evaluated for breathing difficulties by paramedics but was not taken to a hospital, authorities said. The fire broke out at a restaurant at 1335 S. Santee Street around 12:08 p.m. Saturday. By 12:36 p.m. it escalated into Greater Alarm status, the LAFD said. Firefighters were able to put it out within 22 minutes of their arrival.

Firefighters Contain Hansen Dam Brush Fire
A brush fire was reported on Wednesday around 9:31 p.m. in the Hansen Dam area on the 12100 block of West Osborne Street according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Photo by Mike Meadows
Fire Damages Vacant House in Arleta Area
A fire damaged a vacant house in the Arleta area Tuesday. Firefighters sent to the 12800 block of West Tonopah Street at about 11:50 a.m. extinguished the flames in 23 minutes, the Los Angeles Fire Department reported. No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Photo by Brandon Taylor
Flames Burn Through West Hills Garage and Attic
Los Angeles City Firefighters responded to the 7800 block of North Vicky Avenue to find an attached garage on fire, spreading to the main living quarters of a single-family home through the attic. It took 32 firefighters 22 minutes to extinguish the flames.

First Responder News
Woman Killed in Four-Vehicle Crash in Westchester
A woman was killed and a man suffered non-life- threatening injuries Saturday in a four-vehicle crash in Westchester. Firefighters and paramedics were dispatched at 6:28 a.m. to 6925 S. La Cienega Blvd., said Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department. "An adult female was trapped in the wreckage of her badly damaged vehicle," Humphrey said. "Beyond medical assistance, she was determined deceased at the scene." Paramedics rushed the man to a hospital, Humphrey added.

Pedestrian Struck and Killed by Amtrak Train
A pedestrian was struck and killed Friday evening by an Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train in North Hollywood. Firefighters were called at 10:15 p.m. to 12323 Sherman Way, near the Hollywood (170) Freeway, where the pedestrian was pronounced dead, according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart. There were no further details regarding the victim.

Construction worker dies after falling into trench in Sun Valley
A man lost his life on Friday after falling into a construction trench in Sun Valley. When Los Angeles Fire Department first responders arrived to the construction site at the 8405 block of N. Glenoaks Boulevard, they found the patient unresponsive and pronounced him deceased at the scene. The man was not an employee of the City of Los Angeles, according to LA Fire. LA Fire's initial report stated that there was debris up to the man's chest, when paramedics and rescue operations arrived. The rescue was also originally reported as a confined space rescue but was eventually changed to a trench rescue.

LAFD EMS captain injured in three-vehicle crash in Reseda while responding to emergency call
A Los Angeles Fire Department Emergency Medical Services captain was injured in a three-vehicle crash in Reseda Monday while responding to an emergency call. The captain was traveling in a department SUV with the lights and siren activated around 12:50 p.m. when the crash occurred in the 10300 block of West Roscoe Boulevard. According to Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department, the captain was taken to a hospital with a non-life-threatening injury. Humphrey said the crash was being investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department's Valley Traffic Division.

LAFD crews rescue driver after car veered 20 feet down side of embankment in Hollywood Hills
Firefighters were working to rescue a person whose vehicle went over the side of an embankment in Hollywood Hills Wednesday morning. Los Angeles Fire Department crews were called to the scene on N. Deronda Drive, where they extricated the occupant of the overturned vehicle that was reportedly 20 feet down the side of the road. LAFD reported that the occupant had been saved as of 10:40 a.m., after it had come to a rest near a multi-story residential structure in the area. The occupants of that building were safely evacuated as crews investigated the structural integrity. One woman was taken to a hospital in what crews reported as fair condition.

7 Hospitalized, 3 in Critical Condition After Bus Overturns in Crash Near LAX
A commmuter bus with over 20 passengers inside collided with a semi-truck near LAX on Monday morning, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. NewsChopper4 was over the scene of the crash, where the bus could be seen on its side in the middle of the road. The LAFD and the El Segundo fire and police departments responded to the crash, which took place at 8:25 a.m. at 2310 East Imperial Highway, near Aviation Boulevard. According to El Segundo Fire Chief Deena Lee, information from the early investigation suggests the bus clipped the parked truck while it was off-loading some equipment, causing the bus to overturn. The driver of the truck was seriously injured and was transported to a local hospital, Lee said. It is not yet clear if he was inside or outside the truck when he was hit. One passenger on the bus had to be extracted from the crash and was also transported to a local hospital in critical condition. There were seven people hospitalized in total, and three of them were critically injured, including the driver of the semi-truck.

Three hospitalized, two rescued from wrecked car after Reseda crash
Three people were taken to the hospital in unknown condition after a multi-car crash in Reseda Sunday evening, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The crash happened in the 6400 block of N. Corbin Avenue. When crews responded they found one vehicle on its side partially on the curb. Two people were trapped in the wreckage and had to be extracted to the car. LAFD did not specify if the third victim in the crash was taken from the other car involved. All three have been taken to regional trauma centers.

6 injured in Sawtelle crash with 3 cars, multiple pedestrians
A Sawtelle-area crash involving three vehicles and an unknown number of pedestrians left six people hurt, including an elderly woman who suffered critical injuries. The crash happened at 2200 S. Sawtelle Blvd. and was reported at 2:58 p.m., according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart. A 79-year-old woman suffered the worst injuries and was transported to a hospital in critical condition. Two women, 20 and 23, were taken to the hospital with serious injuries, Stewart said.

