One man was killed and another critically injured Sunday in a boardinghouse fire in South-Central Los Angeles.
The injured man's heart stopped beating, and only quick efforts by firefighters revived him, Los Angeles Fire Department Battalion Chief Bill Bamattre said.
Bamattre said the effort to get the man's heart beating again could have been thwarted if the fire on Vermont Avenue had occurred a few days from now.
One of the units involved in Sunday's rescue, Truck Company 64, is to be shut down for nine days on July 1 as part of planned "rolling brownouts" of fire services due to a 10% cutback mandated by the city's budget crisis, he explained.
According to Bamattre, without Truck Company 64 on the scene, "we would have delayed the search and rescue for about two minutes and, in a heart attack victim, you should have paramedic intervention within four to six minutes before there is irreversible brain damage.
"So you can see that the window of opportunity is very narrow."
Bobby Ethriam, about 50, was found in a smoke-filled second-floor room down the hall from the room of the man who died. He was hospitalized in critical condition. Identity of the dead man was withheld.
Cause of the fire, which did about $88,000 damage to the structure, was careless smoking, officials said.
About a dozen remaining boarders were helped by neighbors and the Red Cross to find other housing.