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LAFDHS Blog

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.

LAFDHS Blog

Fire Safety Day

Join us for a day of fire safety and fun. Our friends from MySafe:LA, along with members of the Los Angeles Fire Department will be here from 11AM thru 3PM to share insight and education related to fire safety. And, we're making it a day of excitement on many levels - 

FREE Smoke Alarms.
FREE DVDs 
FREE GO Bags
FREE Escape Plans

oh.. and FREE Lunch, too!!! (from 11:30AM thru 12:45PM)

One more thing... Are your smoke alarms more than 10 years old? Bring 'em in to the museum and we'll trade 'em for new ones - for FREE. We'll even come out and install 'em if you'd like us to!

It's all taking place on September 20, 2014!

Check it out here!

Fire Safety Day Poster

Tall Ships and Old Boat 2

Los Angeles Fireboat No. 2 - The Ralph J. Scott

Old LA Fireboat #2, the Ralph J. Scott



The LAFD Historical Society volunteers have been working on a multi-year restoration project of Los Angeles Fire Department retired Fireboat No. 2 the "Ralph J. Scott" to prepare it for display in its own museum in the Port of Los Angeles adjacent to its last assignment in Fire Station 112 in San Pedro. The 88 year old boat is a National Historic Landmark and under the cover of a large tent to protect it from the environment while it is being restored.

Be sure and make the Fireboat one of your stops during the Festival. We will provide you with information about the boat's history and take you on a tour around the boat and work area. This is a significant restoration project and one that you can appreciate when you see it. We will also have sales of Fireboat items, a great raffle of Fireboat and LAFD items and of course a place where you can support the project through your donations.

Old Fire Boat No. 2, the Ralph J. Scott has a remarkable and storied history. She was involved with most of the significant fires in the LA Harbor area, and served longer than any other single piece of apparatus. Originally named Los Angeles City No. 2, she was built in 1925 at the Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Drydock Corp. (Todd Shipyard) in San Pedro. Launched October 20, 1925, the $214,000 fire boat went to sea with a crew of 14 officers and firefighters. She was later renamed the Ralph J. Scott, in honor of the city's most innovative Chief engineer during the early 1900s. When built, Old Fire Boat No. 2 was powered by seven 350-horsepower, 6-cylinder in-line Winton gasoline engines. There were six Byron Jackson four-stage centrifugal pumps mounted in pairs forward of the propulsion system. Each was rated at 1700 G.P.M. at 200 psi., for a total output of 10,200 G.P.M. Beginning in 1975 the gasoline engines were replaced with diesels and by 1978 two 700 H.P. V-12 Cummins, three 380 H.P. 6 cylinder in-line Cummins and two 525 H.P. V-12 - 2 cycle Detroit engines powered the boat. The pumping capacity increased to 18,000 gallons per minute and with added modernized features allowed the boat to serve until retired in 2003 when new Fireboat 2 went into service.

Please help us restore Old Fireboat #2. Click here to donate.

Please check the Tall Ships web site at: www.tallshipsfestivalla.com for information about the event.

Memories of Northridge

The Northridge Earthquake - The LAFD Historical Society Remembers.

Northridge Earthquake Damage

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.

Remembering a Marine

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"


Why We Remember...

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.

Early origins of LAFD EMS

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...



Your Fire Department in Action!

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!


Have you seen our Flickr photos?

The LAFDHS Flickr photo libraryOne 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!

50 Years Later - We Remember the Bel Air Disaster

Bel Air Fire
On November 6th, 1961, the City of Los Angeles experienced the worst fire in the history of the city - to that point in time. The Bel Air Fire destroyed nearly 500 homes, and it was a miracle that nobody died as a result of the wind-driven flames.

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










Visit our store!

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.

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