2 hurt in 405 Freeway crash near Skirball Center
At least two people were hurt in a three-vehicle collision involving two big rigs along the Sepulveda Pass. The crash was reported just before 11:10 p.m. Monday near the Skirball Center in Brentwood on the northbound lanes of the 405 Freeway. Firefighters found one of the trucks have overturned, causing debris to scatter on the freeway.

Crews rescue exhausted hikers in the Pacific Palisades
The Los Angeles Fire Department rescued the hikers after they became too exhausted hiking in the blistering heat in the Santa Monica Mountains.

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

A treacherous California fire season made more dangerous by drought, water restrictions
Southern California is facing a potentially treacherous wildfire season this year, as climate change, drought and extreme heat conspire to bake vegetation and prime the landscape for burning, officials say. Standing beneath the blazing sun at the start of a triple-digit heat wave, fire officials from various state, county and federal agencies gathered in Los Angeles on Thursday to warn residents about the current conditions and what the coming months may hold. “We know the drought is here. We know the fuels are flammable. We know now, with water restrictions, the vegetation around our homes are becoming flammable,” said Dustin Gardner, chief of the Ventura County Fire Department. “So we know the threat is here, and we know the threat is real.” Officials in recent years have been sounding the alarm about the state’s changing conditions, with wildfires across the West growing hotter, faster and harder to fight due to increasing heat and dryness. Last year, more than 2.5 million acres burned in California — including the 960,000-acre Dixie fire, the state’s second-largest blaze on record.

Hellish fires, low pay, trauma: California’s Forest Service firefighters face a morale crisis
Chris Mariano became a federal wildland firefighter because he wanted to help protect the Northern California landscapes and communities he’d grown to love. Years later, after working his way up to squad boss of the elite Truckee hotshot crew for the U.S. Forest Service, Mariano resigned in a viral letter that is the latest example of how low pay, grueling work and mental stress are driving experienced professionals out the door at a time when extreme wildfires are becoming more destructive. “It almost feels as though we’re out there doing the very best we can, but it’s not enough,” Mariano said. “And that’s tough, to know that you’re giving everything you have, and communities are still being lost.” Morale within the Forest Service has plummeted to an all-time low, current and former firefighters say.

California wildfires caused by humans are more dangerous than fires sparked by lightning
The sheer acreage consumed by fire in California in recent years is numbing: more than 2.5 million acres last year, and 4.3 million acres the year before that. Already in 2022, before peak fire season has descended upon this drought-parched state, fire has burned nearly 17,000 acres. Yet not all fires are equal. New research from UC Irvine shows that fires caused by human activity — be it arson, a neglected campfire, sparking electrical equipment or ill-conceived gender reveal parties — spread faster, burn hotter and destroy more trees than those caused by lightning strikes.

In Remembrance
Remembering Our Fallen Brothers & Sisters
Captain
Lee H. Kebler
Deceased: 6/26/2022
Appointed: 3/18/1947
Assignment: FS 112 Boat 2
Retired: 6/1/1978

Captain
Anthony J. Pasqualone
Deceased: 6/17/2022
Appointed: 6/16/1955
Assignment: FS 98
Retired: 5/12/1988

Firefighter III
Stanley T. Croom
Deceased: 6/16/2022
Appointed: 10/29/1987
Assignment: FS 16
Retired: 6/30/2020

Firefighter II
Charles B. Osborne
Deceased: 6/2/2022
Appointed: 2/3/1958
Assignment: FS 49
Retired: 3/11/1979

Captain
Richard B. Testa
Deceased: 5/22/2022
Appointed: 6/21/1954
Assignment: FS 80
Retired: 2/7/1980

Engineer
Edwin B. Smith
Deceased: 5/21/2022
Appointed: 12/19/1955
Assignment: FS 27
Retired: 1/2/1981

Engineer
Darrell E. Witt
Deceased: 5/11/2022
Appointed: 1/6/1973
Assignment: FS 103
Retired: 1/17/1998

Captain
Alton W. Johnston
Deceased: 5/7/2022
Appointed: 6/16/1953
Assignment: FS 17
Retired: 4/8/1979

Engineer
Robert H. Roots
Deceased: 5/5/2022
Appointed: 7/2/1956
Assignment: FS 75
Retired: 8/10/1981

Engineer
Richard R. Sorensen
Deceased: 5/4/2022
Appointed: 9/23/1957
Assignment: FS 10
Retired: 1/24/1988

Deputy Chief
Anthony E. Giordano
Deceased: 5/3/2022
Appointed: 12/14/1948
Assignment: Operations
Retired: 6/30/1977

Firefighter III
Ronald I. Mihld
Deceased: 5/1/2022
Appointed: 12/4/1971
Assignment: FS 12
Retired: 7/16/2000

UFLAC’s 2021 LAFD Year In Review
UFLAC is proud to present the 2021 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 publication tells the story of our dedicated First Responders who continued to protect lives and property in Los Angeles while risking their own safety during another extraordinary year.
In 2021, our Firefighters and Paramedics responded to more than 475,000 emergency calls for service throughout Los Angeles - an average of 1,300 calls per day. As an all-risk fire and rescue agency serving more than four million people, the LAFD is one of the busiest and most understaffed big city fire departments in the entire country. 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 www.uflac.org.