LAFD Puts Twitter on Hiatus Citing HIPAA

Two people were killed and three others were hurt in an apartment fire in Los  Angeles on Thursday morning.

But, don't expect any details from the fire department officials. Police told the media about the fire.

LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey described the damage to the building as “significant” but declined to release details on such aspects as evacuations and injuries, even any involving firefighters, based on what he described as instructions received Wednesday from the City Attorney’s Office, according to TheSun.

The LAFD and LAFDTalk Twitters read: "This account is on temporary hiatus."

“All of our social media is on hiatus until we get clarity and develop a plan of how orders are to be implemented in regard to our social media presence,” Humphrey told the local media asking about details about the fire.

In a subsequent interview this morning, LAFD Battalion Chief Steve Ruda - - recently appointed as the department’s new Community Liaison officer to oversee the agency’s community and media relations functions -- told City News Service that his department now had instituted the policy because of concerns about violating the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, a medical privacy law enacted in 1996.