Barely three days into the new month of November, and already our first 'significant' fire to report of. Early Thursday morning the third of November, just around 3:30 AM, units are dispatched to a report of heavy smoke visible from a store located at 711 Cassat, intersecting Ramona. The business in question, 'EXPERT-T's,' does in fact have flames threatening to burst through the roof when units arrive. The combined efforts of Ladder 10, with rear access gained into the silk-screening area of the business, and Engine 17 through the front door of the retail portion, soon leads to the rapid extinguishment of the blaze with a little more than $50,000 in damages to both structure and content. Not bad for a business that has as a total value of over $500,000 in both content and building. With no injuries to report, the only noteworthy element appears to be the shutdown of that portion of Cassat just prior to the busy morning commute, a situation that also proves to be inconsequential as most everyone has departed from the scene well before the morning rush hour arrives.
Well, some wondered if it would EVER happen, but now it can be said that the JFRD Awards Program is ready to hand out a 'plethora' of awards, citations, commendations and anything else imagineable. The change from one administration to the other brought the Awards Committee to a halt, with new membership hard to come by, but the award recommendations from the field kept arriving on a regular basis. This soon led to a tremendous back-log of awards that needed to be sorted out, investigated and subsequently 'approved' by the appropriate Committee. Suffice to say, and to make a long story short, Committee members were eventually found and these volunteers have provided their respective 'seal of approval' for all recommendations. The Public Information Officer, your's truly, has created all of the official documents suitable for framing and corresponding medals and ribbons, whenever applicable, have been ordered and received. The framing process is about to begin, nearly 150 in all (!), and the last element in need of attention is also being organized: where and when to have the ceremony? Some great ideas are being currently sorted out, and it would appear that the potential for an awe inspiring solution is not only in existence, but may also become a reality. Can't say too much else about it right now, but soon the details will emerge with corresponding announcement.
The Veteran's Day holiday weekend brought about a response to a blaze at the Jones Road Landfill on Friday, November 11th. Station 53's crew reported flames of over 60 feet rising into the sky from the dump site, a facility known as a 'C & D' or 'Construction and Demolition Debris' dump. Although the fire was extinguished, after 300,000 gallons of water (!), the site continued to experience flare-ups and hotspots throughout the weekend; not too uncommon for this location that has seen a fair-share of fires over the years. The State Department of Environmental Protection dispatched an investigator to the site on Monday, November 14th, with the possibility of extinguishing the sub-surface heat sources with a 'nitrogen' device, designed to displace the oxygen and conversely 'snuff' out the flames.
That same day (November 14th), units were dispatched to a barn fire on Linjohn Road. The 3,000 square foot structure housed a litany of diverse objects, ranging from a boat to small LP tanks, with the sound of explosions echoing throughout the neighborhood and thereby prompting command to exercise every precaution during the suppression activity. 5 tanker levels were required to bring the fire under control... but with the entire structure virtually consumed by flame upon arrival by first-in units, little could be done to save the building from burning to the ground. The property turned out to belong to the father of one of our Department's finest, certainly adding further insult to 'injury.' Speaking of injury, one firefighter sustained slight second degree burns on one hand and was taken to Lakewood for treatment and subsequently released back to duty that same day. With the multitude of items contained within the barn, firefighters began the long and arduous task of overhaul that expected to last a significant amount of time. Investigators have ruled the cause of the fire as 'undetermined,' with damages approximately $150,000.
Apparently before the holiday month of December can begin, the city must experience at least one more major fire requiring a massive expenditure of manpower and resources. Such was the case Monday morning, November 28th, as units received a dispatch to a high-rise structure fire on 118 West Adams. Workers at the vacant high-rise were busily removing tile when the absolvent used in the process suddenly ignited on the 14th floor, quickly filling the area with thick clouds of smoke. Despite the rapid arrival of first-due units, the assignment was quickly upgraded to a Second Alarm as firefighters had to ascend to the top through the stairwell, eventually dragging along 5 individual 50 foot sections of hose to the working standpipe on the 13th floor. After approximately 45 minutes of sweaty and uncomfortable work, the fire was out with the building in receipt of ventilation procedures and downtown traffic conditions eventually restored to normalcy. No one was injured and none of the adjacent buildings required any evacuation before or during the operation.