Pack-rat conditions prevent fire containment, cause death of elderly couple

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elderly couple die in fireAt 2:30 a.m Monday morning, units from the Long Beach Fire Department responded to a smoke investigation call at the corner of 5th Street and Grand Avenue.

Engine 4 was on scene within two minutes and reported heavy fire and smoke coming from both the front and side of the single-story home. They quickly radioed in to “Pull the Hook,” a term the LBFD uses to turn an incident into a full-structure fire response.

Engine 4 kept the fire from spreading to the home next door while the other units arrived shortly after the call for additional resources was made.

Engine 8 was next on scene along with Engine 2; they began an aggressive fire attack and search for victims. Because of the time of the call, there was a greater risk of people inside sleeping or trapped.

Truck 1 along with Light Force 14 went to the roof to ventilate the house to make it easier for the crews down below. Rescue 14, Rescue 10 and Battalion 2 were also on scene.

Crews encountered “pack-rat” conditions which made extinguishing the fire much more difficult and it took fire crews about 20 minutes to knock down the fire.

An elderly man and woman were rescued from the house, but were pronounced dead at the scene. One cat also died in the fire, but the dog of the house appeared to be unharmed and was taken by animal control.

There were 30 total firefighters involved with this fire. One firefighter injured his back, however his injuries didn’t require any medical care.


One Response to “Pack-rat conditions prevent fire containment, cause death of elderly couple”
  1. meggafish says:

    I think the pack rat tag may not be justified. This was a very interesting home from the outside and perhaps the things a couple accumulated over 50 years were meaningful to them.

    The story seems to allude to a house filled with trash. Remember one man’s trash is another’s treasure.

    Condolences to their relatives on their loss.