Fire Destroys Toy Store in Los Angeles
Despite aggressive tactics, a Toys ’R Us store in the Van Nuys area of Los Angeles was destroyed by a fire last June 4, with loss estimated at $800,000.
Shortly after 6 p.m., Task Forces 90 and 39 were dispatched to the Toys ’R Us store at Sherman Way and Woodley Ave., near the Van Nuys Airport. First-in TF 90 checked to see that all customers and staff were out of the one-story 250 x 150-foot building.
Division 2 Commander Dudley Sorenson received the alarm at his headquarters at Station 88 and was advised that because of the many calls of smoke, the first alarm had been doubled with Task Forces 73 and 88 also responding. Sorenson requested that the four nearest triples also respond and went to the scene.
Men sent to roof
Men were sent to the roof to ventilate while others went into the building to attack the fire. The flames were intense and the smoke from the burning plastic, cardboard and other combustibles was heavy.
“The fire was in the center of the building and spreading fast,” Sorenson recalled. “We tried very hard but never really got ahead of the fire. We thought if we could open the roof, it would give us a chance.”
He also noted that if the building had had fire walls or sprinklers, his men would have had a chance to stop the fire.
Master streams used
Seeing that there was no chance to save the structure, Sorenson ordered the men out and used heavy streams and ladder pipes to cool the building and protect exposures.
At the south side, a ladder pipe was set up to protect an apartment complex. To the east, a cement wall shielded a low building, but an engine company was deployed to give it extra protection.
Access for fire equipment from the north and west was excellent because of parking lots.
The fire was controlled in an hour and 53 minutes with no major injuries.
A total of 36 L.A. City Units worked on the fire.
Photo by Mike Meadows