Interstate Bank Building
FIRE DEPARTMENT OPERATIONS
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
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
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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