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!
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.
January 29th, 2011 // By davidb
The Los Angeles Fire Department began formal operations on February 1, 1886. Since then, the LAFD has been a beacon for new strategies, tactics, and training. During the coming year, the LAFD Historical Society will celebrate this important milestone in the department's history with a variety of events.
Get involved. Visit one of our two remarkable museums and share in the history with our docents and volunteers. Our museums house literally thousands of artifacts, and our staff delights in sharing stories, history, and education with everyone, young and not so young, too.
To learn more about the history of the LAFD, we invite you to visit one of these links:
LAFD Historical Society "125 Year History" [ read article ]
Los Angeles Fire Department website [ visit website ]
Smoke Eaters documentary film (in production) [ visit website ]
African American Firefighter Museum [ visit website ]
October 9th, 2010 // By davidb
Every year, the LAFD Historical Society celebrates the lives and contributions of those firefighters who gave their lives while in service to the city. The 2010 event took place on a picture perfect day in Hollywood, attended by a faithful audience of firefighters, family members of those who died in the line of duty, and civic leaders. Firefighters from all over the city attended, and the street outside the memorial plaza was filled with fire apparatus.
After a solemn presentation by the LAFD Honor Guard, event presenter Captain I Steven Owens (76-C) introduced a series of speakers, including Council Member Tom LaBonge, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Fire Commissioner Jill Furillo, Fire Chief Millage Peaks, and the children of Fire Captain Joseph Dupee, who was killed while fighting a structure fire (March 8, 1998). Both boys made short, personal, and heartfelt presentations.
Mayor Villaraigosa spoke from the heart and engaged the audience, acknowledging the families, the sacrifice, and the dangers that exist in the firefighting service generally, and in Los Angeles specifically. Chief Peaks echoed the Mayor, adding that the current economic situation has created even more demands on firefighters, and that only their training had prevented disaster. Chief Peaks spoke dearly about his firefighters and was supportive to the families in attendance.
With beautiful music, singing, and a flyover by the LAFD Air Ops Section, not to mention the ever moving bagpipes of retired Paramedic John Keyes, the 90 minute event brings honor to every LA firefighter. The LAFD Historical Society will work to ensure that not one name is forgotten. Retired Fire Captain and LAFDHS President Jim Finn read the names of every firefighter who served the city and died during their service while on duty. It is a moving experience to hear each name read, the only other sounds being the flutter of the flag suspended between two raised aerial ladders and the soulful bagpipes of John Keyes.
Following the memorial event, the museum was open for tours, and refreshments were provided to all in attendance.
Our 2011 event will take place in October of next year. We invite you and your family to attend.
The LAFD Historical Society Museum and Memorial is open every Saturday from 10AM thru 4PM. All are welcome and currently, there is no admission charge. Come learn about the history of firefighting in Los Angeles.
For information, please feel free to contact the museum at 323-464-2727.
June 25th, 2010 // By davidb
Getting Old Fire Boat #2, the Ralph J. Scott ready for her new home will be a huge task. The Port of Los Angeles is set to begin building a new permanent museum-style home for the Scott in 2012. The new building, mainly steel and glass, will be adjacent to Fire Station 112 and across the street from the LAFD Historical Society's Harbor Museum.
To prepare the longest serving piece of fire apparatus in the history of Los Angeles (1925 - 2003), a dedicated group of volunteers gather each Friday morning to work on the boat. At the moment, they are dismantling loose bits and pieces, cataloging everything as they go.
Bill Dahlquist, who was the pilot for the Scott for many years, is the defacto project lead. He, along with a group of five to seven others have been busy with the boat for more than four months. Dahlquist estimates it will take several more months to get the Scott ready for her primary rehabilitation.
If you'd like to help the museum rehabilitate the Ralph J. Scott, please contact Frank Borden at the museum. He can be reached at 323-464-2727.
January 30th, 2010 // By davidb
The Los Angeles City Fire Department, as well as the Historical Society, lost a great retired member, supporter and friend when Frank Manwarren passed away this past week. Frank was fireman's fireman - dedicated, professional, hilarious, and was a man of courage, faith, and generosity.
I first met Frank nearly a decade ago, when I had my first experience with the LAFD Historical Society. I was sitting in the kitchen, talking with then Assistant Chief and LAFDHS President Bob Defeo, when I noted a photo of a group of firemen at the table in the same kitchen. Chief Defeo grinned and pointed to a bald man in his early eighties, who was sitting next to him. The man gave me a toothy smile and then turned away. I was initially taken aback but after a moment, realized the goofy grin from the bald man was a signal - he was in the photograph. That began a mutual admiration relationship with Frank Manwarren, fireman, general contractor, waterscape designer, and photographer. (Photo: Frank Manwarren cuts his birthday cake at the LAFDHS in 2005)
I knew Frank far less than most of those who are actively involved with the LAFD Historical Society. Regardless, I enjoyed every moment spent with him. He always had a ready handshake, would ask about the things going on in my life and that of my wife, and was eager to share stories about his career, both in the fire service and the military.
