Tag Archives: Burbank Fire Department

Hollywood Burbank Airport Runs Successful Emergency Exercise

Wednesday, March 14, was a busy day at Hollywood Burbank Airport.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Not only was the airport the location where three Osprey Aircraft and two Marine Helicopters were based for President Trump’s recent Los Angeles visit, but The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, along with numerous local agencies, participated in an Airport Emergency Plan Full-Scale Exercise designed to test the airport’s readiness in case of a real incident.

Minutes after the aircraft used for the President landed around 9:30 a.m., pyrotechnics were set off in a field east of Runway 15/33, the Airport’s north-south runway where a fuselage and engine were placed simulating a crash landing. The explosion and fire, which were located at the engine, started the events of the day.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Crash Units from the airport were first on the scene (2:41 seconds from dispatch to arrival) and while one unit extinguished the fire, the others set up to rescue the passengers who were placed in the fuselage. EMT students from College of the Canyons and Glendale Community College volunteered as the victims needing medical attention at the scene. Volunteers reported to the site at 6 a.m. and were given a safety briefing and moulage makeup to simulate a variety of injuries.

Along with the Crash Units from the airport, there was a full call out of first responders from surrounding agencies. Emergency units from the Burbank Fire Department, Los Angeles Fire Department, Glendale Fire Department and the Pasadena Fire Department all were standing by in the area and responding to the scene as their anticipated emergency drive time from their stations warranted.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

One of the primary goals of having all units respond on scene is for emergency responders to learn the rules of the airport when it comes to driving. When on the road, once a fire engine turns on its red lights and sirens, it controls the road.  In an airport, all emergency vehicle are under the direction of the airport’s tower and must receive permission before traveling across runways and taxiways.

“The exercise evaluated our operational capabilities and emergency management in a real-time, unrehearsed simulation, and it tested the functions of our Airport Emergency Plan in an incident where multiple local agencies are responding to the scene,” said Executive Director Frank R. Miller.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Those functions included on-site incident command; victim rescue, triage, and treatment; management of friends and family; and communications and media relations.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires the Airport Authority to conduct such an exercise once every three years. Between the actual drill years, a ’roundtable’ is held each year to discuss emergency contingencies with all agencies. All agencies working together in a Mutual Aid agreement must be able to communicate and be on the same page in case of an emergency.

The Airport continued with normal operations throughout the exercise, which lasted approximately two hours.


Eight Vehicles Ignite After Flammable Liquid Flows Down Gutter

Burbank firefighters received a call at 2:25 pm on Sunday, March 4 for an outside fire. Upon arriving at the scene in the 1800 block of Lincoln, the first engine found an outside fire that had ignited some kind of a flammable liquid which was flowing down the street on Lincoln.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

A full assignment, which consisted of three fire engines, two truck companies, one rescue ambulance and Battalion Chief  Mark Hatch, arrived on scene and immediately took quick action to contain the fires.

According to Battalion Chief John Owings P.I.O of the Burbank Fire Department, “The resulting flammable liquid fire extended to eight vehicles parked on Lincoln street destroying three and damaging five others. Crews quickly extinguished the multiple fires within 10 minutes and stopped the flow of the flammable liquid preventing it from flowing into the storm drain.

There was minimal damage to nearby structures.”

Smoke as seen from Wildwood Canyon Trail. (Photo by Scotty Beck)

Chief Owings did not specify what the liquid was that was ignited.

Burbank Public Works was called out to assist with the cleanup of the absorbent and sand used to dike the combination of oil and gas that remained along the curb line. Once all the cars were towed away a Burbank City Street Sweeper made several passes to help clean up any left residue.

There were no reported injuries and there is still no estimate on the dollar loss to the vehicles and properties involved.

An investigator was called to the scene and at this time there is still no cause of the spill and the resulting fire.


Burbank Fire Knocks Down House Fire Within Minutes

Burbank Fire Department responded to the 2000  block of Brighton at 3:44 p.m. Friday afternoon to a reported house fire with an elderly woman inside.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

The first Engine on scene reported a working fire in a single story set of duplexes, with fire blowing out the front unit.  Firefighters went to extinguish the blaze while Burbank Paramedics treated a 97-year-old female who was inside the house when it caught fire. They later transported the 97-year-old to a local hospital with some minor burn type injuries.

While the fire was being extinguished firefighters cut ventilation holes in the roof and made sure the fire did not extend to the other units from a common attic. The fire was knocked down within 10 minutes.

The fire cause is under normal investigation and the damage which was contained to the front unit was not put at a value.

