Monday, October 22, 2007

Hot Time in the Old Towns...


Best picture of firefighters being over-run that you'll ever done see. (They all made it out alive and unhurt)

I was in the midst of a long and winding post last night, and then sort of ran out of steam. There's so much fire and so much scanner activity, it's just been very hard to keep up, though I've been listening almost nonstop for the last two days.

All of the usual outlets have good coverage so I point you in those directions. I'll surely post something more coherent and thoughtful when the situation has calmed and I have time to put some energy into a real post. Also, don't overlook San Diego; that's where the real tragedy is unfolding (again).

p.s. What's crazy is that since Sunday morning, the wind has been negligible in the greater L.A. Basin. Not a wisp of wind in the last 36 hours in the Beverly Hills and West LA area.

photo: Karen Tapia-Anderson, LA Times

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Malibu is About to Burn

For those of you into the Scanning Arts, tuning into 470.6125--LACoFD's "Blue 3" channel--will afford you a front row seat to the County FD losing the early battle against today's brusher in Malibu.

A new spot fire at Civic Center Drive and Winter Canyon Road sees only two Engines (570, 566) on scene, with fire around residences and a school building. Three buildings are now well involved.

Now there's another spot on PCH that just jumped the road. With LAFD tied up in Porter Ranch and the rest of the city holding its collective breath amid the dry brush, it sounds like the County hasn't gotten enough resources out to Malibu fast enough.

Nasty Out There...

...Already. October's typical mix of fire and brimstone has arrived with a vengeance. At 0745 on Sunday morning, with Red Flag parking restrictions set to go into effect in 15 minutes, City News Service--and my scanner--already report three big brush fires crackling through the northern part of the County.

--Nearly 200 acres have been burned up at Castaic Lake, near the Ventura County border, with the fire being pushed north, away from populated areas.

--LAFD is working a brush fire in the Porter Ranch area where the City and County adjoin. It started at 0550 this morning and it's going strong.

--The main event this morning sounds like a brusher the County's got burning up in Malibu, near Pepperdine University and Malibu Canyon Road. Two mutual aid Strike Teams (1 from Long Beach) are on the scene, and the County has requested two LAFD helos already.

It's going to be a long, messy day as the wind has yet to even truly pick up. Check back for updates.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

WeHo Burner

The gents of LACoFD stations 7 and 8 made quick work of a condo fire in West Hollywood this afternoon. The small city has been getting a decent amount of fire action in the last few months. Today's fire saw a female resident on the fourth floor of the building jump to escape the flames. Sounds like she broke a variety of bones, but she'll live.

Can't find any good fire photos yet, maybe some will pop up later.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I-5 Aftermath

If that's not a vision of Southern California's own kind of hell, I don't know what is.

There's a tunnel behind those flames where roughly 15 big rigs and cars were immolated last night during a heavy rainstorm and subsequent pile-up.

The CHP has I-5 in Newhall Pass closed until further notice. The CHP and Caltrans say they hope to have portions of the affected tunnel re-opened by Tuesday morning. First, they'll have to check the structural integrity of the designated truck tunnel's concrete walls, which became the insides of an impromptu oven as more than a dozen big-rigs cooked off inside the 550-foot long tunnel. As an aside, a quick view of the CHP's CAD today shows the media misbehaving all day while trying to get close to the site.

Just heard LACoFD dispatch some units from the Carson-area to move into the scene up in Newhall. The County is obviously rotating units in and out of the area. Earlier today, there was still active fire suppression going on for smoldering inside the tunnel and they've begun cutting up and hauling away the mess.

As I grimly predicted in my first post last night, three fatalities. Click here for the LA Daily News photo gallery. The LA Times' is here. Thanks to Kevin at for the link.

photo: LA Daily News

Friday, October 12, 2007

Holy I-5 Cluster...*

...Batman. So it's rare when Batt. 12 from LAFD checks in on OCD 8 and tells the dispatcher in the middle of a rainstorm that LACoFD is on scene at the interchange of the Golden State (5) and Antelope Valley (14) freeways with multiple tractor trailers fully involved with fire on both the north and southbound lanes of the designated truck lanes. Further, he has multiple other accidents up and down that stretch of freeway.

Sounds like a Class 1 clusterfuck. LAFD has dispatched a full physical rescue assignment and the County has thrown a ton of resources at it, too. LAFD has a helo moving up there for observation. The CHP CAD is pretty wild to look at. It's incident #3700 on the CAD. The CHP is shutting down the 5 in both directions, which is a rare occurrence except if it's snowing in the Grapevine.

