Many current members of the LAFD were not on the job yet when the U.S. was attacked by terrorists on 9-11-2001. Those members of the new rookie class were probably teenagers or younger when it occurred. We must not forget the loss of more than 3,000 people and those 343 members of the FDNY who sacrificed their lives for others. On a personal note I lost a very good friend at the incident. Battalion Chief Ray Downey was killed at the command post in the tower collapse. He was a national expert in Urban Search & Rescue and a true friend. We taught US&R together and worked on the National Response system with FEMA to get the program started.
The LAFD must remain vigilant and prepared to respond as the threat of a terrorist attack continues today 14 years later.
The Islamic extremist attack on the United States and the brutal murder of three thousand and fifty six men, women and children was an unprecedented event in American history.
Equally unprecedented in American history was the unbelievable heroism of hundreds of New York Firemen, Policemen, Port Authority personnel and numerous other heroes, now know only to God, who charged into the burning World Trade Center for the sole purpose of rescuing other people’s lives.
Equally unprecedented again has been the response of people from all around the world. Immediately after the attack thousands of people, many of them rescue workers themselves, descended upon the disaster site in New York to help with the rescue. Thousands more came to attend funerals and memorials and just to show support. Millions of people from around the world raised money for the families of the victims. This event has become a world event.
The Los Angeles Fire Department, like so many other departments across the land responded to the disaster in New York. The incident has become part of our history.
September 11, 2001 reinvigorated America’s gratitude for all firefighters’ efforts. In response to the terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center, FEMA activated and deployed the Los Angeles City Fire Department CA-TF 1 (California Urban Search & Rescue Task Force 1) with 70 members and a Critical Incident Stress Management Team (CISM). The military aircraft transporting our US&R team was the first aircraft in the sky after the attack. Their mission included search and rescue, body extrication, and assistance in the use of canine search teams. In addition, many LAFD members responded on their own to assist their FDNY brothers. The CISM mission evolved into a completely unprecedented Firefighter Assistance Program, which was delivered at and near ground zero as well as at various FDNY Fire Stations and other sites. Working with many other agencies for the first-time, FEMA honored the combined efforts by making the teams the first FEMA sponsored program in the history of CISM. Several LAFD Officers were also sent as a part of the Incident Support Team for the Task forces sent to the disaster.
An edited portion of the LAFD teletype message sent out on 9/19/01:
FIRE ADMINISTRATION – – 14:14:07 09/19/01 – – PAGE 1 – –
SUBJECT: UPDATE ON MEMBERS DEPLOYED TO NEW YORK CITY
LAST WEEK, THE LAFD FEMA USAR CA-TF1, A LAFD CISM TEAM AND FEMA IST MEMBERS WERE DEPLOYED TO NEW YORK CITY. THE DISASTER PREPAREDNESS UNIT HAS BEEN IN CONTINUOUS CONTACT WITH THE MEMBERS’ FAMILIES AND HAVE PROVIDED THEM AN EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBER TO REQUEST ASSISTANCE. MEMBERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO VOLUNTEER TO ASSIST ANY FAMILIES IN YOUR AREA BY CALLING THE DISASTER PREPAREDNESS UNIT DURING OFFICE HOURS (0700 TO 1730 HOURS) AT (818) 756-9674.
HOWEVER, MEMBERS ARE DISCOURAGED FORM CALLING THE DISASTER PREPAREDNESS UNIT AT THIS TIME TO OBTAIN A PERSONAL UPDATE ON THE STATUS OF THESE TEAMS. ATTACHED, IS A BRIEF REVIEW OF THE USAR, CISM AND IST TEAMS’ DEPLOYMENT HISTORY AND A LIST OF THE MEMBERS THAT WERE DEPLOYED.
BRIEF OVERVIEW: LAFD RESOURCES DISPATCHED TO NEW YORK CITY
SEPTEMBER 11, 2001,1300 HOURS
USAR CA-TF1 AND IST, CONSISTING OF 70 MEMBERS, WAS DISPATCHED TO MARCH AIR FORCE BASE FOR DEPLOYMENT TO NEW YORK CITY.
A HOME SUPPORT TEAM UNDER THE COMMAND OF CAPTAIN JACALONE WAS ESTABLISHED TO PROVIDE LIAISON WITH THE DEPLOYED USAR TEAM AND UPDATE THE USAR TEAM’S FAMILY MEMBERS.
1ST MEMBERS WERE DEPLOYED SEPARATELY TO NEW YORK CITY AND PLACED ON AN INCIDENT MANAGEMENT TEAM.
USAR CA-TF1, DEPARTED FROM MARCH AIR FORCE BASE TO MCGUIRE AIR FORCE BASE IN NEW JERSEY.
NOTE: FOUR TEAM MEMBERS WERE UNABLE TO DEPLOY DUE TO THE WEIGHT
AND DISTANCE OF FLIGHT. ONLY 66 MEMBERS WERE DISPATCHED
ON MILITARY AIRCRAFT.
