LOS ANGELES, CA – Councilmember Bob Blumenfield was joined by LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas to honor two firefighters who heroically saved a family during the Woolsey Fire. On November 9th, LAFD Air Operations Pilots David Nordquist and Joel Smith were requested to evacuate three people and their two dogs in Malibu.
“It’s no secret that LAFD is comprised of incredibly brave and selfless heroes, but the actions of Mr. Norquist and Mr. Smith during the Woolsey Fire were truly remarkable,” said Blumenfield.
With low visibility, running out of fuel, as well as smoke and flames surrounding them, Nordquist and Smith risked their lives for this miraculous rescue. Blumenfield and Chief Terrazas presented the pilots with certificates of recognition and the video of the incredible rescue was shown as well.
"Pilots Nordquist and Smith represent the best of the Los Angeles Fire Department, whose men and women are on the front lines of public safety each and every day," said LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas. "Their training, experience, and skill enabled them to undoubtedly save the lives of three civilians and their pets, who were in the path of the deadly Woolsey Fire. I would like to thank them for their dedication to the LAFD and to thank Councilmember Blumenfield for recognizing them today."
Mr. Smith said, “When we got the call, without any hesitation, we said let’s go get them. Thanks to the exceptional flight training we received, Nordquist and I were able to land the helicopter on a mountaintop with only three feet of space between our rotor and some brush. We had no time to spare, maybe five minutes, before things could have gone worse. But we were at the right place at the right time.”
The LAFD helmet cam video captures the minutes leading up to the pilots safely landing on the mountain crest through flames and smoke. With no designated space to land, they continued to stay composed, focused and vigilant. Then within minutes, they locate the family and their dogs, quickly getting them into the helicopter and off to safety. To see the full video please click here.
Mr. Smith has serve the LAFD for almost a decade with six years as a firefighter and three years as a pilot. He has been awards the medal of merit for a swift water rescue in 2015. During his 38 years career, Mr. Nordquist has held the rank of firefighter, engineer and currently serves as a LAFD pilot based out Van Nuys Airport.