LA Firefighter Injured in House Fire Dies

By Jonathan Lloyd, Toni Guinyard and Olsen Ebright
|  Friday, Feb 18, 2011  |  Updated 3:13 PM PDT
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Glenn L. Allen

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A 38-year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department who was injured earlier this week after a ceiling collapsed during a blaze at a Hollywood Hills home has died.

Glenn L. Allen died at 12:15 p.m. Friday, said Erik Scott of the Los Angeles Fire Department. He was 61 and about a year from retirement, City News Service reported.

"The Allen family and the Los Angeles Fire Department (have) received a tremendous outpouring of support during this difficult time. Your firefighters wish to thank you and express our deepest appreciation for all the kind words and gestures that have been provided," said Scott in a statement.

"…Glenn was a valiant hero whose selfless sacrifice will forever be honored," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "This tragedy serves as a somber, yet powerful reminder that the brave men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department put their lives on the line each and every day to keep us safe from harm."

Villaraigosa ordered the city's flags to be lowered to half-staff.

Firefighters were on the roof of the 12,500-square foot home when it collapsed, said LAFD Captain Tina Haro. Colleagues had to use chainsaws to gain access to Allen and pull him out.

Allen was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in grave condition.

He was awaiting the birth of his first grandchild, which is expected in a couple of days, said fire Chief Millage Peaks.

In addition to Allen, two other firefighters from the Los Angeles County Fire Department and three from the Los Angeles City Fire Department were injured, but were listed in good condition, Haro said.

The fire at 1546 North Viewsite Drive, near Sunset Plaza, was reported at 11:20 p.m. on Wednesday and knocked down at about 1 a.m., said Devin Gales, of LAFD.

Two residents had only been living at the home for about a week and escaped the fire without injuries, Gales said.

Unbeknownst to firefighters, the fire had burned through sprinkler pipes in the attic and filled the space with water, Haro said. The weight collapsed a drop ceiling held in place by 2-by-4-inch wood struts, Haro said.

The ceiling came crashing down, burying the veteran firefighter, Haro said.

"Our rapid intervention teams came in and they could see his turnout coat under the rubble," Haro said.

Using chain saws, they cut up the ceiling and pulled him free, then used cardiopulmonary resuscitation to revive him, the captain said.

An investigation is under way, Scott said.

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