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Planting memories

Councilmember Tom LaBonge and a Park Ranger assist John Loa, a 96-year-old survivor of the devastating 1933 Griffith Park brushfire. Loa came to the site to help with the planting of a pine tree to memorialize the 29 men who perished in the fire. (Al Seib / LAT)
Councilmember Tom LaBonge introduces John Loa, a 96-year-old survivor of the devastating 1933 Griffith Park brushfire, before helping with the planting of a memorial pine tree. He was joined by students from the Los Angeles Zoo Magnet School, park staff, and L.A. City Firefighters in planting the last of two trees in a grove dedicated to the memory of the fallen workers. (Al Seib / LAT)
John Loa shakes hands with L.A. City Firefighter George Gomez and other Firefighters from Engine 35 L.A. City Fire Department. Loa came with his son 65-year-old Leonard Loa (right) to help with the planting of a memorial pine tree (Al Seib / LAT)
John Loa (right) helps Councilmember Tom LaBonge plant a pine tree. Loa was one of a small crew of six fighting the 1933 Griffith Park brushfire beneath their feet when they were redirected by a supervisor to another location, a twist of fate as the wind changed direction and they were spared while others were not. (Al Seib / LAT)
John Loa is the lone survivor of a group of men who battled the devastating blaze in Griffith Park in 1933 that claimed the lives of 29 men. “I often think back to that day and I am so thankful,” Loa said, “even though my feet got a little toasted.” (Al Seib / LAT)
The injured receive first aid at an emergency station set up near the path of an October, 1933, brush fire in Griffith Park that killed dozens of people. On Oct 3, 1933, 1,500 Depression-era workers were marching along it so they could fight a small nearby brush fire with the shovels they had been using that day to construct Griffith Park roads. The day was smoggy and hot -- over 100 degrees -- and a sudden wind shift sent the fire roaring up a canyon wall toward the workers. (LAT)
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