Coast Guard, Long Beach and LA fire departments train for maritime fires

All three agencies are teaming up to practice hauling equipment and putting fires out on ships.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Dozens of fire fighters with the Los Angeles and Long Beach fire departments teamed with the Coast Guard to practice exercises in case there's a fire on a big vessel, like a container ship, in the port.

"Having L.A. and Long Beach train together is very significant because a fire of this size would require both agencies to work together," said Sergio Arjonilla, Battalion Chief for the Long Beach Fire Department.

This training is possible through a grant by the Coast Guard.

While officials say smaller boat fires happen more often, but fires on big ships are more high risk.

During the training, the firefighters worked out logistical elements to help protect the ships and the port around them so fires don't spread.

"Getting the hose in place, charging the water into the hose, getting the hose to connect to the ship. These are all things that are a little more complicated here in the marine environment than they would be for say a house fire or a commercial building fire," said Arjonilla.

All three agencies will train together again early next year. That training will focus on search and rescue efforts during fires.

"Ship board fires are very unique. Typically, in a high rise fire, we get on scene and we go up to multiple floors and we assign personnel to each floor of a high rise. Well, on a shipboard fire, a lot of time you're going down. So it's kind of like an upside down high rise," said Jeff Hardin, chief of operations at the Long Beach Fire Department.

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