Los Angeles Fire Department
Historical Archive

In Memory of
Auto Fireman James L. Catlow
Engine Company 39
B Platoon
Died November 12, 1955

Catlow was fatally burned at the 
La Tuna Canyon Brush Fire
on the Verdugo Fire Road and died six days later.
He was Posthumously Awarded the Medal of Valor for
remaining at the panel of his pump to supply his crew. 
The award was received by his wife from Chief Alderson.

* * * * * * * * * * 

Auto Fireman James L. Catlow

City Fireman, Trapped
in La Tuna Blaze, Dies

    A Los Angeles city fireman who was trapped by flames when the La Tuna Canyon fire in Tujunga broke out last Sunday died yesterday as cleanup crews continued to patrol the region blackened during the week-long blaze.
    James L. Catlow, 35, succumbed at Georgia Street Receiving Hospital after suffering face, hand and body burns that sent his temperature up to 109 deg.  He was caught by the flames soon after the fire exploded in the canyon's dry brush.
    Funeral services for Catlow will be conducted Tuesday at 1 p.m. in Utter-McKinley Wilshire Chapel.  They will be in charge of American Lodge 475, F&AM.  Chaplain Joseph R. Hoffman of the Los Angeles Fire Department will also take part.
    Catlow was a veteran of World War II, serving in the submarine service.  He was a member of the Builders Club of the Fire Department, and a member of Engine Co. 39B.
    He leaves his widow Frances, of 7534 Yarmouth Ave., Reseda: his mother Mrs. Edith Catlow, and a brother, John D. Catlow.

50 Remain at Posts

    Some 50 firemen, meanwhile, remained in the La Tuna Canyon and Green Verdugo Fire Road areas on "cold training" operations that covered most of the fire's 3000 blackened acres.
    Another fire that burned more than 17,000 acres in Ventura County smoldered in the west end of Hidden Valley yesterday after weary firemen succeeded in bringing the blaze under complete control Friday.

Mopping-Up Duty

    Twenty men were retained on mopping-up duty which Ventura County Chief Fire Warden C. D. Little said would continue for two days.  Coastal fog was credited with helping fire fighters in their battle to stem a firehead on the northern slopes of Boney Mountain above Hidden Valley, the last flaming area.

Burns Fatal
To La Tuna
Fire Hero

Heroic Fireman dies
Of Burns

    Heroic attempts of James L. Catlow, 33-year-old city fireman, to save his fire truck when it was circled by flames in the La Tuna Canyon fire proved fatal today as he died of burns in Georgia Street Receiving Hospital.
    Catlow was burned over 75 per cent of his body last Sunday when he refused to leave the pumping rig as the fire raged nearby.  He fought to keep the fire from the truck until the heat forced him to retreat.
    Asst. Fire Chief Leonard Eggleston termed Catlow's stand "the most outstanding example sheer courage" he had ever seen.
    Catlow, of 7534 Yarmouth ave., Reseda, registered a temperature of 109.2 shortly before his dearth early today.
    Meanwhile, other fire fighters began mop-up operations on two fronts as the fires in La Tuna Canyon and the Hidden Valley area of Ventura County were reported extinguished.



WHEREAS, the disastrous fire in La Tuna Canyon last week did
                      enormous damage, and

WHEREAS, same was eventually controlled through the efforts of the
                      Los Angeles Fire Department and other fire fighting
                      organizations, and

WHEREAS, James L. Catlow, a member of the Los Angeles Fire Department
                      assigned to Engine No. 39, at Van Nuys, together with other
                      members of the Fire Department, suffered severe burns in
                      attempting to control this disastrous fire, and

WHEREAS, Fireman James L. Catlow has died as a result of injuries which he
                      received in said fire, and

WHEREAS, it is fitting and proper that this City Council take official notice of
                      the death of their city employee who gave his life in an effort to
                      control the fire,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that this City Council does by the
                      adoption of this resolution convey its deep sympathy to the
                      surviving widow and members of the family, and in memory of the
                      death of James L. Catlow do, without further transaction of
                      business, now adjourn.

Presented by: Councilman Robert M. Wilkinson
Seconded by: Councilman Everett G. Burkhalter

I HEREBY CERTIFY that the foregoing resolution
was adopted by the Council at its meeting of
November 14, 1955.

Walter C. Peterson, City Clerk
By A. M. Morris,Assistant City Clerk


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