Tag Archives: Burbank Fire Dept.

Back in a Hartbeat

The high school baseball season is still young and yet the Burbank High has already had its biggest victory of the season and it is worth far more than any Pacific League or CIF Southern Section championship.

That victory came as a result of the work of local paramedics and doctors at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center.  They are credited with helping save the life of coach Bob Hart, who is now in his 13th year with the program.

Coach Bob Hart (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Hart suffered a massive heart attack on January 30 while the team was having practice.

Although it set him back temporarily, Hart has not missed a single inning this season.

“It happened on the field, but it really took place in my office. I went and sat down in my chair in my office and I could feel something was just not right,” Hart recalled. “I didn’t hesitate much and called my (assistant) coaches over and had them put the boys in the locker room. I didn’t want to subject them to the site of the whole thing. I called 911 and the paramedics showed up very quickly.”

Hart said when he first started feeling uncomfortable he tried to do what he could to minimize the pain.

“I initially was sweating quite a bit and I felt like I had heartburn times a million. I laid down to try to stretch it out so to speak and I could tell that wasn’t going to be the case,” Hart said. “Normally my instincts are I grew up in an era where you sucked it up and toughed it out, but I kind of had an instinct that something wasn’t right.

Coach Bob Hart (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

I suffered a major heart attack, a massive heart attack. (There was) 100 blockage. They call it the widowmaker,” Hart said. “I’m fortunate that I got on it quickly. The paramedics did an amazing job and the doctors did an amazing job. I spent a few days in the hospital and then I was fortunate enough to come home and I was back to work within three weeks.”

The 58-year-old coach who graduated from Burroughs High in 1978, said the incident has changed his life in so many ways.

“To be honest, I haven’t felt this good in 20-25 years physically and mentally, clarity wise. The support I have received from parents and my friends is the off the chart, heartwarming and amazing,” Hart said. “In a strange way, it has been a blessing of sorts, a second chance at life and a reset for me personally.”

Burbank High Co-Athletic Director Patrick McMenamin is one of the many people who have supported Hart in his return.

“We are very glad to have Coach Hart back on our baseball field,” McMenamin said. “Coach Hart has been the face of Burbank High baseball for more than a decade now.  Our program is in very good hands under his leadership and guidance.  Above all, he does an excellent job of teaching our student-athletes how to become responsible young men of character and integrity.”

Hart said he is now focused on doing what he didn’t take as seriously before.

“I’ve always taken care of other people and never really focused on my own health. This is giving me an opportunity to be that way and I’m taking advantage of it,” Hart said. “I changed my diet completely. I do quite a bit more walking than I was doing before.  I’m blessed to be here.”

When it came to deciding when to come back to work, Hart said the doctors left it up to him.

“Everyone is different.  They said whatever I can handle,” he said. “They encourage you to get up and start moving. They were all for me getting back to work when I was ready to go. I’m back on the field and feeling great.”

Coach Bob Hart thanks the firefighters & paramedics that treated him. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Hart said he recently had a chance to go see the paramedics who helped save his life.

“That was amazing. Those guys are everyday heroes. I wanted to make sure they understood how grateful I was and how lucky the community is to have them,” Hart said.

Hart added that he has received an outpouring of support from the Burbank High community.

“My players have been unbelievable,” Hart said. “My wife was out of town for a couple of weeks and the parents did a meal train for me. They were bringing me healthy food. I have completely changed my diet and I have probably dropped 15 to 20 (pounds) already.”

Although the Burbank High baseball team is looking forward to winning as many games as possible, it has already gone undefeated thanks to the return of coach Bob Hart.

Burbank Fire Department’s Spark of Love Gets a Huge Help from FremantleMedia

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

The Burbank Fire Department’s Spark of Love program received a huge gift Tuesday, December 12, when they met with Burbank-based FremantleMedia, a local television production company of famed shows such as American Idol, America’s Got Talent, The Price is Right and American Gods, at Toy’s R Us.

Approximately a dozen Fremantle employees filled shopping cart after shopping cart with toys, bikes, games, coloring books and more, to total $15,000.

The firefighters of the Burbank Fire Department were present with a large utility truck and a truck company to help get the festive load back to the station.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Burbank Fire Captain John Freeborn, who heads up the campaign every year, was assisted by other firefighters as they all helped Fremantle employees wheel out over 25 shopping carts and load everything on the trucks.

Fremantle called the donation very successful and said they were thrilled to give back to the Burbank Fire Department and the local community.

The toys collected by Burbank Fire will be donated to Family Service Agency who will then pass out the toys to needy children in the Burbank community.

