Saturday, January 3, 2015
LAFD Spokesperson: Erik Scott
PACOIMA- LAFD swiftly battled a fire that scorched a tiny Pacoima house before dawn Saturday and displaced 21 people, including nine adults and a dozen children. Firefighter's hearts were moved for the family, so LAFD took extra action.
The fire, at 13070 Kelowna St., was dispatched at 5:03 a.m. on January 3, 2015. Firefighters arrived to find fire blowing out the rear of an approximate 1000 square-foot residence, and were immediately met by some occupants exiting. Not knowing if all the children had escaped, firefighters made a very aggressive attack on the intense flames along with simultaneous ventilation operations. A strategic and rapid search ensued until firefighters ensured everyone was out safely, including the family dog Charles.
It took a total of 44 firefighters, under the command of Battalion Chief Combs, 37 minutes to put out the flames that engulfed the majority of the home.
Firefighter's hearts sank as they looked around and saw three families, 21 people who just lost everything, standing out in the cold, shivering. A specialized apparatus was brought to the scene to provide the family with warm coffee and snacks. Then ambulances were used to transport the families to a nearby fire station along with their small dog. Donuts were brought in, cartoons put on the firehouse TV set, and firefighters kept the family warm while working with the Red Cross who orchestrated temporary housing for 20 of the individuals, one person declined assistance.
Fortunately, no one was injured, despite the fact that there were no functional smoke alarms.
This incident certainly could have been much worse. There were 20 structure fire-related fatalities in Los Angeles in 2014. In 16 of the 20 fatalities, fire investigators could find no evidence of working smoke alarms in the affected buildings. Studies from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) show that a working smoke alarm can reduce the risk of dying in a residential fire by upwards of 50 percent.
Therefore, the LAFD along with MySafeLA initiated the Smoke Alarm Field Education (S.A.F.E.) Program, where firefighters went from door-to-door through the neighborhood providing fire safety education and free smoke alarms to residents lacking the devices. A total of 157 alarms were distributed.
“While there are many contributing factors to residential fire fatalities, it’s a simple fact that smoke alarms save lives,” said Fire Chief Terrazas. “The LAFD is committed to continuing the critical task of keeping Angelenos safe and working with the community to increase fire safety awareness and the availability of smoke alarms.”
The estimated loss totaled about $200,000. The cause of the fire is under active investigation.
Dispatched Units: E298 E98 T98 RA98 RA898 E7 E275 T75 EM15 BC12 E77 RA7 E289 E89 T89 BC10
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