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Firefighters gather to honor fallen colleague, Glenn Allen [Update]

February 25, 2011 |  8:04 am

Firefighters were gathering Friday in downtown Los Angeles for the funeral of firefighter Glenn Allen, who was killed battling a blaze at a Hollywood Hills mansion.

Services are scheduled to get underway at 9:30 a.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels and will be preceded by an 8:30 a.m. walking procession of mourners from the south lawn of Los Angeles City Hall.

[Updated at 8:48 a.m.: Hundreds of firefighters and dignitaries walked from City Hall beneath an arch of raised ladders on two fire trucks on Temple Street. They followed Allen’s coffin, which was carried on the back of one of his station's fire trucks, and an honor guard. Trucks and ladders representing departments throughout California filled the route from City Hall to the cathedral.]

A half-dozen roads in and around downtown will close to accommodate the estimated 8,000 mourners, including Gov. Jerry Brown and firefighters from across California.

Fire trucks from about 100 public safety agencies began lining up downtown shortly after 6 a.m. Allen, 61, was gravely injured when a ceiling collapsed on him and five colleagues as they battled a blaze that broke out Feb. 16 in the 1500 block of North Viewsite Drive.

The 36-year firefighter died last Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He was a year from retirement. Allen's daughter gave birth to his first grandchild the day after he died. The 6-pound, 7-ounce boy was said to be healthy.

While the fire was considered an accident, the home was declared a "crime scene" this week as Los Angeles Police Department detectives conducted an investigation with the fire department. The investigators are examining whether the structure was compliant with building and safety codes.

Allen was injured when water from the mansion fire sprinkler system filled a false ceiling, causing it to collapse. The sprinkler pipe had apparently been damaged by the fire.

Allen was the first LAFD firefighter to be killed in the line of duty since 2008. In March of that year, Brent Lovrien was killed in an explosion near Los Angeles International Airport as he investigated a utilities explosion.

Allen is survived by his wife, Melanie; his daughter, Rebecca McPhee; his mother; his brother; his sister; and his grandson.

The street closures include: Temple Street between Grand Avenue and Los Angeles Street, Main Street between Temple and 2nd streets, Hill Street between 1st and Ord streets, and Hill Street between 1st and Temple streets.


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-- Richard Winton

Photo: The casket containing the body of firefighter Glenn Allen stages on Main Street before the procession and funeral service for the Los Angeles City firefighter, who was fatally injured while battling a house fire in the Hollywood Hills the night of Feb. 16.  Credit: Ifan Khan / Los Angeles Times