January 16th, 2014 // By admin
The Northridge Earthquake - The LAFD Historical Society Remembers.
This week, Los Angeles is buzzing with memories of the 1994 Northridge earthquake. At 4:31 on the 17th of January in 1994, a significant earthquake ripped through the San Fernando Valley, northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Although centered in Reseda, the Northridge quake as it is known, killed 57 people, sent 1,600 to area hospitals, and injured more than 8,700.
From a scientific perspective, this was an interesting quake, and quite different from the one most eyes are trained on: the San Andreas. When the San Andreas next rips, it will shift the ground side to side - a slip fault. The Northridge fault pushed up - a blind thrust fault called the Pico fault.
The Northridge quake wasn't a particularly large quake on the magnitude scale - a 6.7 magnitude, but it was one of the most destructive local quakes ever recorded in North America. A freeway overpass on the Santa Monica Freeway collapsed more than 20 miles from the epicenter.
We're learning more about new and potentially deadly faults all the time. Hollywood has been at the center of a battle over the construction of new buildings close to fault lines. And, with good reason. The USGS is worried that a major quake in Hollywood would kill or injure more than 11,000 people, cause more than $20 billion in damage, and literally destroy the Hollywood area. Fire following a quake like that could bolt not only through Hollywood itself, but the neighboring Hollywood HIlls. It was fire that destroyed most of San Francisco after the Big 1906 quake, and more than 110 fires destroyed blocks of buildings following the Northridge quake.
The Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society is headquartered in Hollywood, and Old Fire Station 27 - now the home of the LAFD Museum - has some significant earthquake history. In fact, it's only because of the building being damaged in an earthquake that the City of Los Angeles eventually agreed to lease it to the LAFD Historical Society.
Our friends at MySafe:LA have gathered a number of interviews with LAFDHS members, including Director of Operations Frank W. Borden - and are making those interviews available via podcast. You can learn more by visiting the MySafe:LA podcast.
November 11th, 2012 // By davidb
Being a member of the United States Marines is considered a special opportunity. Not only do Marines pave the way strategically, but they are about more than combat. As with all service branches, the Marines are about service.
Marine Captain Matthew P. Manoukian was raised in a family committed to service. His uncle, William Bamattre, was the Fire Chief for the Los Angeles Fire Department for 11 years. His commitment to service saw him deployed on multiple occasions to Iraq and then Afghanistan. As his uncle said, he was there to "provide confidence to locals who were being intimidated by various factions..." A black belt, with two Purple Hearts, two Navy-Marine Corps Commandation Medals and two Combat Action Ribbons, Manoukian thought law would be a good post-military career.
On August 10, while working to train others, Manoukian and two other Marines were killed by a renegade Afghan police officer. He was 29 years old.
There are many Manoukian's out there. They are sons, daughters, nephews, nieces. They are fathers, uncles, aunts, and just "good friends." They serve their country without political party. They serve to protect the United States - and we owe them our thanks and our hearts. They keep us safe, and for that, they give their lives.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CAPTAIN MANOUKIAN
"The man who will go where his colors go without asking, who will fight a phantom foe in a jungle or a mountain range, and who will suffer and die; in the midst of incredible hardship, without complaint, is still what he has always been, from Imperial Rome to sceptered Britain to democratic America. He is the stuff of which legends are made. His pride is his colors and his regiment, his training hard and thorough and coldly realistic, to fit him for what he must face, and his obedience is to his orders. As a legionnaire, he held the gates of civilization for the classical world...today he is called United States Marine."
LT COL FEHRENBACH, USA, in "This Kind of War"
October 13th, 2012 // By davidb
Today is the day we remember those Los Angeles Firefighters who gave their lives so that others might live. On occasion, someone will ask why we do this? After all, these aren't soldiers fighting to protect freedom. These are firefighters - we see them nearly every day. So, why do we need a day to remember them?
Your Los Angeles Fire Department is more than 125 years old now. And during that period of time, the Department has saved the lives of thousands of people in and around Los Angeles. Often, the people saved have suffered a stroke, been hit by a bus, or have collapsed due to a heart attack. In Los Angeles, with more than 1,000 emergency responses per day, and more than 500 transports to local hospitals in an average 24-hour period, you might think the process of saving lives is routine. It may seem that way, but it isn't.
For people watching the freeway rescue taking place on March 23, 1998, it seemed that Fire 3, the air ambulance that picked up a young patient was just doing what it normally did. Minutes later, the helicopter crashed, within minutes of its destination. The young patient, along with LAFD members Michael McComb, Eric Reiner, and Michael Butler were killed. Not an ordinary day.
When the Naval Reserve Training Center's attic was discovered to be fully involved with fire on September 27, 1980, the fire attack initiated by the LAFD seemed to be managed with the military precision that the Department is known for. When firefighter Frank Hotchkin stepped onto the roof to provide support, it collapsed, sending young Hotchkin to his death. Not an ordinary day.
