LAFD Apparatus Operator Recognized for Efforts in Saving Child from Fire

Tuesday, September 5, 2023
Los Angeles-

The Los Angeles City Fire Department's Board of Fire Commissioners recognized LAFD Apparatus Operator, Ryan Jensen, for his swift and decisive actions in saving a nine-year-old boy's life during a Sun Valley structure fire in March of 2023.

Six firefighters in dress uniforms standing together, the one in the center is holding a certificate.

The Los Angeles City Fire Department responded to the 7700 block of N Lankershim Blvd at 11:46AM on March 23, 2023, for a structure fire at a 211-unit apartment building. As the first fire company arrived on scene, they found heavy smoke showing from a four story (three floors over parking) center-hallway-style apartment building. While the Fire Officer reported his findings on the radio and requested additional resources, firefighters began developing hose lines and placing ladders on the building, preparing to make entry. Firefighter/Paramedics received reports of people injured, and located two critical burn patients. A total of six patients received treatment, including the hospital transport of the two burn victims.

Flames began coming out the third floor window, and were lapping up into the fourth floor unit as crews reached the fire. Dark gray smoke turned to white when water from their hose lines hit the mark. Over 80 firefighters, operating under the command of Assistant Chief Guy Tomlinson, fully extinguished the blaze in 33 minutes.

Amid the chaos of evacuations, fire attack, rooftop ventilation, forcible entry, and more, was Apparatus Operator Ryan Jensen. As Light Force 78 (aerial ladder truck + a pumper apparatus) arrived, and checked in with the incident commander on the radio, A/O Jensen and his crew were assigned the task of establishing additional ladders to the building, which serves to provide additional means of egress from the burning structure. Jensen saw a nine-year-old on a fourth floor balcony, who had been separated from his family and his escape route cut off by flames. Jensen swiftly operated the controls of the 94-foot aerial ladder, extended it to the balcony with precision, and then ascended the ladder, himself, to rescue the child from the balcony. The boy was reunited with his family shortly after being brought down the aerial ladder.

The LAFD Board of Fire Commissioners recognized A/O Jensen for his actions on March 23, 2023, in a statement that read: "In recognition of your bravery, competency, judgment and heroic courage while performing your duties as an Apparatus Operator on Light Force 78, you saved the life of a nine-year-old boy during an apartment fire on March 23rd, 2023, at 7727 Lankershim Boulevard, in the Sun Valley community of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles City Fire Department commends you for your bravery and exceptional efforts in saving a citizen of the City of Los Angeles."

This is not the first time Ryan Jensen has appeared before the Fire Commission. In August of 2012, (then Firefighter) Jensen received a Medal of Merit relating to an incident where two victims were dragged from an electrified pool of water, following a traffic collision involving a sheared hydrant and wires down. The LAFD is proud to recognize him again, 11 years later, as he continues a pattern of selfless service to the people of Los Angeles.

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