Star of LAFD "Firehouse Burlesque" video says it was harmless
A woman performing with a hula hoop in a "Firehouse Burlesque" video that is under investigation by the Los Angeles Fire Department said she and the firefighters seen in the footage did nothing wrong.
Delila Santos, 21, who performs under the name of "Dizzy Delila," was featured in the video shot at Fire Station 63 in Venice and published on YouTube last week by Hoopnotica, a Venice-based company that promotes hula hooping for physical fitness.
"This was totally harmless," Santos told The Times on Tuesday afternoon. "We were just having fun hooping."
Last year, the LAFD launched an investigation after Station 63 and another firehouse allowed department fire engines to be used in porn shoots. In one video released in 2008, an actress climbed onto a fire engine at Venice Beach and exposed herself.
On Tuesday, Fire Chief Brian Cummings said his Professional Standards Division had launched an investigation into the hula hoop video after it was reported earlier in the day by The Times.
Santos noted her video was completely different from the one produced with the porn actress. "This video is something I’ve shown to my own mom," said Santos, who recently moved to Los Angeles from Chicago.
Santos said the video production was arranged by representatives of Hoopnotica, located several blocks from the firehouse. She was picked for the video, she said, because she had been chosen as "hooper of the week" by the company after being spotted working out with a hoop at Venice Beach. She said the video was shot in the last month.
The video, titled "Firehouse Burlesque Hula Hooping," begins by showing Santos' bare legs in firefighting pants as she pulls them up. Wearing a yellow firefighter helmet, shorts and red high heels, she dances with the hoop on the station floor next to a fire engine.
At one point, a firefighter is seen prancing around with a hoop as two other firefighters watch.
"I don't see anything wrong with firefighters attempting to hula hoop," Santos said, adding that it can help them keep in shape for their job.
She described the firefighters as nice and professional, and said they went about their normal station duties while the video shoot was underway.
Cummings was indirectly swept up in last year's video controversy. While working as a captain at Station 63 more than a decade before the porn video was disclosed, he and his fire crew were photographed with a bikini-clad woman on the Venice boardwalk. The chief said his firefighters also took a picture of the woman posing topless.
Cummings said he violated rules about not bringing dishonor to the LAFD and gave himself community service as punishment to set an example for his department.
The firefighters involved in the porn shoots were never disciplined because the City Charter prevents the Fire Department from punishing employees for actions more than two years in the past.
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— Robert J. Lopez and Ben Welsh
Video: Hula hooping at Fire Station 63. Credit: Hoopnotica.