It's such a mess up there that the County and City have been unable to establish a joint-command and it's every man for himself. Adding to the problem is lack of water supply on the freeway to assist in extinguishing the multiple big-rigs that are exploding and burning. LAFD has a Foam Carrier en route. LAFD Fire 6 (observation helo) had to return to Van Nuys Airport due to the low clouds and solid IFR conditions.

Expect this one to have a fatality or two and keep the freeway shutdown well into the day tomorrow!

***UPDATE*** As of 0010 hours, multiple big-rigs are still fully involved inside the truck-lane tunnels on Interstate 5. City and County fire units are using master streams and wagon batteries from their engines to direct water into the tunnels in an attempt to extinguish the flames. There is also a serious HAZMAT issue with runoff from the water used to fight the burning trucks (and their contents). Totally crazy. Nine patients transported by LAFD. Unknown number via LACoFD.

As of now, LAFD Division 3 is o/s and in charge, about 100 yards east of the tunnel. Unified command with LACoFD has been established. The entire tunnel is on fire, with multiple explosions from the trucks burning inside. The incident itself is classified in the County jurisdiction, according to Division 3, but all LAFD resources on scene are being used to aid the County.

Let It Rain...

I was out of town a few weeks ago when the heavens opened in SoCal for the first time since April. But tonight, I'm all warm and cozy as I watch the rain fall against the orange sodium of the street lights outside my apartment.

Scanner on, and like clockwork, the traffic accidents are lighting up the frequencies. Rain started about half an hour ago and already LAFD is working one Physical Rescue in the deep Valley; LACoFD has two big traffic collisions with fire going, and already allegedly have an Airsquad heading out to somewhere in the NW part of the county at a particularly nasty wreck. Who knows if they'll be able to fly the bird out there. My rule of thumb is to try at all costs to stay off the roads for the first hour or two of any rain.

radar image @ 2303 hrs

Sunday, October 07, 2007

If An Ambulance Is Stolen... Hollywood, does its siren make a noise?

Surprisingly, just a faint one. After a thief made-off with Rescue 27, and I breathlessly blogged about it last week (see below), it rated a small brief in the following day's L.A. Times. That brief, by the way was ripped off, per usual, from the local City News Service.

Now I understand that the LAFD is loathe to have a wave of copycat ambulance thieves swoop into unlocked RAs idling at ER bays, but come on. Some dude steals a bright red ambulance in the middle of the afternoon with big white lettering and numbering that clearly identifies it and makes his way almost 200 miles north on MAJOR FREEWAYS. People, this is a great story!

This is the last sentence of the AP report posted on CBS2's Web Site that evening:

"Even after the ambulance was found, fire department officials still had no idea about the circumstances behind the theft."


That's a classic journalism who, what, when, WHY question if I've ever seen one.

My guess is the LAFD/CHP/LAPD either didn't cooperate at all; asked the media to keep it quiet; and/or the local beat reporters didn't follow up. Also, not a whisper on the LAFD Blog. This is the same blog that chronicles the department's highlights--and recently, with the EEOC report and Tennie Pierce settlement, its lowlights. But nothing on the wayward ambulance.
It's also the same blog that last year posted a thorough and illustrated account after Rescue 75 was stolen and then pursued in Panorama City.

Come on, folks. If you can't laugh at yourselves, then we'll have to laugh at you.

By the way, wonder if the thief managed to get his hands on the narcotics inside the rig, since that's always a prime reason for ambulance theft.

Red Flag Riffing

So round 1 of the famed October Santa Anas blew in and blew out this weekend without a major conflagration. The Trojans lost in the most pathetic fashion of the millennium (thus far) and things haven't been all that exciting on the scanner front. Granted, I haven't been listening much this weekend, and things are definitely hopping--even at this hour--because of the heat.

The Red Flag warning remains in effect through tomorrow night, but the LAFD has lifted hillside parking restrictions for tonight and tomorrow, so they don't seem too worried. Hope that doesn't come back to bite them.

In other news, the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission last week released a report that....wait for it.............said the LAFD has racism and sexual harassment within its ranks!!!!! I, for one, am shocked. Just shocked. Apparently, the military also has a few homosexuals scattered throughout its 1.4 million-plus active-duty members!

Monday, October 01, 2007

New Month....

...New look. My live-in design consultant has helped me refresh the blog's look. If you don't like it, I don't give a shit, since it's my blog. See previous reaction to some of my more idiotic commenters on this site for reference to how much I don't give a shit about what my readers think.

If you like it, however, I'm happy to hear from you. This ain't a democracy, people.