Here is a galley from the incident. ( Click on any image to enlarge the picture)




Burbank Emergency Services Personnel Return from Montecito

On Tuesday evening, Burbank Strike Team 1201A, which consists of one Battalion Chief, Engine 11, an Engine from Glendale, and one Engine from Pasadena, returned home from Montecito. Their trip began when Fire Chief Eric Garcia wrote to City Council and City Staff following the mudslides that hit the Montecito area. The message was as follows:

“Strike Team 1201 is has been dispatched “immediate need” to the Santa Barbara area for mud and debris flows. The Strike Team will be comprised of Burbank Battalion Chief Kenet Robertson as the Strike Team Leader and Burbank Engine 11 along with 4 other Area C Engine Companies. As we know the Santa Barbara area has severe burn areas from the recent Thomas Fire and this first rain is already making a tremendous impact.”

Photo Courtesy of Burbank Fire Department

The emergency assistance is part of a mutual aid agreement within the county of Los Angeles. Area C, which is partially comprised of Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, Alhambra, and the Hollywood Burbank Airport, will sometimes respond to other areas that are in need of emergency assistance. Mutual aid assistance is not out of the ordinary and that time came when heavy rainfall gave way to the devastating mudslides in residential areas of Santa Barbara County.

After the initial rainfall and mudslides hit Montecito, the Burbank Fire Department mobilized two Battalion Chiefs, One Engine Company, Engine 11, along with four firefighters. Those four firefighters spent the days of January 9th to January 16th in Montecito. Each workday, the firefighters, along with other emergency response personnel, had shifts that ranged anywhere between 12 to 24 four hours. During those shifts, firefighters assisted in a USAR (Ultra Search and Rescue) task force in rescue and recovery missions. Those involved in the task force continually worked in water, mud, and debris throughout their tour in the Montecito area.

Photo Courtesy of Burbank Fire Department

Sergeant Derek Green of the Burbank Police Department elaborated on the department’s aid to Montecito. According to Sgt. Green, this marks the department’s second tour to Montecito in recent weeks. The first tour saw Burbank Police Officers from the traffic division making the trip to assist with road closures in the area during the Thomas Fire in late December.

On January 18th, four officers, from Burbank’s traffic division, and one supervisor, a lieutenant from the department’s community outreach program, were sent to work one 12-hour shift. According to Sergeant Green, “The officers were tasked with patrolling evacuated neighborhoods to protect against theft and looting.  They also helped with road closures and traffic control, and helped clean up crews and emergency response crews by escorting them in and out of the area.”

Now that the rains have stopped, our emergency responders and equipment are coming home. As of right now, there are currently no further requests for assistance from the Burbank Fire Department. Now that the skies are clearing, both our Police and Fire Departments will be returning to regular duty throughout the city.

Burbank Welcomes Eric Garcia as New Fire Chief

On Thursday Burbank Fire Chief Eric Garcia formally accepted Command of the Burbank Fire Department.  Following a 30 year career, Chief Tom Lenahan retired as Burbank Fire Chief, moving on to take the reins as Chief of the Hollywood Burbank Airport Fire Department.

Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

The ceremony, held at the Burbank Fire Department Station 11, was well-attended by area fire chiefs including those from the cities of Glendale, Pasadena, El Segundo, Alhambra, Culver City, Los Angeles, in addition to representatives from Los Angeles County Fire and the Hollywood Burbank Airport Fire Department.

Burbank Council Member Jesse Talamantes, a former Burbank firefighter and training officer himself, recalled then “rookie” Lenahan as a team player, and a natural leader.  Glendale Chief Greg Fish recalled Lenahan providing guidance and support throughout his tenure, and assurance for incoming Chief Garcia that “we’ve (Glendale FD) got your back!”

Lenahan actually began his career in the LA County Sheriff Department.  While at an event, according to retired Chief Jeffrey Howe, Lenahan was introduced to the fire department culture and brotherhood, and soon entered training for the Burbank Fire Department.  “Tom was one of those guys who was always able to take a negative and turn it into a positive” recalled Howe. “He had a big heart.”

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Of his many accomplishments as Chief, Lenahan may have left a tough legacy to surpass – his leadership bringing the Burbank Fire department to accreditation from the Commission on Fire Accreditation International, earning one of the highest classifications possible – the Class 1 Public Protection Classification (PPC) rating, making Burbank one of the highest rated fire departments in the United States.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Lenahan received Certificates of Recognition for his service from a wide range of officials, including US Rep. Adam Schiff,  CA Sen. Anthony Portantino, and City of Burbank Mayor Will Rogers.
Chief Garcia brings a new era to Burbank.  Garcia will face many challenges, including shrinking budgets, but is “excited about the possibilities for further developing the Fire Department.” Garcia also emphasized that he is “eager to foster cooperation and integration with area fire departments, and ready to accept the challenges ahead.”

