Twin Girls Lose Belongings, Keep Family and Hope

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Firefighters rescued family members and pets from a house fire in Sun Valley, which sent one man to the hospital in critical condition. Crews later helped the young girls replace some of their belongings that were destroyed by the fire.



Alarms went off in the nearby fire stations just after 11 o'clock in the morning on March 7, 2024, when a home caught fire in Sun Valley. Firefighters raced to the scene with lights and sirens, and first-arriving officers reported a one-story home with heavy fire showing front one room toward the front of the house.

Firefighters connected a large-diameter hose to a nearby hydrant for the engine's water supply and deployed firefighting hose lines to the 1,500 square-foot home built in 1957. Crews advanced those hose lines into the structure, looking for the seat of the fire, while other firefighters searched for trapped victims. Search crews found two people inside and pulled from the fiery building. In addition to the two people, three dogs were rescued (but sadly, two cats did not make it out alive).

Firefighters ascended ladders to the roof to cut holes to allow the super-heated gases and smoke to escape and improve visibility for firefighters inside. Firefighters knocked back the flames, containing the bulk of the damage to a front room of the home, and took 21 minutes from the time of alarm to fully extinguish the blaze.

One of the individuals who was rescued was a 19-year-old male who was badly burned, and firefighter-paramedics transported him to a local hospital, where he remains in critical condition. Due to other family members' medical conditions, he was the only one who drives in the family.

Firefighters saw two young girls crying outside. After coming home from school, the ten-year-old twins were met with the sight of their bedroom and everything they owned charred in the front room of the home - their bedroom. After learning they lost all of their belongings, clothes, toys, and stuffed animals, firefighters sought permission to remain assigned to this particular emergency incident for some extra time, and went above and beyond the original call to extinguish the fire, in order to help with the recovery portion of this emergency.

Los Angeles City Firefighters focus on four parts of helping our communities through their emergencies: (1) preparedness, (2) prevention, (3) response, and (4) recovery. Many of the responding firefighters have kids of their own who are a similar age. They felt compassion and saw a chance to help this family begin to recover. After permission was granted by supervisors up the chain, firefighters invited the girls to accompany them to a local department store and help them replace a few of the items they lost, including toiletries, stuffed animals, clothing, and bedding to use as they stay with friends in the coming days and weeks.

There is still a long road to recovery for the residents of this damaged home, and the family will be given information and tools to assist them through the process, but for now, the compassion of those LAFD members on scene has provided some comfort and hope to help them through this tragedy. We are proud to tell this story of our firefighters, who did not wish to be personally highlighted. Their hope is that this uplifting story will encourage others to be good to each other, and pay it forward in kind.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the man in critical condition, who continues to be in the very capable hands of the professionals at the hospital. We hope this encourages you to revisit #1 and #2 (preparedness and prevention) to hopefully avoid the emergency requiring #3 and #4 (response and recovery). While the risk will never be zero, we hope you will develop a plan in your home for emergencies, and stress the importance of safety.

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