Each morning across our land, the men and women of America's Fire Service rise to assume uncommon responsibility, responding instinctively to those in need.
Such was the duty yesterday for our Brother Robert Otanez, the Engineer of Los Angeles County Fire Department
's Engine 216:
Fire engineer Robert Otanez pulled his truck up to the scene of a two-story South Los Angeles-area apartment building fire Saturday morning and immediately began looking for a way to cut metal bars off the ground-floor windows, fearing people were trapped inside.
Then he looked up.
As smoke billowed out of the second floor, he caught the eyes of a woman in near hysterics, leaning as far as she could out the window.
Otanez then executed the classic firefighter rescue: He pitched a ladder against the building, climbed up and crawled inside the bedroom. She lifted up one of the blankets on the bed. "A brand new baby," Otanez said... (read more...)
We encourage you to learn more about the courageous work of Firefighter/Specialist Otanez and his colleagues in an inspiring and thought provoking Los Angeles Times article
. We offer a respectful tip o' the LAFD helmet to the members of LACoFD Station 16 and Battalion 13, who performed admirably under the most trying of circumstances.
Their successful rescue and fire containment not only allow us to honor them, but also to remind you of the often necessary ladder work that must be performed by firefighters.
In our daily 'dance with the devil
', a firefighter's willingness to overcome any challenge may be much more than figurative.
As Firefighter/Specialist Otanez displayed, the work of a firefighter may often take place one or several floors above - or even on the steeply pitched roof of, a burning building.
With more than 200 feet of ground ladders to accompany its massive 100 foot aerial, an LAFD Aerial Ladder Truck, referred to by some as a 'Hook and Ladder', remains an essential element to firefighting in Los Angeles.
Sometimes called a firefighter's rolling tool box, the LAFD 'Truck' (in firefighter parlance) and its countless abilities are the perfect and necessary complement to the 'Engines' that bring water, pumps and hose to attack the flames.
It is this perfectly matched network of 49 Trucks and 101 Engine Companies in the City of Los Angeles, that allow us to aggressively attack fires in buildings of all sizes across our 471 square mile jurisdiction.
Though some outside the fire service question our need for staffing these massive machines; one need look no further than the morning newspaper to see how they help us save lives.
In closing, the non-functional smoke alarms
, and security bars
on windows could easily have spelled disaster for residents of the burning apartment building. Please survey your home today for hazards. Make sure your smoke alarms and security bars remain in compliance with local laws and regulations.
To learn more about the Los Angeles County Fire Department
(an agency separate from ours), please visit their website: http://fire.lacounty.gov
Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department More...