Garcia joined the Burbank Fire Department in 1994 and has served as a Battalion Fire Chief and Assistant Fire Chief.  Known as the “Coach,” Garcia has a strong reputation as a team builder and team leader.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

According to the Burbank Fire Department, Chief Garcia holds duel Associate Degrees in Fire Science and Paramedic Studies, a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Leadership, and continues as a Master’s Degree Candidate at Brandman University. Garcia is married, with a daughter and two sons.

As newly appointed Assistant Chief Danny Alvarez brought the Change of Command to a close, a dispatcher from the Verdugo Fire Communications Center broadcast the message to member agencies announcing the formal change of command, with acknowledgment by each agency congratulating Chief Garcia into his new role as Chief, Burbank Fire Department.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

New Burbank Fire Chief Eric Garcia Announced

Following the announced retirement of Burbank Fire Chief Tom Lenahan in October, the Burbank Fire Department plans to promote Assistant Fire Chief Eric Garcia to the position.

Chief Garcia joined the BFD in 1994 and gained many titles over the years. He has been very instrumental in Burbank’s Emergency Medical Service and in his current role as Administrative Chief where he handles on all areas of the department.  In 2012, Garcia became a Battalion Chief.


“I’m very thankful for the opportunity and eager to get to work. I’m proud to serve the City of Burbank,” said Chief Garica.

Garcia’s promotion will be made official in a change-of-command ceremony taking place on December 28. The new Chief will be making several placements and promotions within the ranks once he takes over the office of Chief.

Starting in January 2018, Chief Lenahan will takeover as Fire Chief of the recently renamed Hollywood Burbank Airport.

Homeless Man Arrested For Burbank Blvd. Overpass Fire

Photo by Ross A. Benson

Not long after a brush fire spread along the embankment of the Burbank Boulevard Overpass yesterday evening, the Burbank Police Department arrested Edwin Matos, a 55-year-old homeless man, for allegedly starting the fire.

(Photo Courtesy Burbank Fire Department)

The fire prompted the closure of the Interstate 5 on-ramps and off-ramps, causing traffic backup which may foreshadow the gridlock in 2018 when the Burbank Blvd. bridge will be closed for construction.

During the fire, a traffic light was damaged and had to be repaired by the Public Works Department. Irrigation lines were also affected. Although the brush fire quickly spread from the south side where it originated to the north side, it was soon contained by the Burbank Fire Department. Since there are not any fire hydrants on the bridge, engines had to shuttle over 5,000 gallons of water.

(Photo Courtesy Burbank Fire Department)

The BPD was in search of a man fitting Matos’ description after receiving a report from a witness, saying the suspect ran northbound on the railroad tracks after causing the fire. When police spotted Matos and told him to stop, he ignored the officers’ orders and began to run. They eventually caught up with Matos who struggled with police, attempting to resist arrest.

While the arrest was taking place, the suspect’s dog, a Chihuahua mix named Rico, bit an officer on his arm and leg. However, the officer was not badly harmed. Matos’ dog is currently at the Burbank Animal Shelter in a 10-day quarantine for rabies monitoring, which might lead it to be euthanized.

Matos, who is said to be from Burbank, was found in possession of multiple lighters, matches, and a switchblade when he was taken into custody. It was also discovered that he had three outstanding arrest warrants for drug offenses and resisting arrest. Matos was booked into the Burbank City Jail for felony arson, resisting arrest, and possession of a knife.

Matos is currently being held at $141,000 bail and is due at the Burbank Court House on Friday.

(Photo Courtesy Burbank Fire Department)

(Photo Courtesy Burbank Fire Department)

Late Night Fire Sends Six Firefighters to the Hospital

On October 31, 2017, at 11:50 pm, a full structure response was dispatched to Empire Avenue for a reported smoke inside a structure.

Photo Courtesy Burbank Fire Department

Engine 13 arrived on scene and found that the smoke was coming from Victory Place business, Burbank Engine 14 responded to the corrected address, which was 1837 Empire, which is a Plating business. Once on scene, fire personnel discovered a vat inside the closed business was off-gassing a white smoke. All firefighters backed out and the assignment was upgraded to a hazardous material (HazMat) response.

The building’s representatives informed fire personnel that they had been cleaning a tank with chemicals during the day.  Six Burbank fire personnel were transported to a local hospital requiring medical evaluation those same firefighters were later released back to full duty.

HazMat 12 made entry to the business and shut off the power to the vat with Glendale HazMat 24 backing them up.