Burbank Firefighters Stopped by Elementary Schools Teaching Fire Safety

The month of October is always proclaimed Fire Prevention Month and several times during the month Burbank Firefighters stopped by Burbank elementary schools teaching fire prevention.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

  Engine Companies put on short demonstrations for the children, Firefighters donned their firefighting equipment and reminded the kids if they wake up at night and see firefighters in their home not to be scared, the equipment they wear is for their safety, the masks they wear feeds them clean air, their helmets, and protective coats keep them from harms way in case of a fire.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

The Engine companies showed how much and how fast they can set up and use their deck guns pouring hundreds of gallons of water if needed. 

The kids got to take a tour up next to the open compartments of the engines and ask questions of the firefighters. 

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Some of the safety tips the kids were reminded were to ask their parents if they had an Edith plan which stands for Exit Drill In The Home, and ask their parents when they changed the smoke alarm batteries last.

The purpose was educational, the goal was to have every child know if you ever need help, firefighters are always your friend and you can talk to them.  Hopefully, the experience was positive and left lasting impressions with every child present.

Burbank Fire Department Visits Evergreen Neighborhood Recently

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

During the recent National Night Out activities, Burbank Fire Fighters got into the action and visited several block parties to answer questions and to show residences their equipment in an none emergency display.

A week later, Burbank Firefighters from Station 12 visited the 1700 block of Evergreen for a group of over 30 residents.

Neighbor kids got to see up close how the Firefighters put their breathing tanks on in less than 60 seconds, climb the 100-foot ladder. Firefighters also let them look through a Thermal Imager. 

One comment from a neighbors visiting said maybe a visit like this might lead to more woman becoming Burbank Firefighters.

Teen Punched, Knocked Unconscious At Memorial Field

An apparent attempt to break up a fight between two other teens landed a 16 year-old boy in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital, with a head injury.

The incident began Saturday, August 4, as the John Burroughs Football team was ending their practice on Memorial Field at the school.    George Tyler Heffley, a sophomore who is on the football team,  attempted to break up a fight near the basketball courts next to the field.  The fight started as an argument  between another member of the football team and a former student.  According to police, the victim was punched in the face by the former student when he stepped between the two boys,  then fell backwards and struck his head on the concrete  He was knocked unconscious.

The Burbank Police Department was called at 7:25 p.m. for a report of an assault with a deadly weapon at John Burroughs High School.   Officers responding “Code 3” were directed to the visitor entrance to Memorial Field in the 200 block of N. Parish Place, where they found the victim lying on the sidewalk, conscious but disoriented.   The 15 year-old suspect was being detained by the football coaches.  He was wearing black tape used in boxing n his right hand, and had just come from a gym where he works out.

Burbank Fire Department Paramedics responded and treated the victim at the scene.  He was observed talking to the paramedics before they transported him by rescue ambulance to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center.   According to police, who cannot release the victim’s name because he is a juvenile, he was admitted to the ICU.  Rumors spread quickly through the community, that the victim was on life-support and in a coma. However, a police spokesman confirmed that the teen’s condition was improving and he was not on life-support.  His condition is listed as serious but stable.

The suspect was arrested under section 243 (d) of the California Penal Code, battery causing great bodily injury.  The crime is a felony.  Because he is a juvenile, his name is not being released.   He was booked into the Burbank Jail, then released to his parents. He is scheduled to appear in Pasadena Juvenile Court on October 3.

Firefighters Make Quick Work of Garage Fire on Cedar Saturday Morning

Burbank, along with Glendale firefighters, responded to a reported garage fire in the 300 block of W. Cedar Avenue Saturday morning. Upon their arrival they observed heavy smoke coming from a detached

Burbank and Glendale Firefighters extinguish a garage fire in the 300 Block. of W. Cedar Ave. in Burbank. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

garage with an exposure to the main house.  When a firefighter went to open a side door of the garage,  he was knocked down by an explosion.  It was later determined that a can of freon or propane cylendar exloded.

The fire in the garage was deep seated in  ‘pack-rat’ condition.  Firemen had to remove a considerable number of  items to totally extinguish the blaze. The cause is yet to be determined.  Damage was listed at $40,000 to structure and unknown to contents.

Firefighters were under the direction of Battalion Chief Frank Walbert. There were no injuries reported.

Burbank and Glendale firefighters haul out someof the contents in a garage that burned Saturday morning. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)


Fire Dept. To Offer Training To Civilians

The Burbank Fire Department will be conducting the Spring 2012 Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training to train citizens to be self-sufficient in the event of a catastrophic disaster.

According to the Fire Department, following a major earthquake or similar event, professional first responders, such as fire and medical services, will be unable to respond to every emergency. Unfortunately, it might be your call that goes unanswered. However, trained citizens are prepared before a disaster strikes, and have the skills to help themselves, their family and their neighbors. CERT is about readiness, people helping people and doing the greatest good for the greatest number.

