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Interstate Bank Building Fire;


At 2237, the Fire Department received three separate 9-l-l calls from people outside of the First Interstate building reporting a fire on the upper floors. At 2238, a Category "B" assignment was dispatched consisting of Task Forces 9 and 10, Engine 3, Squad 4, and Battalion 1 -- a total of 30 personnel. (A Task Force in Los Angeles consists of 10 personnel operating two pumpers and one ladder truck.)

The first report of the fire from inside the building was received at 2241, as the first due companies were arriving at the scene. While en route, Battalion 1 had observed and reported a large "loom-up" in the general area of the building. As he arrived on the scene, the Battalion Chief observed the entire east side and three-fourths of the south side of the 12th floor fully involved with fire. Battalion Chief Don Cate immediately called for five additional Task Forces, five Engine companies, and five Battalion Chiefs. This was followed quickly by a request for an additional five Task Forces, five Engine companies and five Battalion Chiefs, providing a total response of over 200 personnel within five minutes of the first alarm. Two Fire Department helicopters were also dispatched.

The High Rise Incident Command System was initiated with companies assigned to fire attack and to logistics and support functions from the outset. Appendix B shows the system and indicates the changes in command of various functions during the course of the incident. Appendix C shows the overall site and the location of the Command Post.


In accordance with Los Angeles City Fire Department policy, elevators were not used and all personnel climbed the stairs to the fire area. The first companies to reach the fire floor found smoke entering all four stairshafts from around the exit doors. Handlines were connected to the standpipe risers and the initial attack began at approximately 2310. Due to the magnitude of the fire on the 12th floor, attack was initiated from all four stairways. The crews had great difficulty advancing lines through the doors and onto the floor. As the doors were opened, heat and smoke pushed into the stairways and rose rapidly to the upper levels of the building.

The first six arriving companies were sent immediately to attack the f i r e . The initial attack used primarily 2-inch attack lines. The attack was hampered by low water pressure for the first few minutes, until the building fire pumps were started. The standpipes were also supplied by three Fire Department pumpers via the exterior hose connections.

As the attack was put into operation, a Staging Area was established on the 10th floor and a Lobby Control was established at ground level. The "Base" for the operation was located a block south of the building (see Appendix C), following the High Rise Incident Command Plan.

The Command Post was established by the first arriving Battalion Chief one-half block south of the fire, and the Incident Commander operated from this location for the duration of the incident. The Operations Chief went to the 10th floor Staging Area to direct interior suppression efforts where he would have direct contact with officers assigned to each floor.

The key positions in the command organization were initially assigned to Captains or Battalion Chiefs who were later relieved by higher ranking Command Officers. In most cases the relieved Battalion Chief stayed at the same location to work as an assistant to the higher ranking officer.

Deputy Chief Donald F. Anthony, second-in-command of the Los Angeles City Fire Department, became the Incident Commander upon his arrival at the scene. Chief Engineer and General Manager Donald 0. Manning was also present at the Command Post and was involved in strategic planning for the incident.


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