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Graffiti removal atop Eagle Rock's landmark

April 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
You could call it killing two birds with one very large stone.

A search and rescue team solved a common problem Thursday while getting in some training after the landmark rock in Eagle Rock was defaced with graffiti.

Normally fire fighters are rescuing people from hillsides. But for the members of the Urban Search and Rescue Team from the L.A. City Fire Department, they're repelling the side of a city landmark, the Eagle Rock, to remove graffiti.

At the top of the rock and on its side was years of tagging. According to City Hall it became an eyesore, but they didn't know how to remove it.

After some brainstorming, the fire department was asked if they could do it. With harnesses and power sanders in hand they started the graffiti removal work.

"We have our rope systems tied all the way back to our anchor systems," said Capt. Steve Hissong. "They are using a wire brush to kind of clean some of the paint off. We aren't usually set up for removing graffiti, so we are just trying to do whatever we can."

It may be an unusual training session for Urban Search and Rescue, but they are doing a rescue mission as far as cleaning up the historic and iconic landmark in L.A.

"I applaud them for doing that," said Los Feliz resident Lumy Guy. "Good job. My gosh, to go all the way up there to clean up."

According to Spokesperson Rick Coca for Councilman José Huizar's Office, the rock is located in his district and is a cost-effective move to clean up the landmark.

"They are trained," said Coca. "And this gives them an opportunity to not the usual training regimen, climbing the same building 200 times. And for us, it helps us deal with the problem we have and it helps our community."

It took the Urban Search and Rescue Team a few hours to remove the hillside graffiti. After that, according to their captain, the members spent the rest of the day scaling the huge rock and use it to train for hillside rescues.