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    May 4, 1988
    First Interstate Bank Fire

First Interstate Bank Fire 
May 4, 1988

050488_interstate_fire_lg.gif (197316 bytes) During the late evening of May 4, 1988, and the early morning of May 5, 1988, members of the Los Angeles City Fire Department successfully battled what has proven to be the worst, most devastating high-rise fire in the history of Los Angeles.  Extinguishing this blaze at the 62-story First Interstate Bank Building, 707 West Wilshire Boulevard, required the combined efforts of 64 fire companies, 10 City rescue ambulances, 17 private ambulances, 4 helicopters, 53 Command Officers and support personnel, a complement of 383 Firefighters and Paramedics, and considerable assistance from other City departments.

It is humbling and terrifying to realize how close we came to losing control of this fire!  Had it not been for the extraordinary commitment to duty, staunch determination to extinguish the fire at all costs, and unabated heroism and courage of our brave Firefighters,  I am convinced that the fire would not have been contained as it was in 3-1/2 hours.  In most other cities, the building could have become a charred skeleton and, even worse,  Firefighters would have lost their lives.  In my view, our City is blessed with the most professional and dedicated Firefighters in the world, and this is why only one civilian life was lost and only four floors were gutted.

The Department has documented specific acts of heroism for future recognition, but I feel compelled to personally thank you for performing your assigned role at the First Interstate Bank Fire.  As your Chief Engineer, I have received countless accolades on you behalf from throughout the world and know that from the Department's standpoint, this was perhaps our proudest moment for revealing what our people are capable of achieving.

You share a role in this achievement and are to be commended for your courage and dedication that prevented the First Interstate Bank Fire from becoming an even greater tragedy.  For this, the citizens of Los Angeles owe a tremendous debt of gratitude.


DONALD O. MANNING
CHIEF ENGINEER AND GENERAL MANAGER
LOS ANGELES CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT



Photo: New York Board of Underwriters


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
FIRST INTERSTATE BANK BUILDING FIRE
LAFD REPORT

United States Fire Administration
Technical Report

AIR OPERATIONS
at the
WORST HIGH-RISE FIRE IN LOS ANGELES HISTORY
By Michael Roy, Pilot III
LAFD Air Operations
THE FIREMEN'S GRAPEVINE, JULY, 1988

Towering Inferno II -- Still No Movie Version
By John J. Fitzgerald
Box 4 Fire Buff Club, Dallas, Texas
THE FIREMEN'S GRAPEVINE, JULY, 1988




Damien's Skyscraper Page


First Interstate Tower

Height to roof: 262 metres
Date built: 1974
Use: Office
Location: Los Angeles, United States
Architect: The Luckman Partnership

When completed in 1974, the First Interstate Tower was the tallest building in the United States west of Chicago. The building is square, tapering 2 metres as it rises. The four faces are clad in dark glass and mullions. In 1988, a fire destroyed five floors. Since then all high rise building in Los Angeles have been fitted with sprinkler systems.

                      


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