Massive Blaze Destroys Homes and Sends Two to Hospital

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

An early morning fire ignited a building under construction, creating a massive blaze which sent two people to the hospital. 

At 3:25AM on November 28, 2023 the Los Angeles City Fire Department responded to a reported rubbish fire in the 1500 block of E Vernon Ave. Within two minutes, as more 9-1-1 callers reported the fire, Metro Fire Communications upgraded the incident to a structure fire response. The first fire engine on scene reported finding a block long 'stick fire' and it immediately became a Major Emergency structure fire with a robust response enroute.

The term 'stick fire' is fire service terminology which describes fire in a structure still in the framing stages of construction. The exposed wood allows air to move through and rapidly creates an intense fire, consuming all in its path. Upon LAFD arrival, the large, multi-family dwelling was fully involved in fire and exposing multiple structures surrounding it.

Simultaneously, firefighters directed heavy streams, from ladder pipes on the trucks and wagon batteries on the engine, at the bulk of the blaze working to defend the exposed buildings while additional crews directly attacked the fire already entrenched in some homes. The heat from the block wide fire impacted several power poles, creating an added safety hazard on scene.

Over 140 firefighters, under the command of Assistant Chief Douglas Lewis, battled for one hour and 18 minutes before achieving a knockdown.

Firefighters located two patients, a male and female in their 60s, in one of the exposed buildings, who sustained serious burn injuries and were both transported to the hospital. A male patient in his 30s was treated on scene for minor injuries and he declined LAFD transport.

A total of seven surrounding homes were damaged by the fire with five of them a total loss. 17 residents were unable to return to their homes and both the American Red Cross and the LA City Emergency Management Department provided immediate assistance.

LAFD Arson and Counter-Terrorism Section (ACTS) responded per protocol and are conducting an on-going investigation.

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