Thursday, June 28, 2007


The LAFD might have a completely fucked internal culture with lots of bad apples (and a few truly rotten ones), but they're the best fire department in the world because of the way they handle things like today's early morning fire out in Van Nuys.

Don't ask me what I was doing awake at 2 a.m. on a "school night" but I heard LAPD Air 8 tell OCD that they had a single-family dwelling with smoke and fire through the roof near Sherman Way in Van Nuys. OCD sent out the structure assignment and a few minutes later Task Force 39 was on scene in the 13800 block of Enadia Way. I don't know who the Captain (II) was on TF39 last night, but he was as cool as a cucumber.

Until Battalion 10 arrived on scene a good eight minutes or so later, the Task Force Commander of old 39's was directing a finely choreographed ballet of fire-attack teams, search and rescue, truck companies on the roof, truck companies inside, and staging companies as they arrived on scene. No chaos, no confusion, no concern. The fire was raging inside a home under renovation, but each firefighter and captain who got on the radio during the incident was calm, cool and collected--even the guys at the end of the nozzle inside. The boys from Battalion 10 (who catch a decent amount of fire in the modern, generally fire-less, era) obviously work well together.

Knockdown was achieved in only 22 minutes, a remarkable feat, given that likely more than 90% of fire departments in the U.S. would have lost the house completely. Anyway, it's fires like those that make visualizing the LAFD at work through the little scanner speaker such a joy.

Kudos also to the LAFD and LACoFD who played well this morning on the radio on a mutual aid response to a brush fire in the County along the Antelope Valley Freeway. Everyone played nice and kept the fire to only about 10 acres.

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