North Hollywood, California Fire Injures 5 Firefighters

On Monday, January 7, at 7:13 AM, 28 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 10 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 2 Arson Units, 3 Urban Search and Rescue Units, 1 Rehab Unit, Emergency Air, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 4 EMS Battalion Captains, 4 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, all under the direction of Assistant Chief Timothy Manning responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at 5303 N. Lankershim Bl. in North Hollywood.

Firefighters arrived on scene to find an older, two-story commercial building, with moderate smoke showing. Firefighters entered the structure attempting to locate the fire, while fellow Firefighters began ventilation operations on the roof. The building, a former bank built in 1926, had recently been remodeled and was doing business as the "Bank Heist" restaurant and night club. Ventilation efforts were extremely difficult and time consuming due to the Spanish roof tile covering nearly a dozen layers of composition roofing material covering a thick layer of insulation foam, all laid on top of the wood sheathing. Due to the extended time required to ventilate the building, Firefighters inside the structure had to endure extremely hot and smoky conditions for an extended period of time.

Approximately 40 minutes into the fire fight and after several incidents of Firefighters activating emergency radio triggers or being injured, the decision was made to withdraw all personnel from the interior and roof of the building. A defensive exterior attack was initiated until the stability of the structure could be assessed and all members had been accounted for. Eighteen minutes later, after the structural integrity was determined safe, Firefighters resumed offensive actions to control and extinguish the blaze. In all, 200 Firefighters worked for over two hours to gain control of this fire and prevent the total destruction of the historic building.

The former bank building suffered significant damage. The roof and second floor suffered heavy fire damage, the first floor and basement experienced minimal fire damage, however, did experience water damage. During this fire, five Firefighters suffered minor injuries and / or smoke inhalation requiring transport to a local hospital for evaluation. Three of the injured Firefighters were returned to duty and two were placed off duty to recuperate from home. One civilian did suffer non-life threatening injuries and was transported to Providence St. Joseph's Hospital for medical care. The cause of this fire remains under investigation and the dollar loss is still being tabulated.