This past Monday morning at 8:40 am, Battalion Chief Mark Jones of Station 84 took one look at the plume of smoke erupting from the fire at the five-story condominium construction site near the corner of Canoga and Erwin and said to the Firefighter Staff Assistant driving the Command Vehicle, “Oh my God, this is gonna be a big one!”
Chief Jones was first on site at the intense fire that threatened to destroy the entire development and as the Incident Commander, he immediately “depleted the entire valley” of fire fighting resources, placing 200 Firefighters on the scene within 45 minutes.
Referred to as “a state of the art firefighting mission” by the Chief, the fire was broken up into “pieces” with Firefighters working on A, B, C and D elements of the bigger fire.
Traffic Control was provided by the LAPD and LADOT as nearly 50 Fire Fighting Companies arrived on scene and were sent to work on the fire. Helicopters with water stood by ready for the call that never came.
An hour and twenty minutes later, the fire was out, there were no injuries, there was no need to evacuate the neighboring buildings and a development that could have burned to the ground was saved.
Reportedly, the fire was caused when molten metal from a welding torch fell from the third floor, igniting tar paper on the second floor. Workers were unable to control the fire and they evacuated the building, calling for help.
A Sprinkler system was in place and provided temporary fire suppression but because there was no “firewall” in place, the PVC simply melted and the sprinklers ultimately failed.
The fire took place in the center of the complex and the unfinished nature of the construction site made it difficult for the firefighters to navigate, but in spite of fears that the entire development would go up in flames, the development was saved.
Firefighters were assigned to the incident location overnight to monitor the situation but for the Chief, he reports that by 3:30 in the afternoon, he was on his way home.
All in a day’s work!
Photos courtesy of Mark Jones