The Burbank Police Department provided traffic control and safety for personnel.

All units cleared the scene at approximately 3 am. During the incident, Glendale Fire units moved up and covered Burbank stations. 

The complete list of equipment that responded to the incident was Burbank Fire Department: Truck 11, Rescue Ambulance 11, Engine 12, Truck 12, Hazardous Materials 12, Engine 13, Rescue Ambulance 13, Engine 14, Engine 15, Engine 16, Battalion 1 and Training Chief; Glendale Fire Department.

Burbank Fire Chief Tom Lenahan to Retire

Burbank’s last three fire chiefs gathered for Chief Lenahan’s swearing-in. (L to R) Curtis Reynolds, Ray Krakowski, Lenahan,& Mike Davis (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Fire Chief Tom Lenahan has announced that he will retire from the City on December 28, 2017, and become Fire Chief of the Hollywood-Burbank Airport in January 2018.

Burbank Fire Chief Tom Lenahan (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“Chief Lenahan has been a leader within the Burbank community,” stated City Manager Ron Davis. “He has been instrumental in achieving both a Class 1 rating for Burbank Fire Department along with becoming an internationally accredited agency, which means the Department is a highly elite team. For this and Chief Lenahan’s years of service, we are grateful.”

“I can not help but feel great about our community retaining his leadership through the appointment with the Hollywood Burbank Airport,” said Davis.

Lenahan began his career with the City of Burbank Fire Department as a Firefighter 30 years ago. He continued to rise through the ranks as Paramedic, Engineer, Captain, and Battalion Chief. He served as Assistant Fire Chief, in charge of the budget, personnel, and other administrative functions from January 2009 – June 2012.

Throughout his time with the BFD, Lenahan has seen several changes and improvement.

“We continue to have one of the most progressive and innovative Emergency Medical Services in California and we are always on the cutting edge of service delivery efficiencies,” said Lenahan. “Most recently we have become an Internationally accredited Fire Department from the Center of Public safety Excellence as well as an ISO Class I rated Fire Department. Not many fire departments in the US have both distinctions.”

Chief Lenahan had a brief tour of duty as the Fire Marshal beginning in July of 2012 before assuming the position of Fire Chief in January 2013.

He is also the Office of Emergency Services Region I, Area C Coordinator, which covers approximately 126 square miles of Los Angeles County and includes the cities of Alhambra, Arcadia, Burbank, Glendale, Monrovia, Monterey Park, Pasadena, San Gabriel, San Marino, Sierra Madre and South Pasadena. This mobilization was recently seen in the La Tuna fire that threatened Burbank homes.

Prior to becoming a Burbank Firefighter Lenahan was a Los Angeles County Sheriff Deputy for 5 years.

“Thank you to Burbank for allowing me to serve in such a noble profession,” Lenahan said. “In my new position with the Hollywood Burbank Airport I look forward to continuing the strong relationship with the City and Burbank Fire as we embark in the construction of a new terminal at the Airport.”

Lenahan took over the operations of the fire department in January of 2013 (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Glendale Police Arrest Burbank Arsonist

On July 5, 2017, the Glendale Police Department arrested 42 year old Antonio La Clay for a series of fires occurring in the City of Glendale and the City of Burbank.

Antonio La Clay

Glendale detectives began investigating the fires in the south portion of Glendale beginning in March 2017. The small fires were mostly confined to stand alone garbage containers, dumpsters, and debris. As the investigation continued, new fires were set in northwest Glendale. A total of 15 arson cases were identified from March through July. The most significant fire occurred in Glendale on June 13th in the 1500 block of Gardena Avenue. A garbage container was set fire in the alley, causing an estimated $40,000.00 in damages to a commercial building.

Detectives began working with the Burbank Police Department after they experienced the same type of arsons in their city with ten reported cases.

Glendale detectives located surveillance footage which captured a male suspect at several of the fire scenes. The Burbank Police Department also located surveillance footage involving the same suspect.

1500 Block of Gardena Avenue, Glendale

A crime bulletin was generated and surveillance photos of the suspect were shared with the Glendale Fire Department, Burbank Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.

On July 5, 2017, a Glendale Firefighter recognized the suspect at Pelanconi Park while on-duty. Glendale officers responded and identified the male as Antonio La Clay, a homeless male with a last known address in Burbank. Antonio La Clay was identified as the male captured on surveillance and subsequently arrested.

On July 7th, the Glendale and Burbank cases were presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office and six felony counts of arson were filed. Antonio La Clay is being held on $100,000.00 bail in the Los Angeles Men’s County Jail.