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Extinguishing this blaze was accomplished by the maximum commitment of bravery, courage, and determination to succeed by all those members. The members of this department performed beyond the expectations of many and through their combined efforts defied the predictions that this fire could not be extinguished short of a total loss.

These members are lubrary be commended for their bravery, courage, determination and outstanding effort in controlling the loss to this precious resource of the City of Los Angeles.

Before the fire was declared a “knock down” 7 hours and 38 minutes had passed.

The fire required a maximum commitment of Department resources including 60 fire fighting companies, 1 arson unit, 9 paramedic rescue ambulances, 3 helicopters, 4 salvage companies, 1 squad, 2 emergency air units, a heavy utility company, and over 40 staff and support personnel, for a total of almost Fire Department personnel. In addition, 6 mutual aid companies from Los Angeles County were used to fill vacant stations until Fire Prevention personnel staff six reserve apparatus to relieve them.

Fifty Fire Department members were treated for injuries with twenty-eight members being transported to medical facilities.


There were no deaths or critical injuries and only one minor civilian injury. This, in a building that the national experts on library fires, as well as a former L. City Fire Department Chief Engineer, predicted would be a complete loss if a fire of lafc type ever occurred. One factor that helped prevent the loss from being larger was the recognition and implementation of salvage operations early in the fire.

Out of over 1. The following, in a chronological order, are the events that took place from the receipt of the alarm at hours until “Knock Down” at hours. The library telephone operator telephoned the alarm to the Fire Department.

The library security personnel directed library employees and patrons in evacuation of the building. Evacuation was completed in approximately eight minutes.

LAFD Water Sweep at Mid-Valley Regional Public Library

At hours, E arrived on the scene and went to the main entrance on 5th Street north side. They reported that nothing was showing.

TF-9 responded to the Hope Street side south side. LF-3 responded nonemergency, due to a broken siren, to the 5th Street side. E followed by E-3 entered the building to investigate. E- 9 on Hope Street reported light smoke showing from the east end and roof. E found light smoke on the 3rd floor with heavy smoke in one room on the northeast side. At hours, E, using a land line, requested help on the 3rd floor and on the second floor below them. They were in the northeast corner of the building.

E then backed out of the building via a metal ladder from the 3rd floor onto the 2nd floor roof at the east end of the building. E then attacked the fire through a window into an office and up a ramp into the fire on the 7th tier of the northeast stack see figure 1. E-9 entered the building from the Hope Street entrance and was directed by library security personnel to the 5th tier of the northeast stack.

E-9 discovered fire and, using their High-rise hose packs, connected to the interior standpipe and attacked the fire from the “Fiction Room” see figure 1. E-3, after going to the basement to check the main alarm panel, climbed the stairs in the northeast stack and exited on the 2nd floor. They obtained a water supply and attacked the fire up the stairs to the 6th tier of the northeast stack see figure 1. LF-3 put their aerial to the roof on the northeast corner of the building and went to the roof to begin ventilation see figure 1.


They were unable to reach the building with their aerial from Hope Street. E took the hydrant on 5th Street directly in front of the library, hooked into two standpipes, one on either side of the main entrance on 5th Street, and pumped into the standpipes see figure 2 for placement of apparatus. E- 9 took the hydrant at the north end of Hope Street and pumped into standpipes on the south side of the library. E layed from E-9 to a hydrant on the southeast corner of 6th Street and Hope Street and supplied E SQ-4 entered the building from the 5th Street side and went to the 2nd floor northeast stack area and assisted companies working in that area advancing lines up the stairs in the stack.

LF was directed to the 3rd floor northeast stack, by the I. Unable to find any fire on the 3rd floor, LF went to the 2nd floor roof and joined E in making an attack on the fire from this location see figure 1. Batt-5, Chief Mello, arrived on the scene and was requested by the I. He found the south, west, and north sides clear. Light smoke was showing from the east end roof. Batt-5 was then assigned ventilation, using windows and skylights. He went into the building and directed fire fighting operations in the northeast section of the building.

LAFD Station 37 | Friends of West LA

LF-4 raised their aerial to the roof on the northeast roof see figure 2. The crew went inside to the 3rd floor where they joined E-6 in an attempt to bring lines down into the fire area from the 3rd floor. E-6 spotted their apparatus to the hydrant at 5th Street and Grand Avenue and pumped to E-4 see figure 2. The Crew of E-6 provided lines off of E-4 to the east end of the building to LF who drop-bagged them up to the 3rd floor.