UPON ARRIVAL, CA-TF1 WAS SHUTTLED TO FORT DIX AND AWAITED DEPLOYMENT ORDERS.
– – ADMINISTRATIVE MESSAGE — 14:14:07 09/19/01 — PAGE 2 —
SEPTEMBER 12, 2001 0400 HOURS
USAR CA-TF1 DISPATCHED TO THE JACOB JAVITZ CONVENTION CENTER IN NEW YORK CITY AND ESTABLISHED BASE OF OPERATIONS (BOO).
MEMBERS WERE BRIEFED, FED AND COMMENCED RESCUE OPERATIONS. SINCE THAT TIME, THEY HAVE CONTINUED TO PARTICIPATE IN RESCUE AND RECOVERY OPERATIONS.
RESCUE AND RECOVERY OPERATIONS:
* CA-TF1 WAS DIVIDED INTO TWO TEAMS UNDER THE COMMAND OF DEPUTY
CHIEF RUEDA AND ASSISTANT CHIEF DEFEO, RESPECTIVELY.
* OPERATIONAL PERIODS ARE 12-HOUR INCREMENTS.
* TEAMS HAVE BEEN INVOLVED WITH NUMEROUS BODY EXTRICATIONS.
* REPORTEDLY, THE TEAM IS FATIGUED, BUT MAINTAINING HIGH SPIRITS.
* CA-TF1 IS PROJECTED TO BE DEMOBILIZED ON SEPTEMBER 20TH.
* PROJECTED RETURN DATE IS SEPTEMBER 21ST AND ARRIVAL TIME TBA.
SEPTEMBER 13, 2001 1400 HOURS
LAFD CISM TEAM, CONSISTING OF 25 MEMBERS, ATTEMPTED TO LEAVE LAX TO NEW YORK – ABORTED WHEN LAX SHUT DOWN OPERATIONS IN WAKE OF ARRESTS MADE IN NEW YORK.
SEPTEMBER 14, 2001 1300 HOURS
FIRST WAVE OF CISM TEAM, CONSISTING OF SEVEN MEMBERS, DEPLOYED TO NEW YORK FROM LAX.
SEPTEMBER 15, 2001 0630 HOURS
SECOND WAVE OF CISM TEAM, CONSISTING OF 15 MEMBERS, DEPLOYED TO NEW YORK FROM LAX.
– – ADMINISTRATIVE MESSAGE — 14:14:07 09/19/01 — PAGE 3 —
NEW YORK CITY FROM LAX (TOTAL OF 22 MEMBERS). CISM TEAMS WERE DEPLOYED AND ARE PROVIDING ASSISTANCE TO THE LAFD USAR TEAMS AND MEMBERS OF THE NEW YORK CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT. THE CISM TEAM’S RETURN IS TBA.
MEMBERS DEPLOYED FOR USAR CA-TF1:
URBAN SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAM
NEW YORK CITY INCIDENT
ARNOLD, DANIEL W. FS 90B
AVERY, GREGG M. FS 66A
BERKERY, STEVEN J. FS 39C
BOWIE, GARY R. BATT 4A
BULLOCK, HOLLYN D. FS 88B
BURAU, THOMAS M. DISASTER PREPAREDNESS UNIT
CARBAJAL, JESUS P. FS 26B
CARRERA, OMAR F. FS 90C
CASAS, LOUIS JR. FS 75B
CORDOBES, ROBERT S. FS 88A
COOPER CHRISTOPHER, A. RECRUIT TRAINING
DEFEO, ROBERT J. DIVISION 1A
DENNING, RICHARD L. JR. FS 72B
ECKSTEIN, MARC QUALITY IMPROVEMENT
FREEMAN, DAVID W. FS 48B
FRY, CRAIG A. IN-SERVICE TRAINING
GOLDSWORTHY, JAMES R. FS 90C
GRUBE,CHARLES J. FS 63A
HAUS, THOMAS J. BATT 14C
HISSONG, STEVE M. FS 20A
HORST, STANLEY D. FS 8C
JACKSON, DANE M. FS 56A
KAWAI, CHRISTOPHER S. PLANNING SECTION
KITAHATA, THOMAS D. FS 3C
KLAMECKI, RONALD H. FS 88B
LABRIE, BRIAN J. FS 98C
LESINSKI,JAIME R. FS 4B
LIMA, FRANKLIN V. FS 39C
LOPEZ, STEPHEN R. FS 33B
MANNING, TERRANCE J. DIVISION 1C
Manning, TIMOTHY V. DIVISION 2A
MESSNER, LANCE S. AIR OPERATIONS A
MILLS, HENRY C. FS 5A
MITCHELL, SCOTT D. FS 88A
NAEOLE, ALAN C. AIR OPERATIONS B
OJEDA, ERNESTO FS 88B
POIRIER, ALFRED . BUREAU OF EMERGENCY SERVICES
OUINLAN, SCOTT FS 66C
REX, KEVIN L. BATT 10A
REYES, DONALD B. FS 81A
RICKEY, JEFFREY K. FS 39B
ROSE, COREY G. EMS DIST. 10A
RUDDELL, CHARLES B. FS 88B
RUEDA, MARIO D. BUREAU OF HUMAN RESOURCES
SANDERSON, GREGORY A. AIR OPERATIONS B
SANDS, TODD J. FS 88A
SAXELBY, MARK J. FS 88B
SEARS, BARRY J. FS 90B
STIGLICH,JAMES L. FS 35B
TELLER, DERESA D. FS 104B
TERRILL, GREGORY J. FS 88C
TIETZ, KURT FS 4A
VALAS, MICHAEL FS 88A
VAN DYKE, TRUMAN FS 71B
WEST, GREGORY A. BATT 17A
WHITE, CRAIG L. FS 98C
WHITE, WADE A. FS 66B
WILCOX, ROBERT C. BATT 10C
WILLIS, JARVIS R. BATT 13B
WISE, JACK H. DRILL TOWER 89
The following is an excellent letter written by Fire Chief William Bamattre:
From the office of
the Fire Chief . . . . .
