Stories of LAFD members who have risen to the challenge when faced with exceptional dangers
On January 7, 2008, members of Fire Station 78 were dispatched to a structure fire in North Hollywood. The building was a two-story night club in a structure that had formerly been a bank.
Engineer Wolfe Jantz was working on Engine 78. His crew was assigned to fire attack. Jantz assisted with the water supplies, hooking up to the building sprinklers and replacing broken firefighting line from another company. He laddered the building from the outside, as the fire was burning dangerously on the second floor.
Engineer Jantz climbed up one of the ladders he had previously thrown to a window and broke out the glass, achieving horizontal ventilation. He was unaware of the drama that was occurring inside the burning building. A firefighter inside had become disoriented and lost, and couldn’t find his way out of the building. Because of the window Jantz had broken out, light had entered the smoke-filled building. The lost firefighter saw this as his chance to escape. He was in desperate need of rescue because he was quickly running out of air.
Next, Engineer Jantz saw a firefighting helmet come flying out of the window he had broken out. He understood that this was a sign of a firefighter that needed help.
Jantz again climbed the ladder to the window and reached into the smoke. The trapped firefighter had collapsed below the window ledge. When Jantz reached into the smoke, he felt the back of the downed firefighter. He pulled him from the back of his coat up toward the window opening. The trapped firefighter came out of the window head first. Jantz was able to get him positioned correctly on the ladder and brought him down to safety.
If Engineer Jantz had not completed this rescue, a firefighter would have perished. For his actions, Engineer Jantz was awarded a Medal of Merit.
Engineer Wolfe Jantz