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L.A. firefighter injured in Hollywood Hills still in grave condition

February 18, 2011 |  9:17 am

A veteran Los Angeles city firefighter was battling for his life Friday, a day after he was crushed by a falling ceiling at a burning Hollywood Hills mansion.

“He continues to be in grave condition, we are sad to report,” said Fire Inspector Erik Scott.

The firefighter, whose identity was not being released by the Los Angeles Fire Department at the request of his family, was pinned for several minutes beneath a ceiling that collapsed under the weight of water as colleagues desperately struggled to free him using chain saws.

During that time, he may have been deprived of oxygen. The 38-year department veteran, who was due to retire in about a year, was immediately rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in grave condition.

Four other firefighters were injured fighting the blaze, including a city firefighter who suffered a broken ankle.

Firefighters began battling the accidental blaze about 11:20 p.m. Wednesday in the 1500 block of North Viewsite Drive that may have escalated from a gas fireplace.

The veteran firefighter was inside the home when a portion of a false ceiling, which had become saturated with water from a pipe, collapsed.

Fire investigators believe the ceiling had become saturated because flames burned through a plastic pipe providing water to the sprinkler system and the water accumulated between the roof and ceiling.


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-- Richard Winton

Photo: Fire officials sifted through debris at the scene of the fire. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times