September 19, 2001
TO ALL MEMBERS
SUBJECT: THE WAR AGAINST TERRORISM
In the wake of the incomprehensible events of last week, we as a nation, a Department, and as individuals find ourselves focusing on the short-and long-term impact of terrorism on American soil. As news commentators have repeated over the last several days, life as we knew it will never be the same and the extent of this change will only be determined over time. The attacks on our nation have left us feeling potentially vulnerable to the evil whims of eccentric extremists and never in our lifetime have we had to deal with such uncertainty. Regular activities such as reporting to work or outings with family members will now be undertaken amidst concerns for safety and security.
As a nation, we are now awaiting our government’s response to last week’s terrorist attacks. Most certainly, our lives will be affected regardless of where or how our leaders choose to respond. Not since World War II have Americans been called upon to think of the national interest, but we undoubtedly will be forced to. With approximately one-third of Department members under age 40, our nation’s inevitable military action will be a new phenomenon. Over the past several days, we have witnessed demonstrations of patriotism and pride in unprecedented proportion. We will, however, need to maintain that national loyalty while remaining steadfast in our vigilance.
The fury of events on the morning of September 11th thrust our Department into a state of heightened readiness. Our field members, staff members, and civilian members were all impacted by our immediate need to ensure the protection of the City of Los Angeles. While I firmly believe that our preparations were adequate, I believe areas in need of improvement were uncovered. Issues such as the deployment of personnel, the staffing of resources and the transportation of our civilian members to another work site showed that operational plans need to be re-evaluated and updated immediately, not in the near future. I call on our Department’s top managers to lead and respond accordingly. And I expect all members to cooperate fully while remaining focused on the potential problems that may occur within our City. As members of the Los Angeles Fire Department, we are charged with protecting the City of Los Angeles and faltering in this mandate will not be tolerated.
To All Members
September 19, 2001
Our Department has over a century of rich history where we have responded to the needs of those who called upon us. As always, we shall continue to provide the finest fire, emergency medical, and rescue services available. However, due to the ultimate bravery and supreme sacrifices made by the New York Fire Department – our profession is now in the world’s spotlight and we must respond by showing our strength in unity, calm, and professionalism. Never before has the Fire Service attained such a pedestalled position and we must remain vigilant of that fact and conduct ourselves accordingly.
As individuals, these catastrophic events are indeed troubling for everyone. As emergency responders, our families face the added burden of concern for our safety while we perform our duty to the public. At this time, we do not know how our when our nation will respond, only that it will. Therefore, we must prepare ourselves, our families, and our households for the unforeseen which may be lengthy and difficult.
Together, we shall face whatever crises are forced upon us. And, as always, we shall remain strong, vigilant, and prepared.
WILLIAM R. BAMATTRE
L.A. Times Article, November 18, 2001: Response: LAFD gives $2.25 million to a Manhattan firehouse that lost 11 men Sept. 11
By JOHN J. GOLDMAN
TIMES STAFF WRITER
NEW YORK–Stressing that all firefighters are family, more than 120 members of the Los Angeles Fire Department presented a $2.25-million check Saturday to their New York counterparts in a ceremony marked by hugs, handshakes and a few tears. This donation was made at a Manhattan firehouse that lost 11 of its members in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
“We represent the kids who had lemonade stands, who came to fire stations with their piggy banks, saying, ‘Can you bring this back for us?’ “said Capt. Stephen Ruda, a 24-year veteran of the LAFD. “Our fellow firefighters here in New York suffered a great loss,” he said. “What the firefighters did here in New York for the fire service in general brings to the attention, whether you work for a big city like Los Angeles or New York or a small volunteer company in the Midwest or the South or an organized company, we are ready to do the same.”
The California contingent gathered on the sidewalk in front of the firehouse, its walls decorated with items from schoolchildren mourning the lost members of Engine 40 and Ladder 35.
Inside, firefighter Mike Kotula, who has served at the house for 19 years, stood quietly alongside one of the engines.”It’s overwhelming,” Kotula said. “It means a lot, a real lot. It just shows we are all brothers throughout the country.”