On August 11, 2003 at 2333 hours (11:33 PM PDT), thirty-four companies of Los Angeles firefighters, six LAFD Rescue Ambulances, two EMS Battalion Captains and seven Battalion Officer Command Teams, all under the direction of Assistant Chief Dean Cathey responded to a major emergency structure fire at 17730 Lassen St. in Northridge.
The initial report was for a rubbish fire. First arriving companies quickly discovered smoke showing from the attic of the 200' x 200' building which was a 3 story, center hallway apartment complex over parking.
Firefighters, using handlines, mounted a pertinacious interior assault on the fire, which had rapidly spread from easternmost portion of the 125 unit complex to take hold of the large attic and threaten upper floor occupancies.
As residents fled, firefighters commenced a well-orchestrated salvage effort, undaunted in the completion of a primary search - even as portions of the structure faced physical compromise. These efforts, combined with highly effective vertical ventilation, allowed firefighters to limit the heaviest damage to the attic and six upper floor units. A handful of other units sustained collateral damage from the fire. The fire was extinguished in less than two hours. One firefighter was treated at scene for heat exhaustion before returning to the firefight, and no civilians were injured. The loss is estimated at 1 million dollars, and the cause is under investigation.