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Firefighters Battle a Two Story Inferno

By Steve Yamamoto | March 4, 2011

Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD) units were dispatched on the afternoon of March 4, 2011 at 1:19PM, for reports of an apartment fire on the 2600 block of E. 56th Street.  Truck 11 arrived in less than three minutes to find a two-story apartment unit that was fully involved with heavy black smoke and fire pouring out of all of the windows and doors on both floors.  This produced a thick dark column of smoke could be seen from miles away.  Firefighters quickly threw a ladder to the roof to begin ventilation operations to allow the super heated smoke and fire to exit the structure and improve conditions for Firefighters in the fiery blaze below.  Engine 12 immediately pulled a hose line through the front door to aggressively attack the raging inferno inside.  Just as other units were arriving on scene, the Incident Commander called for an additional Engine for extra manpower because of the shear amount of fire that was present.  The fire burned so hot inside that it weakened the internal staircase and two Firefighters partially fell through the steps.  The fall caused one Firefighter to burn his gloved hand on a scorching hot metal railing as he was advancing the hose-line upstairs.  Once they had knocked down the fire, the Firefighters quickly conducted a primary search for victims.  Fortunately no one was inside at the time of the fire and there were no injuries or victims.  The hard work and brave efforts of these Firefighters kept the surrounding units of this apartment complex from being engulfed by flames.  The conditions inside were so intense that two Firefighters suffered minor burns to their ears, neck, and hand.  They were evaluated on scene by Paramedics and returned to duty.  The LBFD Fire Investigators determined the cause of this fire to be arson.  A suspect was arrested by Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) officers and booked for arson.  The total damages incurred were estimated at over $350,000.  Additional to the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) and LBPD, there were a total of 14 LBFD units and 29 personnel operating on scene of this incident that occurred in the 8th Council District.

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