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Truck fire ignites brush alongside Ventura freeway

On Monday, September 3, at 6:56 PM, 10 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 1 LAFD Rescue Ambulance, 1 Arson Unit, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 2 Helicopters, 1 EMS Battalion Captain, 2 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 68 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Assistant Chief Jeffery S. Mottram, responded to a Vehicle Fire with flames extending to vegetation adjacent to the westbound off ramp of the Ventura (101) Freeway at Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Woodland Hills.

Firefighters responded quickly to discover a three-axle semi-truck with its single cargo trailer well ablaze. Despite ambient evening temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, Firefighters deftly and relentlessly deployed large volume hose streams to do battle with intense fire, which had extended into flammable vegetation along the north side of busy freeway.

Responders were aided by a pair of LAFD helicopters serving an aerial reconnaissance and command role, as Firefighters defended a four-story office building and parking structure threatened by the flames.

Swift and tenacious fire attack was made possible by scene safety and traffic control efforts of California Highway Patrol Officers, permitting Firefighters to hold the vegetation fire to two acres and fully extinguish the truck and brush in just 39 minutes.

The truck driver, a 54 year-old Idaho man, sustained a burn injury to his right wrist. He was transported to nearby Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills Medical Center in good condition.

No other injuries were reported.

Firefighters were able to spare much the truck cabin from fire damage, but the trailer - including its cargo of bagged flour, was a total loss.

The truck fire was attributed to a mattress that became entangled in the undercarriage of the truck and trailer, igniting the latter as the driver attempted to exit the freeway.

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