National News: Close call by Los Angeles Firefighters when a facade breaks off at strip mall fire

A 9-1-1 call from a passerby alerted the Los Angeles Fire Department at 3:43 AM on February 2, 2014 of a structure fire at 5918 Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood. Firefighters arrived quickly to find heavy flames in the front-central section of a block long one-story strip mall.

Forcing entry into the smoke charged Herbs and Vitamins Araceli and adjacent E.H Joyeria at 5916 Santa Monica Boulevard, firefighters discovered fire in a utility room that had extended to the attic. As hoselines were extended within the building to battle flames, rooftop crews commenced strategic ventilation with chainsaws to limit the horizontal spread of heat, flame and smoke.

Just twelve minutes into the firefight, a radio warning was issued by Battalion Chief Raymundo Gomez, alerting the eighty-six firefighters under his command that the front of the building was beginning to fail. A seamless transition to defensive operations ensued moments before the facade in front of the burning businesses fully collapsed.

Accounting for all personnel and assuring them uninjured, Chief Gomez rapidly resumed a well-coordinated offense that fully extinguished the fire at 4:07 AM – just 24 minutes after the blaze was reported.

Damage from the fire was limited to the two businesses and estimated at $160,000 ($150,000 structure & $10,000 contents) The cause of the early morning fire was determined to be electrical in nature.

Dispatched Units: Pending

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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