The CERT training begins on Saturday March 10th. The training is taught in 8 modules over four non-consecutive Saturdays. The dates are:  March 10, March 14, April 7, and April 14.  All sessions are from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and will be held at the Fire Training Center, located at 1845 N. Ontaio St., adjacent to Ralph Foy Park.  Attendance at all 8 modules (4 days) is required to complete the class; however, an absence can be made up in future Burbank CERT classes.

There is a $50 partially refundable fee for the class. This fee covers the expense of the CERT backpack, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and a CERT manual all of which participants get to keep at the end of the class.  To reserve a seat in the class, register now through March 8, online.   Registration and fees may be also be taken care of at the first class meeting.

For more information or a link to register online go to http://www.burbankfirecorps.org/CERT_Training/

Discarded Trees Become Fire Hazards

Don’t let this happen in your neighborhood!  Discarded Christmas tree fires can spread to cars, or worse, even to someone’s home or building.  Flying embers can be blown onto roofs and spread fire throughout a neighborhood.

Whether it is caused by an arsonist, or just a careless smoker who tosses a cigarette, Christmas tree fires can become quite serious.   If you see anyone acting suspiciously or throwing something at a tree ready for recycling, do the following:  Get a description or a license plate number,  and immediately dial 911.  Fires from discarded trees have caused millions of dollars in damage in nearby cities.  You can help prevent the loss and damages from discarded tree fires here in Burbank.

Remember, you can always drop off your tree to Verdugo Park or McCambridge Park for  free recycling. They can also be cut up and placed in the green trash barrels for weekly pick up.  Never attempt to burn them in a home fireplace.


This burned Christmas Tree can happen in your neighborhood, be on the LOOKOUT. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

As We Say Goodbye to 2011, We Bid Farewell to Two at Fire Department

The end of December has come and gone and so has the careers of two Burbank Firefighters who have together spent over 60 years serving Burbank residents.

Fire Engineer Brian Williamson retires following a 32 years carrier with B.F.D. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Firefighters gathered to say “Happy Retirement” to Brian Williamson back on December 9 in the dayroom of Station 11 at Orange Grove and Third Street.  Brian became a Burbank Fireman in the early 1980’s and has served as a paramedic for 30 years, with 19 of those 30 also as an engineer. (One who drives and pumps a fire apparatus)

During his career he has always been busy.  Back in 1995, he wrote the department’s Bereavement Policy and he has worked with Verdugo Fire Dispatch in developing their Emergency Medical Dispatching Program, where he wrote per-arrival instructions for dispatchers and has continued to provide education for the dispatchers.  Brian became interested in GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and has supplied the department along with Verdugo Dispatch plans and interfaces that are in use today and for years to come.

Brian’s son Robert is a mechanic’s helper in the department so his love for the fire department will continue.

Several retired firefighters returned to say goodbye and good luck and as tradition has it, during the enjoyment of ice cream and cake, the tones from Verdugo Dispatch rang out wishing him well from all the fire departments that are served by Verdugo Fire Communications and all the dispatchers alike.

Thank you Brain for serving the residents of Burbank so well for the past 32 years, you will be missed, now it’s time for you to enjoy retirement and the leisure’s that you have so well deserved.


Firefighters held a retirement get together again on December 28 for the retirement of Captain John Nare.

John was hired on January 10th 1983 the son of a Burbank Battalion Chief, the late John Nare and the nephew of Phil Nare.  John became a paramedic back in 1991 and then an engineer in 1992. In 1993 John became a provisional Captain and became permanent in May of 1994. He then transferred to the Fire Prevention Bureau and became the City’s Arson Investigator, serving in that position since 2007.

Captain John Nare is congratulated by retired Fire Chief Michael W. Davis. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

John, who graduated from the class of 1974 at Burbank High School, enjoyed his years as a Fire Investigator searching for clues and finding the cause of hundreds of fires, not all caused by arson. John leaves behind a thrilling career and a nephew Daniel Nare, who is currently a Burbank Firefighter. John will  be able to work on his game of golf which he loves, and now travel with his wife Nancy.

Retired firefighters came and joined plenty of guests that included other Arson Investigators, City Employees, City Attorney’s and the City Executive Staff along with friends to say farewell and happy retirement to Burbank’s lead Investigator known as “Arson 1.”

Happy Retirement John!

Robeks Juice Gets A Little Watered Down

Broken Sprinkler Head leaves Juicy Joint all wet. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Burbank Fire Department received a water flow alarm without a reset (water was detected running through the pipes and not stopping as when sprinklers are turned on for a reason) and responded a full alarm and plenty of equipment thinking there was a fire at 1001 San Fernando Blvd late Tuesday evening.

What they did discover was a broken sprinkler head in a backroom of Robeks Juice. They downsized the assignment and between a truck company and engine company, they cleaned up some of the water and left the rest for the tenant to mop up.