Tuesday, August 1, 2017
LAFD Spokesperson: Margaret Stewart
Mr Steve Love, Firefighter Michael Bravo and Firefighter/Paramedic Jonathon Valenzuela with the Board of Fire Commissioners
Creative Commons Licensed For Your Use: LAFD Photo | David Ortiz
Today, the LAFD Board of Fire Commissioners recognized the top notch training, courage and teamwork that saved the life of a woman trapped in her burning home.
On May 8th, 2017 the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire in the 4100 block of Denker Ave in the Vermont Square community. The rear of a small, one story home was fully engulfed in flames and spreading through the attic while reports of someone trapped inside were given by a neighbor, Mr. Steve Love.
Prior to LAFD arrival, Mr. Love made several attempts to enter the home but was driven back by the intense heat and smoke.
As the first two engine companies developed the hose lines and the light force went to the roof to begin ventilation, a rescue effort was immediately initiated.
Firefighter Michael Bravo and Firefighter/Paramedic Jonathon Valenzuela, of Fire Station 15, quickly assessed the situation, suited up with their breathing apparatus and made entry to the home without waiting for any hose lines to protect themselves from the raging fire. They knew time was running out and deteriorating conditions would eliminate the possibility of the victim surviving this fire in a matter of seconds.
Crawling on their hands and knees through the burning home, filled with super-heated smoke banking down, they shielded themselves as best they could with an uncontrolled blaze in the next room.
Muscle memory from countless hours of training took over and as the team performed a systematic search, Firefighter Bravo found an unconscious woman lying on the floor. With Firefighter Valenzuela assisting, they dragged her body towards a window and called out for help. While Firefighter Bravo began lifting the woman through the window, Captain II Cheyne Cadwell and Mr Love helped pull her to safety.
Paramedics on scene provided rapid treatment and transport to the nearest hospital. The 44 year old woman survived her traumatic experience.
The LAFD prides itself in maintaining the highest standards of training and this incident exemplifies why. Firefighter Bravo only graduated the Training Academy a few weeks prior; he was a brand new probationary firefighter. Yet despite his lack of experience, the quality of training he received by the LAFD Drill Tower Instructors prepared him for the demanding challenges of this dangerous career.
The teamwork required for this successful rescue cannot be understated. The truck company performing roof ventilation helped release some of the gases/smoke to improve conditions inside while the engine companies got the hose lines in place to quickly follow the rescue and provide protection and extinguishment. The firefighters outside the building helped pull her to safety and provided life-saving medical care.
While LAFD firefighters chose this career, Mr. Love did not. His heroic actions and refusal to stand by without trying to save his neighbor are both admirable and honorable. He put his own life at risk without hesitation because he felt the call to act.
The LAFD joins the Board of Fire Commissioners in recognizing the tremendous actions of Firefighter Michael Bravo, Firefighter/Paramedic Jonathon Valenzuela and Mr Steve Love.
*Incident photo via video from Fox 11
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