Southern California -- this just in

Category: LAFD

LAFD delays key emergency response reforms

Withdrawn LAFD restoration plan

The Los Angeles Fire Department has delayed two reform measures designed to respond to the controversy over its diminished resources and faulty response times, according to LAFD officials at Tuesday’s meeting of the city Fire Commission.

Fire Chief Brian Cummings told the panel he’s pulling back for more study an ambitious plan called for by the City Council that would boost the department’s ranks and aim to lift its sagging response times. At the same meeting, the commissioner leading the overhaul of the LAFD’s faulty data analysis said the effort to put the department’s process on solid footing was behind schedule and would not meet an April deadline.

The department's performance has been under increased scrutiny since last March when fire officials admitted to publishing response times that made it appear rescuers arrived at emergencies faster than they actually did.

A series of Times investigations followed that identified problems or delays in processing 911 calls, summoning the nearest medical rescuers from other jurisdictions as well as wide gaps in response times in different parts of the city.

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Freeway crashes gnarl Monday morning commutes

A pair of car crashes on Los Angeles-area freeways ground morning commutes to a crawl Monday.

About 5:30 a.m., witnesses reported an overturned Toyota Camry on the northbound 5 Freeway near Colorado Street in Glendale.

The two right lanes were blocked while firefighters responded, however the scene was expected to be cleared by 7 a.m., a California Highway Patrol official said.

Meanwhile, in the South Pasadena area, authorities were working to clear a multiple-car crash on the southbound 110 Freeway south of Orange Grove Boulevard. Witnesses reported up to three cars involved in that accident, with one overturned.

The crash was blocking two lanes as of 6:45 a.m. but no Sig-alert was required, according to the CHP.


USC student killed in suspected DUI accident in South L.A.

Bill could extend last call for alcohol to 4 a.m. in some cities

Lindsay Lohan finds herself back on trial, this time for lying

-- Joseph Serna

Man killed in trench collapse identified; Cal-OSHA investigating

Workers try to rescue two people from a trench in Pacific Palisades. Credit: Martha Groves / Los Angeles Times

California safety officials Friday were investigating the cause of a trench collapse in Pacific Palisades a day earlier that killed one man and injured another, a spokesman said.

Also Friday, the Los Angeles County coroner's office identified the dead man as Gilbert Vargas, 50. Emergency workers recovered his body Thursday night after about nine hours of digging in the 200 block of North Temescal Canyon Road, just north of Pacific Coast Highway.

Vargas and the unidentified injured man, who was airlifted Thursday to a hospital in stable condition, had been excavating with back hoes on a city storm water project, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Peter Melton, a spokesman for Cal-OSHA, said the agency has ordered work stopped at the site until any hazards have been resolved.

The state Division of Occupational Safety and Health has six months to complete its investigation, but Melton said Los Angeles Engineering Inc., the men's employer, "is going to want to get this taken care of as soon as possible to get back to work, if they can get back to work."


Mars rock yields building blocks of life

Ancient feathered birds may have sported four wings, study says

Environmental group to appeal planned rail yard near Port of L.A.

-- Martha Groves

Photo: Workers try to rescue two people Thursday from a trench in Pacific Palisades. Credit: Martha Groves / Los Angeles Times



Red Line station temporarily closed after report of smoke

The Red Line Metro Rail station at Universal City has been temporarily closed in both directions Thursday afternoon after a 911 caller reported the smell of smoke, authorities said.

Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott said there is no fire and no injuries have been reported.

The station's ventilation system is removing any smoke that's present, he said.

A Metro spokesperson said regular service on the line should resume shortly.


Best known for scandal, Bell now getting A's for transparency

Journalist helped 'Annoymous' hack news story, prosecutors say

Gavin Smith's wife: Family 'devastated,' worst suspicions confirmed

-- Frank Shyong

LAFD chief wants 911 dispatch center linked to other fire agencies

The Los Angeles Fire Department will upgrade its 911 dispatch center to work with neighboring fire agencies and help ensure the closest available rescuers are sent to victims during life-threatening emergencies, Chief Brian Cummings said Wednesday.

A Times analysis of city and county records published in October found that in more than 70,000 emergency medical calls since 2007, the LAFD sent its own rescuers to victims despite the fact that Los Angeles County firehouses were closer to the scene.

More than 1,300 of those cases involved cardiac arrests, in which seconds can mean the difference between life and death. In two cases highlighted by The Times, cardiac arrest victims died after waiting for LAFD units when county help was closer.

In an interview with The Times editorial board, Cummings said he would like to see a seamless network that connects dispatch systems across municipal borders. The LAFD is in the early stages of developing a new computer system designed to work with neighboring dispatch centers, although other agencies will have to pay for similar upgrades to make the plan work.

Potential partners include the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the Long Beach Fire Department and the consolidated dispatch center that covers Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena and nine other cities, Cummings said.

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5-car pileup snarls traffic on westbound 210 Freeway in Sylmar

Traffic was snarled in this area after an accident on the 210 Freeway in Sylmar.

