Los Angeles Firefighters Battle Major Emergency at Townhouses Under construction

Los Angeles Firefighters Battle Major Alarm at Townhouses Under Construction

Under-construction building fire forces dozens of evacuations


Six Townhouses Under Construction Photo, Onscene.TV

Townhouses Under Construction Aerial Screen capture from CBSLA.com

Operational Divisions with Exposures (Pre-Construction) Bing Maps


A townhouse complex under construction caught fire on November 10, 2011, in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles (CA). The six-unit, wood-framed complex was in its construction phase, where at least two of the units were fully involved in fire upon arrival of LAFD companies. Four of those six structures were severely damaged as a result of the construction stage and the degree of open wood frame construction resulting in rapid flame spread and extension to a nearby residential buildings.

According to published reports, the Los Angeles Fire Department was called at 3:37 a.m. to 12315 Gorham Avenue which was declared a major emergency incident and resulted in the dispatch and deployment of over 160 firefighters to the site. First arriving companies found a large townhome development with “heavy fire showing.”

Largely due to an aggressive fire attack by the LAFD, the footprint of this blaze was kept in-check and fully extinguished in one hour and 39 minutes. Fortunately, there were no injuries to any civilians or Firefighting personnel.

Additionally, five adjacent structures were evacuated for precaution. Two of those structures- one, a small apartment complex and the other, a single family dwelling, did sustain significant fire damage. As many as 10 families were displaced from those two occupancies.

Following further investigation, the LAFD stated it believed the fire was intentionally set.

According to LAFD.Blogspot.com the following companies were dispatched with Units: E19 RA19 E237 E37 T37 RA37 EM9 BC9 E59 E261 T61 E26 E292 T92 E71 E269 T69 E62 E263 T63 E43 DC3 SQ21 EM14 BC18 BC10 BC4 BC11 BC14 T88 E288 E88 UR88 RA88 RA827 BC5 E63 H6 RA59 RA92 RA71 EM11 E290 AR2 E94 E226 T26 E93 E210 T10 E15 T66 E266 RT59 EA2 EA1 E229 T29 E203 T3 E233 T33 E68 RA17 RA909 RA867 EM17 AR9 AR17 AR11 AR3 T29 E229 T94 E294 E3 E12

Construction Site Operational Considerations (not inclusive)

  • Pre-Fire Plan Large Construction Projects
  • Understand the various Phases to a Construction Project and how they affect fire operations
  • Identify and train for nonconventional Strategic and Tactical operational actions
  • Ensure predetermined multiple alarm resources are identified and greater alarms are established
  • Train your Company and Command Officers to address Construction site fires
  • Maintain an appropriate risk profile balance with operational needs with personnel safety foremost
  • Clearly establish multiple Safety Offices and establish geographical resources within the incident management system for reconnaissance, communications, and oversight and focused safety monitoring
  • Know you water supply and system capabilities and limitations
  • Determine fire flow needs based upon construction phases, as these change over time as the building goes up. Match fire flow demands with resource availability (time of day gaps etc.)
  • Identify exposures (Physical structures and Civilians) and ensure they are calculated into the incident action plan at the right before there are identified needs or concerns
  • Companies shall maintain a conservative safety posture; this is not the time for overly aggressive firefighting, it is the time for smart firefighting that can be highly efficient
  • Always consider collapse zones: partial or complete. Stay out of them!
  • Respect the wind; it’s not going to help you
  • Consider current and projected weather conditions in your operational and tactical plans and assignments
  • Did I already say: Pre-fire Planning?
  • Be calculated in the placement of your apparatus, especially in larger scale incidents that are defined under greater geographical divisions
  • The fire usually consumes the available fuel load rapidly; going from a Huge fire, to one that is sometimes much more manageable; just watch and control your exposures and degree of fire extension. Don’t help to make the fire even bigger through ineffective and dysfunctional command and control
  • Anticipate, Project, Plan and Engage
  • Respect the Fire: it’s not going to play by the regular rules of combat fire suppression and engagement as in finished and enclosed structures and buildings.

View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.

View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.

Photo: Firefighters hose down smoldering embers after a large fire gutted a townhouse complex under construction in Brentwood. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times


Additional Links

View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.

Filed Under: Anatomy of BuildingsThe Construction Site


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