He often spoke of his son, of whom he was very proud. He tearfully recalled the loss of friends who died while he was on the job, and he brightened whenever he saw his friends Bill Rolland, Julian George, and Ted Aquaro.
During the last year, I asked Frank on numerous occasions if he'd sit down for a video interview to talk about his past and the many things he accomplished. He would always grin, and find a way to get out of it. I wish he would have agreed, but out of respect, I didn't push him beyond asking every time I saw him! This past fall, I walked into the museum kitchen and Frank was having lunch. He saw me, gave me that big grin, extended his hand and said, "How are you? And, NO!" It was a hilarious moment, and it was very much an example of Frank being Frank.
Every firefighter has an interesting story to tell. But Frank was one of those unique individuals who really had a LOT of stories to tell. From struggling through a living hell in China during World War II to taking pictures for the LAFD during the Bell Air Fire, the Watts Riots and even to his amazing waterway creations for Disney and Busch Gardens, he lived a full life and was mentally vibrant to the very end.
He would have been 90 this coming June. It is the same month the LAFD Historical Society hosts their retired firefighter luncheon. I'll miss Frank at that luncheon. I know everyone who knew him will miss him every day. His last email to me came just a few weeks before he passed away - writing, "next year will be much better. Keep working hard and we will win." There's no better advice for anyone.
To learn more about Frank and his life, please click here.
Donations in the name of Frank Manwarren can be made to the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society.
March 26th, 2009 // By davidb
On March 26, 2008, while on-scene at an incident in the Westchester area, City of Los Angeles firefighter Brent Lovrien was killed when an explosion rocked an electrical room. Lovrien, assigned to Task Force 95, was doing his job - protecting lives and property, when he made the ultimate sacrifice.
A year has passed, but the loss of firefighter Lovrien remains in our hearts and minds. For those firefighters who are on duty today, their thoughts are with Brent's family, friends, and loved ones. Every firefighter in Los Angeles trains as if their lives depend on it - because they do. Even though the city experiences far fewer structure fires and other fire-related incidents, each emergency call could signal the last response for any firefighter responding.
The Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society would like to invite you to visit our memorial plaza, where you may see firefighter Lovrien's name on our memorial wall, can experience our lovely plaza - and can reflect on the history of this fine department and those who served for the past 124 years.
An updated report on the loss of firefighter Lovrien can be read here.
October 12th, 2008 // By davidb
Under a remarkable clear sky, with a breeze and the feeling of fall in the air, LA Firefighters, fallen firefighter family members, city leaders and the community came together to remember our fallen heroes. The LAFD Honor Guard opened the event with a moving entry into the Memorial Plaza. Captain Steven Owens (76-C), acted as Master of Ceremonies and welcomed speeches by Councilmember Dennis Zine, Councilmember Janice Hahn, Fire Commissioner Genethia Hudley-Hayes, Fire Chief Douglas Barry, and others. Singer Tim Davis delivered a memorable musical performance.
The highlight of the day was shared by the daughter of a fallen member of the Department. Jessica Reiner, whose father (Eric Reiner 81-B) was killed in the crash of Fire 3 ten years ago, read a letter she wrote to her father. Her rich voice, clear message and endearing words to a missing dad will be remembered by anyone in attendance for a long time. The Reiner family can be proud of Eric's memory, and the LAFD is proud of the commitment to excellent every member of the family demonstrates at each public event in which they participate.
Other family members, some who have not previously seen the Memorial Plaza were in attendance. Many went up to touch the Wall of Honor that lists the names of all 254 fallen members of the department (as of August 1, 2008). Of special note was the presence of the two new "Hollywood Stars" in front of the middle apparatus bay door of Historic Fire Station 27. Initially authorized by the late Johnny Grant, these stars memorialize the two firemen assigned to Station 27: Captain Michael Carter and Fireman James Hassan. Fireman Hassan's daughter was present at Saturday's event. And, although not noted in the official program, LAFD Historic Society board member Ted Aquaro is to be commended for his continual support of all fallen firefighter's families. They all look to him as their stanchion of support and link between their loved ones and the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Battalion Chief Dan McCarty played "taps" and all 255 names (one not yet added to the wall) of those who lost their lives while on-the-job were read aloud. Retired Assistant Chief Frank W. Borden spoke and as a fitting conclusion to the event, the LAFD Air Ops Division sent three helicopters (two Bell 412 models and a Bell 206) to fly over the gathering.
And while the event was moving, it was important to see the community and the fire department come together as they did. The celebration of these fallen firefighters lives was the cornerstone of the comments made by every speaker. Their stories and their commitment to the City of Los Angeles can now be memorialized forever - and we invite you to visit our Memorial Plaza at any time.