This post has been updated. See note below for details.

Traffic on the westbound 210 Freeway near the 5 Freeway in Sylmar was snarled Monday night after five vehicles collided, officials said.

The accident involved a big rig, an SUV and a Prius and caused a heavy backup, according to initial reports by California Highway Patrol officers at the scene. The incident was reported about 7 p.m.

Firefighters responded, but it was not immediately clear how many people may have been injured.

At least two lanes on the busy freeway were closed. It was unclear when they would be reopened.

[Updated 7:59 p.m.: Four patients were taken to hospitals, and traffic was beginning to move, the LAFD said.]


Southern California earthquake: More than 100 aftershocks

Convicted rapist Andrew Luster's 124-year sentence vacated

Dorner case: Women shot by cops still don't have truck promised by LAPD

— Robert J. Lopez


Photo: Map shows area where the accident was reported. Credit: Google Maps

Pickup truck hits 5 pedestrians on downtown sidewalk, killing one

Several pedestrians were recuperating Monday and another was dead after being hit by a truck that then crashed into a downtown Los Angeles restaurant.

The pickup was heading south on Broadway and had just crossed 4th Street when it ran into five pedestrians who were standing on the sidewalk. One of the pedestrians, a 52-year-old woman, died at the scene.

The other four victims, all between 41 and 72 years old, were taken to local hospitals in serious condition, said Officer Alex Martinez. Two others also suffered minor injuries.

The Chevrolet Avalanche then crashed through a window at Casa India Restaurant at 348 S. Broadway. The structural integrity of the building was not compromised, police said.

It was not immediately clear whether the driver was injured in the crash or was arrested. Police from the Central Community Police Station and Central Traffic Division were investigating.


Two men lose legs in downtown strip club fight

San Diego man mourned after sailboat-race death

Lion attack: Visitors return to cat sanctuary where intern died

-- Joseph Serna

Photo: Prayer candles stand at the site where a woman waiting for a bus was killed and several other pedestrians hurt after a truck crashed into a downtown Los Angeles restaurant on Broadway Street  just north of 4th Street. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Body found in San Pedro is likely a suicide, coroner official says

053465.RE.1001.guide.6.KHA woman found dead in San Pedro’s Sunken City area likely jumped to her death, an L.A. County coroner official said Monday.

The woman, described as a 40-year-old Latina, appears to have jumped Sunday from a coastal cliff just east of Point Fermin on San Pedro’s southern edge, said Lt. Cheryl MacWillie.

Emergency responders received a call about 5:20 p.m. and found the body after a search by air, ground and water, a Los Angeles Fire Department official said. The body was removed by a helicopter.

The woman has not yet been identified.

The Sunken City is an old residential neighborhood that has been fenced off for decades after it began slipping into the ocean in 1929.


Two men lose legs in downtown strip club fight

Lion attack: Fresno County cat sanctuary reopens to public

Truck crashes into downtown building, killing 1, injuring others

-- Joseph Serna

Photo: Cliffs near Point Fermin in San Pedro. Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

Truck crashes into downtown building, killing 1, injuring others [Updated]

A pickup truck crashed into a downtown Los Angeles storefront Sunday, killing one person and injuring several others, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The vehicle struck the building near Broadway and 4th streets at about 2 p.m., LAFD spokesman Erik Scott said. No other information was known about the victims.

[Updated at 3:10 p.m.: A 52-year-old woman was killed and four victims were transported to hospitals in serious condition, according to Scott. Two other victims were also transported but suffered minor injuries. All of the victims were ages 30-70. The truck went partially through a business window at 348 S. Broadway, the address of Casa India Restaurant, whose sign said it sells Mexican and Salvadorean food. The structural integrity of the building was not compromised, Scott said.]

“Most of these accidents start off with a few patients and end up growing so we just have to wait and see and let everyone do their job,” Scott said.

Los Angeles police from the Central Community Police Station and the Central Traffic Division responded to the incident.


S.F. bicyclist to be tried for gross vehicular manslaughter

Scattered showers, thunderstorms expected across Southland

Marijuana worth $1 million found on beach near Vandenberg AFB

-- Corina Knoll

Metrolink train en route to Antelope Valley kills pedestrian

A pedestrian was hit in this area and killed by a Metrolink train.
A Metrolink train en route to the Antelope Valley struck and killed a pedestrian Tuesday evening in the Sun Valley area, officials said.

The victim was struck  by train 215 in the 7700 block of San Fernando Road, officials said. The accident also affected train 220, which was stopped while police investigated the incident, Metrolink said on its Twitter account.

The incident was reported shortly after 5 p.m, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. No other details were immediately available.


Bay Bridge set to shine with massive 25,000-light display

City Hall not a 'mess' despite what ads contend, Villaraigosa says

Woman held in connection with polling place shooting, LAPD says

— Robert J. Lopez


Map shows area where train hit pedestrian. Credit: Google Maps

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