A man suffered serious smoke inhalation, and a woman - rescued by firefighters, was fighting for her life, after flames swept through their South L.A. apartment Monday night.
The Los Angeles Fire Department was summoned at 9:19 PM on February 29, 2016 to the Pueblo del Rio public housing project at 1584 East 54th Street in the Central-Alameda neighborhood of South Los Angeles. Firefighters arrived quickly to find heavy smoke showing from a two story apartment, with a man nearby attempting to battle flames with a garden house. The man stated that a woman remained trapped inside the burning premises.
Pulling the man aside, Los Angeles Firefighters commenced an aggressive and well coordinated assault on the flames, which thoroughly involved the downstairs portion of the residence, filling the uninvolved second level from floor to ceiling with thick dark smoke. It was on the hot upper floor in zero-visibility conditions, where LAFD responders found the pulseless and non-breathing woman, and quickly carried her to safety.
LAFD crews began resuscitation immediately on the woman, continuing their advanced life support efforts during rapid transportation to an area hospital. Though LAFD Paramedics were able to restore a heartbeat and assist her labored breathing, the woman remained unconscious and in grave condition on hospital arrival.
Learning that the man using the garden hose had been with the woman inside their burning home, Paramedics performed a comprehensive medical evaluation, noting his unstable vital signs and increasingly labored breathing from smoke exposure. He too was taken by LAFD ambulance to an area hospital in serious but stable condition.
Thirty-two firefighters under the command of Battalion Chief Albert Ward, confined flames to the downstairs section of the public housing unit, extinguishing the fire in just 16 minutes. No other injuries were reported.
Though the 75 year-old building was equipped with functional smoke alarms as required by law, it did not feature optional residential fire sprinklers.
Monetary loss from the fire is still being tabulated. The cause of the blaze remains under active investigation.
Dispatched Units: E221 E21 T21 SQ21 RA821 RA21 E14 E233 T33 BC13 RA14 EM13 CM22 AR1 AR11 AR33 PH1 E21 SQ21