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Burbank firefighter recuperating after rock climbing fall

April 17, 2012

A Burbank firefighter remains hospitalized after an equipment malfunction caused him to fall about 25 to 35 feet while he was rock climbing late Monday morning in Chatsworth, officials said.

Battalion Chief Steve Briggs said he and other firefighters and family members have been visiting with the 32-year-old injured firefighter, who was off duty at the time of the accident. His identity has not been disclosed.

At about 10:30 a.m. Monday, the firefighter was rock climbing at Stony Point and lowering himself down from a rock face to the ground when he experienced his equipment malfunctioned and he experienced a “controlled fall,” Briggs said.

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“We're not investigating, we're trying to help him get an idea of what happened,” Briggs said. “He didn't free fall, he had a controlled fall along the rock face and struck the ground pretty hard. He wasn't unconscious at any point.”

The four-and-a-half-year department veteran had his cell phone with him and made his own 911 call, Briggs said.

Los Angeles City firefighters responded to Stony Point, a popular rock climbing area, and had to airlift the firefighter because it's “a remote area and it would have been difficult to hike him up,” Briggs said, adding that Burbank firefighters do that in the Verdugo Mountains because of the terrain there.

The firefighter was admitted to the Mission Hills Hospital trauma center because of the fall and [the hospital] “ran a whole bunch of tests,” Briggs said.

“He got some pretty good scrapes, cuts and bruises,” Briggs added.

He anticipated the firefighter would probably spend a couple more days in the hospital to recover, recuperate and get the test results back.

The firefighter's wife, parents, brother and sister were with him in the hospital, along with L.A. City and Burbank firefighters, Briggs said.

“He's been awake and talking the whole time,” Briggs said, adding that “it's a real tight brotherhood and sisterhood and any time one of our own get hurt, it's amazing how many people show up.”

-- Maria Hsin, Times Community News

Twitter: @mariahsin

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