The Fire Station 69 front garage door, which allows fire engines and emergency vehicles to exit onto Sunset (at Carey), was badly damaged around 3 a.m. on December 12 when struck by a hit-and-run driver’s vehicle.
By the time firefighters came downstairs, all they saw was a pickup truck fleeing the scene. They were unable to identify a license plate.
Almost three weeks later, the door is still not fixed.
Circling the News received an email from a resident who wrote, “The main door can’t be used, making it impossible to take the engines out of the front exit; instead they must negotiate through a narrow one in the back, onto Carey, which is quite hazardous for cars and pedestrians.”
CTN stopped by the station and spoke to the captains, asking why there has been a delay on having the door replaced. “I wish I knew what the holdup is,” one said. “We all do.”
The captains confirmed, “It is so dangerous for us, because we have to pull out at an upward angle.”
Once out of the station, because of the angle of the back opening, firefighters can only turn right, putting the truck onto Carey, a narrow residential street.
A second right turn is needed onto Fiske before the firemen can finally access Sunset.
“It is a significant delay in our response time,” the captains said, noting that the narrow streets often have delivery or construction trucks. One day a week they must also deal with trash trucks.
A neighbor who lives on Fiske told CTN that they haven’t been bothered with the noise of the firetrucks coming down a residential street, because the firefighters don’t turn on sirens until they reach Sunset.
But the neighbor expressed concern that the firefighters had been having problems with the back door a few months ago. “What if they can’t get out?” he asked.
At least one resident reached out to the Mayor’s office about the inoperative door, but according to the person who emailed CTN, “the resident was rudely rejected. Mike Bonin’s office was more considerate and maybe would investigate.”
The resident concluded, “Nothing has been done to FIX the problem.” She worried that with the holidays, car crashes and possible fires, the inoperative front door could be a real issue for residents.
Although only the bottom panels of the door are destroyed, most likely the entire door will have to be replaced. The captains told CTN that there had been “multiple issues” with the door in the past.
Circling the News was told that L.A. City General Services has emergency funds, which can be used for repairs on City buildings. So even if this was not budgeted under fire facility/general services, there’s money for a garage-door replacement that could save a life.
Additionally, there is a health hazard associated with not being able to use the front door. When fire trucks pull in and out of the building, the truck’s exhaust pipe is hooked to plymo-vent, a yellow hose, which takes away the diesel exhaust fumes from the building where the firefighters live. The hose is located at the front of the building and can’t be hooked to the vehicles when that are parked in the opposite direction.
“It’s a big hazard to breath the exhaust fumes,” a firefighter said.
The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety found that not only are firefighters at a greater risk for cancer diagnosis, but they are also succumbing to cancer-related deaths at a 14 percent higher rate than the U.S. general public. In fact, cancer has surpassed heart disease as the leading cause of death among firefighters.
Circling the News emailed the Mayor’s office, Councilman Mike Bonin’s Office and the Pacific Palisades Community Council Vice Chair David Card on December 29.
Mayor Eric Garcetti’s public spokesperson Ami Fields-Meyer responded by email immediately and wrote, “Thanks for bringing this to our attention. The Council Office and I will link up about this.”