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Vineland Fire

    Museum Info

    Hollywood Museum

    1355 N. Caheunga Blvd.
    Hollywood, CA 90028
    (323) 464 - 2727
    SAT 10a - 4p

    Harbor Museum

    638 Beacon Street
    San Pedro, CA 90731
    (323) 464 - 2727
    SAT 10a - 3p

    Off-hour tours available
    by special request.

    Vineland Fire

    Fire Attack LAFD
    On the 29th of August (2006), while in a meeting at Fire Station 27 in Hollywood, the ring-tone interrupted us - “Battalion Only. Structure Fire...” I put my MacBook computer into my briefcase, grabbed my cameras, helmet, and PPEs and climbed into the back of the Battalion 5 sedan. Within 60 seconds, we were out of the station, headed north, lights flashing and siren wailing.

    As we headed north, radio chatter from first-in companies suggested this would be a working fire. “I have a large 100 by 150 one-story commercial building fully involved with fire through the roof,” came from the Task Force Commander of Truck 60 as he arrived on-scene. As we headed north, the chief worked with maps, evaluating where to set up his command post and to direct incoming companies.

    Pulling off the Hollywood Freeway, the billowing dark column of black smoke became visible to us as well. Without waiting to arrive on-scene, the BC asked for additional task forces and command staff. The radio chatter escalated as Task Force 89 and Light Force 102 arrived on scene. Initial companies thought an aircraft might have crashed, due to proximity to the Burbank airport. Thankfully, that proved to be false.

    Arriving at a structure fire is an important series of micro-moments for any firefighter or commander. A wide series of issues must be broken down into rapid decisions. Battalion 5 announced themselves as Vineland IC (incident command) and pulled into a gas station about 100 yards from the burning building (a furniture factory). Since fire was showing through the roof in multiple places, ladder pipes were attached to the truck company ladders and firefighters began their attack from outside the structure in a defensive mode.

    Within a few minutes, the strategy evolved from defensive to offensive - with Engine 76 and 60 making entry into the east side of the building right in front of me. The interior of the building was ablaze with burning furniture and other combustibles - and the sound of metal clanging, water against metal and fire eating everything in sight filled the air. Other companies shifted to interior attack on the other side of the structure. Water from the two ladder pipes in operation poured from the roof and spilled into the street. A block away, a crowd had formed and news vans were pulling up to capture the scene for television. More sirens sounded in the background as support companies arrived.

    Firefighters’ SCBA warning bells began ringing as air supplies ran low. As they exited to resupply, they were replaced by other companies, moving in swift yet careful coordination. Outside, USAR (Urban Search & Rescue) 88 arrived to act as the Rapid Intervention Company (RIC). A Rehab unit (RAT) also arrived with fresh air bottles, water, and supplies for firefighters.

    One firefighter was knocked on the head by a falling welding stand and may have briefly lost situational awareness. His company removed him from the structure and took themselves out of service while evaluating him and resupplying their air bottles. Finding him to be lucid and eager to get back to work, the company continued participating in the incident.