LAFD Battles Wharf Fire at the Port of LA

Monday, September 22, 2014

A stubborn wharf fire caused a brief evacuation of Los Angeles Port employees and closure of several shipping terminals on Monday evening. As the incident ensued, pervasive odor over a widespread area caused a brief impact on local schools, though no injuries were reported.

The Los Angeles Fire Department was called at 6:41 PM on September 22, 2014, to 802 S Fries Ave in Wilmington. Firefighters arrived quickly by air, land, and sea to find fire billowing from under a 150 foot wharf. An aggressive fire attack was mounted by LAFD's Fire Boats as highly trained Fire Department divers entered the dangerous and dark waters to assault the blaze from below the pier. Firefighters were met with many challenges including the highly flammable creosote soaked timbers supporting the concrete wharf which were inaccessible from land.

Due to the scope of the incident the Los Angeles Fire Department established a unified command with Los Angeles Port Police, United Stated Coast Guard, and the Long Beach Fire Department. During the firefight two large cargo ships were moved to a safe location as a precaution. Over 170 Firefighters all under the command of Deputy Chief Mario Rueda contained the bulk of the fire in just under two hours, though the blaze continued to smolder - at times with heavy smoke, demanding the presence of scores of firefighters assigned on a rotational basis for more than 32 hours, until all active flame was extinguished early Wednesday morning. LAFD crews remained at the location until mid-afternoon, when Port of officials took control of the scene to guide cleanup and recovery operations.

The fire burned under the Pasha Terminal's steel warehouse at Berth 177, reportedly causing collapse of areas of the flooring and large coils of steel to fall to the water below. Strategic use of a backhoe to create a large trench in the wharf halted the fires progress, which was confined to the wharf and under the warehouse.

The smoke caused the overnight closure of several shipping terminals, leading to the evacuation of over 850 dock workers as a precaution. Harbor area residents were advised to avoid the smoke, close windows, and stay inside.

No injuries were reported.

Monetary loss of the heavily damaged wharf and adjacent warehouse is still being tabulated. The cause of the fire is considered accidental, attributed to a welder's torch.

Dispatched LAFD Units: BT4 BT17 E49 E112 E36 E285 T85 E248 T48 BC6 E64 BT2 BT3 BT5 RA112 E48 E40 E101 E79 T64 E264 E65 E266 T66 E233 T33 E295 T95 E221 T21 DC1 EM13 BC13 T5 E205 E5 UR5 RA5 UR88 BC1 RA264 SQ21 FT36 RT40 AR1 H4 HR56 E17 E90 E290 E38 BC2 E21 RA21 AR10 E475 FT60 CP2 HL3 HL4 EA1 SU2 BC14 HM38 RA909 DT1 DT2 JT2 AR38 E95 T95 SQ95 RA95 BC4 BC11 RA848 E29 E85 E215 T15 E266 T66 DC1 SQ21 RM4 BC14 BC13 BC12 UR85 T66 E266 EM6 BC738 AR11 AR23 HL2 DT2 T94 E294 RA38 EM13 RA101 T3 E203 RA38 BC2 E63 T29 E229 EM11 RA27 E482 E100 BC10 BC2 T60 E260 UR27 RA57 E435 BC13 BT2 BC729 E64 T33 E233 RA112 RA85 E48 BC6 UR85 T85 E285 HR56 UR88 BT3 E15 BT5

Kindly note... some units may appear multiple times, as they were rotationally released and returned to the incident over a multi-day period.

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