The stories continue - and there are nearly 200 of them. Each one is personal. Each one involves a parent, a sibling, a friend, and co-workers. On February 18, 2011, firefighters responded to a structure fire in the Hollywood Hills. After a few minutes, the living area of the home appeared to be clear of smoke, and the size up suggested a stubborn fire might be in one of the walls. Without warning, the ceiling collapsed, burying firefighters in the rubble, and mortally wounding Glen Allen. To many watching, it was just another routine fire on an ordinary day. It was not an ordinary day for the LAFD.
Every October, the LAFD gathers in Hollywood, at the Fallen Firefighter Memorial outside of the LAFD Museum. Fire officials speak. Historians remember. Taps are played. Bells are rung and names are read. And we remember. We remember that every day is a special day for the people who live in Los Angeles. The weather is nearly always perfect. The ocean is close by. The clubs are filled with party-goers. The film industry cranks out blockbusters. And the LAFD responds - every day, 24/7/365. And every one of its 3,400+ members wears a badge that reads "LAFD." That badge represents a commitment - a commitment to give up their life at any time to protect lives and property. That's why we remember.
Learn more about those members who died in the line of duty. [ Learn More ]
Support the LAFD Museum and Memorial. Give Generously. [ Donate ]
The Museum and Memorial Plaza are open every weekend from 10A to 4P in Hollywood. Please visit and discover the remarkable history of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
"LAFD Heroes" video produced by David and Cameron Barrett. Used with the courtesy of the LAFD Foundation.
April 5th, 2012 // By davidb
Today, the LAFD responds to more than 920 Emergency Medical Service (EMS) calls per day. More than 500 people are transported to LA hospitals in every 24-hour shift period. EMS calls make up an average of 85% of the Departments responses.
In the early days, the LAFD used ambulances to primarily take care of injured firemen. Let's take a look back in time and see what the LAFD medical response capability was like...
March 6th, 2012 // By davidb
Your Fire Department was developed by the LAFD to highlight activities and training within the Department. AT the time these films were produced, the LAFD had an active film unit, including the late Frank Manwarren, who was a treasured member of the LAFD Historical Society for many years.
Take a look at this example of the series in action!
February 1st, 2012 // By davidb
One of the most important aspects of recording history is photographs. The Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society has literally thousands of photographs that document the long, storied history of the LAFD. And now, for the first time, we're publishing a number of those photographs via Flickr.
This new addition to the LAFD Museum ecosystem highlights our activities, the Hollywood and Harbor museums, Photo Archive, and the restoration of Fire Boat 2, the Ralph J. Scott to museum status in San Pedro California.
To visit the Flickr photo library: click here!
Check back often. There will be many exciting images to view!
October 29th, 2011 // By davidb
As the November winds begin to pick up this week, we encourage you to check out this important reminder of how quickly a wildfire can destroy a neighborhood, even in today's modern world.
Read our story: Remembering the Bel Air Fire of 1961
June 16th, 2011 // By davidb
There's only one place in Los Angeles to purchase all of those great LAFD memorabilia: The LAFD Museum! That's right - only at our gift shop will you find authentic LAFD work tee shirts, jackets, and other clothing. In addition, the gift shop has a wide variety of books, videos, models, stickers, and other items directly related to firefighting in Los Angeles.
So, next Saturday, cram the family into your SUV or Mini Cooper (just sayin' large or small!) and head over to the Hollywood Museum. The gift shop is open from 10AM until 4PM, and the friendly staff is ready to share the latest arrivals with you.
June 8th, 2011 // By davidb
Not since the 100 year anniversary has a book about the history of the LAFD been published. Now, in collaboration with Faircourt Media Group, a new 125 year softcover book at the LAFD is finally available.
The book provides an interesting look at the history of the Department, as well as a historian perspective on the LAFD today. The LAFD is unique in that it operates on Land, Sea and in the Air, and this book takes a close look at the historic operations of the Department, including major incidents.
This book was a labor of love and those who contributed have a long history with the Department. The LAFD Historical Society's Ted Aquaro, Frank Borden, and Donald Dodd were editorial contributors, and Director of Operations Frank Borden compiled the materials. Additional support from the LAFD and the Los Angeles Fireman's Relief Association was provided by Brian Humphrey (PSO, B-Platoon), and Eric H. Seeger. A number of individuals contributed photographs and illustrations. To learn more about this new publication, please visit either museum facility.
March 15th, 2011 // By davidb
Have you ever wanted to work in a fire station? Well, now is your chance. Old Fire Station 27 is as close to a real fire station as it gets - because for more than half a century, it was a real fire station! Situated in the heart of Hollywood, the now retired station is home to the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society.
And, as with any fire station, there is a lot to do... Every week, our team is busy polishing apparatus, authentic brass fire poles, and visiting with people of all ages from all around the world who come to admire and learn about the history of firefighting in Los Angeles.
If you'd like to be part of our volunteer team, we'd love to have you!
[ click here to learn more about volunteering ]