Roof Collapse Injures Los Angeles Firefighters; Six Hurt, One In Grave Condition

Update Friday: Los Angeles Firefighter Succumbs to Collapse Injuries

LOS ANGELES - A firefighter was battling for his life Thursday after a ceiling collapsed at a burning Hollywood Hills home, injuring him and five others.

The firefighter, a veteran in his last year on the job, was hospitalized in grave condition. He had no heartbeat and was not breathing when he was cut free of the wreckage, but rescuers managed to restore his pulse, Capt. Tina Haro said.

"We're hoping and praying and waiting to see, but he is fighting for his life," she said.

The firefighter has been with the department for 38 years, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a statement.

"Let us never forget the men and women who selflessly put their lives at risk to protect our families, our homes, and our neighborhoods," Villaraigosa said.

City and county firefighters were called to a 6,000-square-foot home shortly before 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, Haro said.

A couple in the three-story home on Viewsite Drive smelled smoke and ran outside before firefighters arrived.

The fire apparently started in a fireplace but spread to the walls and attic, making the flames difficult to douse, Haro said.

"We kind of chased the fire around for a while, trying to find it," she said.

Unbeknownst to firefighters, the fire had burned through sprinkler pipes in the attic and filled the space with water, Haro said.

The weight collapsed a drop ceiling held in place by 2-by-4-inch wood struts, Haro said.

"The ceiling came down in huge piece," striking two county and four city firefighters, she said.

The veteran firefighter was buried.

"Our rapid intervention teams came in and they could see his turnout coat under the rubble," Haro said.

Using chain saws, they cut up the ceiling and pulled him free, then used cardiopulmonary resuscitation to revive him, the captain said.

The firefighter, whose name was not released, was eligible to retire this year, Haro said.

Three other city firefighters were in fair condition, one with a broken ankle and two with back pain, she said.

Two county firefighters were treated for minor injuries, she said.

More than 80 firefighters extinguished the fire in about 90 minutes. There was no immediate estimate of the damage, Haro said.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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My thoughts and prayers are with you guys.

Please let him recover.
Thoughts and prayers with them all. Blessings to our gravely ill brother; may God grant him a full recovery.
My thoughts and prayers are with you guys
.Blessings to our gravely ill brother; may God grant him a full recovery.

Fight brother firefighter. We believe that all of us. Please FIGHT
Fire fighter is currently at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Very good facility. Surgeon who is taking care of him said that the next 48 hrs are critical to his survival. Please let us all pray that he comes through this.
Thoughts and prayers are with you guys

Keep fighting!
Just also found out that this man is expecting his first grandchild within a couple of days. I have asked all that I know to pray for him and his family and especially this new grandchild so that he/she will grow up with a grandfather.

God bless to all. Please stay safe everyone.
Thank you for sharing word of this incident with your audience. We will strive to keep you and your readers apprised of developments related to this incident in the hours, days and weeks to come via our official LAFD News & Information blog.

Fraternally Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department
Excellent! Thanks for letting us know. Will pass the word along to our crew if Chief France has not already so.

Our best to the men; their families; brothers and sisters; and, the community.

LAFD continues to be one of the best fire departments in the world. Growing up in the San Fernando Valley... I'm somewhat biased... Looking at this structure from street level would have never given anyone a clue that the entire attic footprint was filled with water, which eventually gave way, trapping firefighters from LAFD E-97 and specifically the engines Captain.

What is exemplary was the preparation that was obvious once the incident went down. How you called the mayday, had RA's standing by, accountability system in place and working under the command of Battalion 18. The most impressive point of listening from the audio was the professional and calm tone used by the company officer that stated three times "Emergency Traffic" and then gave the short concise description of the interior roof collapse and firefighters "self-extricating".

Even though there was chaos and obvious knowledge that one of your own was trapped beneath the rubble, you had your folks on it and within a short amount of time, you had access to the fallen firefighter, using ACLS and CPR to resuscitate the Captain.

Our prayers and thoughts go out to the family, fellow firefighters and those affected by this tragedy.

Mike Schlags, Fire Captain/Paramedic (Retd.)
Santa Barbara County Fire Department
Captain Schlags,

Sir, your kind comments come with the added benefit of healing and support in a most difficult time.

As you know, there are many priorities that our staff are seeking to attend to at the moment, not the least of which is the logistical support for generations of family, friends and co-workers from across the globe. As our tradition demands, not one will walk alone in their time of physical or emotional need - no matter the challenge.

Kindly know that while many things went well, there is always room for improvement and sharing of lessons learned. In that vein, we can assure you that our agency will do everything possible to bring forth detailed, accurate and actionable lessons that can be shared.

In the meantime, we appreciate your stewardship of facts above speculation, support above derision and of caring above all else. Your fraternal support - and when likely deserved, constructive criticism, is a most welcome effort that we know exhibits a common belief against indifference and mediocrity that is the greatest danger of all in our vocation.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

"Serving with Courage, Integrity and Pride"

my thoughts and prayers go out to all of them and there families get well soon brothers
As always, Mike, you put it so well. Thanks!

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