E-6 then joined E-4 and LP on the 3rd floor in an effort to bring lines down into the fire area from the 3rd floor. The attempt to attack the fire from above was abandoned when it was discovered that oibrary were opposing the lines coming in from the 2nd floor roof and up the stack stairways from below the fire. E arrived on the south side of the library and provided a supply line to the liibrary floor to supplement the standpipe system.

E was then assigned as “Water Control Officer” to insure that all of the standpipes were loaded and being pumped into. TF arrived at the fire and raised their aerial to the laafd on 5th Street west of the main entrance see figure 2. All of TF was then assigned to fire attack in the northeast stack.

Lobrary the need for salvage work, Chief Anthony ordered 3 fully staffed Salvage Companies. librayr

LAFD Water Sweep at Mid-Valley Regional Public Library | Flickr

At hours, Chief Anthony on Scene and in Charge. Chief Anthony requested that 5 Battalion Chiefs be assigned to the fire. It was at approximately this time that the fire attack teams in the northeast stack began to experience tremendous amount of heat and heavy smoke on the 6th and 7th tiers. The heat became so great that the attack teams were unable to advance hand lines further into the fire area see figure 1.

Because of the construction and design of the building, there lubrary no practical way to ventilate libary heat and smoke from the involved areas. This and the fact that the building itself acted as a heat sink to hold the heat long after the fire was out, combined to make penetration into the fire areas extremely difficult.

Access to the tiers were the fire was located was limited to 4 narrow, inch wide stairways and one window. Libdary there were 22 fire companies, 8 command and staff officers, and 1 rescue ambulance committed to the fire. At this time it appeared that the fire was contained in the northeast stack. The three major problems were to provide ventilation for the fire area, rotation of members of the fire attack teams that were taking a beating from the tremendous heat build up and salvage below the fire area.


Batt, Chief Lilly arrived and was assigned as Logistics. Batt-3 Chief Dameron arrived and was assigned as Salvage Division. Ventilation Division under Chief Mello continued efforts to ventilate the northeast stack area.

Windows, and skylights were opened or broken out to effect ventilation with little or no positive results. The inch thick reinforced concrete walls, 6″ thick reinforced concrete roof and floors libraru with a lack of vertical or horizontal passages made ventilation almost impossible. Salvage operations were started on the 1st and 2nd floors and in the northeast stack area beneath the fire area on the 1st through 5th tiers.

Polyethylene plastic and salvage covers was used to cover book shelves and furniture. Sawdust was used libeary direct water out of the building. At this time there was no standing water problem in the basement. Division I, Chief Rojo arrived on the scene and was assigned as Operations. Chief Creasey was assigned as Fire Attack. The incident was re-designated as the “5th Street I. The Medical Division was set up across the street from the library on 5th Street, west of the library’s main entrance see figure 3.

The entrance to an underground garage was used to provide shelter for the medical division operations. At hours, Lobby Control was directed to shut down the building ventilation and electrical system. It was at this time that the first two firefighter injuries occurred.

One heat exhaustion and one burned knees. Supply and Maintenance Division was notified of the fire in progress. Emergency Air 2 was ordered to respond with a full load of air bottles.

Chief Anthony directed that staff be notified of the major emergency in progress.

There are now 24 fire companies, 10 command and staff kafd, and 5 rescue ambulances assigned to the emergency.

His location is at the west end of the hall connecting the northeast stack to the northwest stack at the 7th tier level see figure 4. Chief Creasy reports that the fire attack companies are experiencing a serious banking down problem of heat and smoke due to restricted ventilation of the fire area.

Fire fighting efforts continue to be concentrated in the northeast stack area. Chief Creasey reports concern of a possible flashover due to the tremendous heat build up in the northeast stack area below the third floor. Ladf have to be rotated every 15 to 20 minutes due to the heat and smoke they are experiencing. All members are taking a beating in their effort to reach the fire. Whenever a fire attack team opens a nozzle, they are driven back by super heated steam.

From the outside, dark smoke can now be seen coming from the center and west portion of the building. At hours, E reports they have fire showing at windows on the west end of a light shaft see figure 4. This is at the west end of the hall connecting the northeast and northwest stacks on the 7th tier. This is close to the area where Chief Mello had reported fire in the walls earlier. Supply and Maintenance delivers 13 blowers, 50 bags of sawdust, and 30 rolls of plastic to the fire.

There are now 29 fire companies, 1 air ambulance, 10 command and staff officers, and librarry rescue ambulances assigned to the incident.

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