A mid-day fire than consumed a business Wednesday in L.A.'s Industrial Eastside, sent three firefighters to the hospital, including one with critical burn injuries.
The Los Angeles Fire Department was summoned at 12:46 PM on September 19, 2018 to 2881 East Pico Boulevard in south Boyle Heights, where firefighters arrived quickly to find heavy smoke showing from an 80' x 100' one-story commercial building, housing a mercantile firm that was open for business with as many as a dozen workers on site.
Faced with an incipient fire and likelihood that occupants might remain trapped within the burning structure, the first arriving firefighters initiated an aggressive and well-coordinated offense with firefighting handlines from the front of the building, as the next arriving LAFD crew raised their truck's aerial ladder to allow four members to the roof to assess the possibility of vertically ventilating heat and smoke to allow their colleagues below in gaining access to the deep seated fire, and possibly rescue any persons remaining trapped within.
Less than ten minutes into the firefight, with fire showing from only one roof vent but heavy pressurized smoke in abundance, the four firefighters working together atop the structure suddenly became imperiled, when a section of the arched truss roof partially gave way, coming to rest upon contents, including tall storage racks below.
As flames erupted around them through the now highly precarious roof, the four firefighters scrambled for safety, including one who was forced to leap to a load bearing wall, where he clung precariously until being swiftly rescued by two of his four teammates. The fourth member of the vertical ventilation team was a probationary firefighter who had been upon the section of the roof that gave way. He quickly sought to self-extricate through heavy smoke and fire conditions by walking up the now steeply angled roof toward the southwest corner of the building, where despite severe burn injury, he held strongly to a parapet wall before being rescued by his fellow ventilation team members.
Three of the ventilation team members were taken to a nearby trauma center that co-houses a burn center for further assessment and treatment. One of the three was determined to be uninjured, while another was provided initial hospital care for 2nd degree burns to his hands before being released to outpatient care. The probationary firefighter, who rode down on the burning roof was the most seriously injured of the three. Initially described as in critical condition, his status was upgraded to serious but stable condition on hospital assessment, where he remains in specialized care for 2nd and 3rd degree burns to multiple areas of his body.
Despite the challenge of structural collapse, multiple injured colleagues and downed high-voltage power lines, one hundred-fifty LAFD firefighters confined the intense fire to the structure of origin, fully extinguishing flames in just two hours.
Fire loss to Passion Imports, a purveyor of apparel, accessories and souvenirs, is still being tabulated. Los Angeles Fire Department responders were successful in preventing civilian injury or allowing any fire spread to a pair of nearby buildings, including a fully adjoining building to the west. The cause of the major emergency fire remains under active investigation.
Dispatched LAFD Units: E17 RA17 RA25 E202 T2 E9 E209 E221 T21 BC1 BC2 SQ21 E14 E21 T9 E203 T3 CM22 E220 T20 EM11 BC11 E3 UR3 HR3 RA3 UR88 BC14 E25 E201 T1 E4 E10 E250 T50 RA14 RA21 EM13 EM5 EM25 CM21 EM18 BC13 RM4 AR1 AR10 E15 T11 E233 T33 E64 BC18 BC9 BC10 AR21 AR12 BC14 EA1 EM4 EM9 RA26 RA47 HU59 HL7 CM41 AR19 AR37 T94 E294 E40 T93 E293 E49 E69 T61 E261 T12 E212 E62 T3 E203 E3 T3 E203 PH1 BC1 T27 E227 T95 E295 EM1
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