On Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 3:58 PM, 11 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 4 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 4 Arson Units, 1 Rehab Unit, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 2 EMS Battalion Captains, 1 Battalion Chief Officer Command Team and 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 79 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Robert Willcox, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 15739 Romar Street in North Hills.

Los Angeles Firefighters arrived quickly to find a heavily modified detached garage to the rear of a one-story single family home well involved with fire. The burning structure, haphazardly converted over time into a two-story living quarters, had fire through the roof soon after firefighters arrival.

© Photo by Rick McClure. Click to view more...
With flames threatening nearby homes, firefighters navigated clutter and storage - as well as an empty swimming pool obscured by smoke, that was built close enough to limit ground ladder placement.

As their colleagues mounted a fierce attack on the flames, firefighters provided medical care to a 65 year-old male resident suffering from smoke exposure and a small burn injury. In fair condition, he was transported by LAFD Paramedics to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills.

The firefight proved challenging due to the highly compartmentalized nature of the structure, as well as pack-rat conditions within. It took the exhausting effort of 79 firefighters more than one-and-a-quarter hours to fully extinguish the flames. Many hours more were spent overhauling debris.

Despite the team effort of firefighters, one pet canine could not be found during or following the blaze, and is believed to have perished in the intense fire fueled by an abundance of interior storage.

The presence and functional status of legally required smoke alarms could not be immediately determined. The heavily modified building was not equipped with residential fire sprinklers, and suffered severe fire damage.

The fire was limited to the structure of origin. Loss from the blaze is estimated at $290,000 ($200,000 structure & $90,000 contents). The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department
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