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Firefighters Battle Massive Blaze in L.A.'s Tallest Skyscraper

May 14, 1988

The people throughout the city of Los Angeles have a much greater feeling of security against the terrible scourge of fire.

To the last person, they are certain that they have the finest bunch of "fire laddies" to protect their lives and homes.

This was dramatically proven to them when their Fire Department overcame tremendous odds and put out the conflagration which enveloped the 62-story First Interstate Bank headquarters building at Wilshire and Hope, before it threatened the entire area (Part I, May 5-6).

The firefighters who battled the blaze, which generated at times a 2,000-degree heat, knew if it got away from them it would have resulted in a tragedy of immense proportions.

As a result, they doggedly dug in and their heroic stand on the 16th floor, despite grave danger to life and limb, stopped the advancing flames, thus saving the rest of the structure.

Before the firefighters could even reach the seat of the inferno on the 14th, 15th and 16th floors, they had to find their way up 14 stories through dense smoke and heat, carrying heavy air tanks on their backs and lugging hoses to the fire area.

The men were already "dog tired" after the exhausting climb, and the battle to save the building was just about to begin.

As a result of superb training and fearless determination, the 300 firefighters called out to battle the blaze were able to gain the upper hand and put out the massive fire within several hours.

The public must never forget that fateful night and from every rooftop it should be shouted, "Well done, L.A. Fire Department, well done!"

JESSE LEVINE

North Hollywood

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