Firefighters save home and rescue pets in White Rock

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By Carol A. Clark

Three dogs trapped inside a burning home were saved during a daring rescue by Los Alamos firefighters Friday afternoon in White Rock.

According to those at the scene, the near disaster was averted because of the swift and well-orchestrated actions of a firefighting team comprised of experienced veterans mixed with newly graduated cadets who just came out of a cutting-edge training academy.

“I was about the first one here … I saw the firefighters arrive right away and they moved quickly and were in that house very fast … They just did a great job,” said Los Alamos Police Ofc. Jeremy Duran.

Clearly filled with pride, Fire Chief Douglas MacDonald said, “You can’t get anymore textbook than this … they fought it from the unburned side and blew it out the back door … they did a fantastic job … they saved this house.”

Fire Cadet Daniel Jamerson graduated from the fire academy Dec. 20.

“This was my second fire,” he said. “I thought it was perfect … we took all the correct steps, put the fire out and saved the home.”

The reason the firefighters entered the home with the fire hose through the front door was to put themselves between the fire and the occupants, Assistant Fire Chief/Fire Marshall Mike Thompson said.

A neighbor reported the fire at 487 Grand Canyon at 3:07 p.m., Thompson said. Firefighters made entry into the home at 3:15 p.m. and reached “loss stop” by 3:30 p.m.

“Loss stop means the fire is out and the loss of property from burning has been stopped,” Thompson said. “Our firefighters began further searches to ensure there were no fire extensions inside any of the walls, roof or attic and began further ventilating the house.”

Thompson explained that firefighters initially ventilated the home when they first got inside to help preserve the life of anyone who might still be somewhere inside. They discovered the three dogs and removed them quickly from the scene.

“We were able to contain the fire in the area of origin, which was the kitchen,” Thompson said. “It appears to be related to cooking but we need to conclude our investigation to determine the exact cause of this fire.”

The incident commander at the scene was Battalion Chief Justin Grider and Capt. Glenn Trehern lead the effort to take down the fire quickly and preserve the home.

Dennis Reisenweaver has been a volunteer technical advisor for the LAFD for the last two-and-a-half years. He was an assistant fire chief at a fire department in Connecticut and a chemical officer in the Army.

He is also an expert in radiation safety and has been assisting the LAFD conduct incident command and technical table top training and also fine tuning its mobile operations center.

Reisenweaver was at the scene Friday and commended the firefighters for saving the family’s home and beloved pets. “These men and women are heroes … they take all of the risks … they’re the real heroes,” he said.

Contact Carol A. Clark at lanews@lamonitor.com or 662-4185 ext. 25. Read her blog at www.newsextras.wordpress.com.