Garage Fire: What not to do

Featuring guest blogger: Rick SolomonGarage Fire

One of my neighbors just had a garage fire and it made me think: this is fire information we should all keep in mind. Plus check that your fire extinguisher is where you thought it was, and that it is still good. The following is what not to do if you smell gas.

My neighbor described the fire: ‘The fire started due to a hole/leak in the hose that delivered gas to a gas dryer. He could smell the gas and he ran his hand over the length of the line to find the hole and turned off the gas temporarily, then duct taped the hose until he could buy a replacement, turned the gas back on and tested the dryer. After running for no more that 60 seconds, the large vent hose caught on fire thus catching the garage on fire.  Luckily they had a fire extinguisher handy and no one was injured.

fire_extinguisher_servicesTwo things he learned.
#1. If you discover a leak in the gas line don’t try to patch it. Replace the line (our 4′ replacement cost $28 at Home Depot) and keep the gas turned off and DON’T use the dryer until then.
#2. Get a bigger (or more) fire extinguishers than you think you need. Time is precious in a fire, and even if an extinguisher doesn’t fully put out a fire, it still give precious seconds until you and your family can escape or until the fire dept. arrives.’

Advice from the neighborhood expert Rick Solomon: Gas inside the home is relatively safe. It gives you the warning you have a leak based on the smell that is emitted. Gas is also lighter than air and dissipates. The problem was when you duct taped it, the corrugated gas flex didn’t allow the tape to fully seal. When the dryer started, there was an electronic glow plug folled by the flame of the dryer. Either 1 of them would be able to ignite any gas leaking in the vicinity of the heat source.

Technically gas is only coming into the house at approx 7″ of water column / approx 1/3 of a pound of pressure. Whereas water pressure is approx. 60-65 pounds within the house.

A simple test for a gas leak is the sniff test or a soap test. Mix up approx 10% liquid soap to clean water in a sprayer bottle. Then spray onto the suspected are of the pipe or connector. A leak will cause the soapy solution to make bubbles. Find the leak and either tighten the connection or shut off the gas serving that appliance. There is no legal miracle tape or glue for gas leaks.

Don’t use any soap solutions that contain ammonia as it will deteriorate some of the pipe and flex connectors we use in plumbing systems.

Rick Solomon from Rick Solomon Plumbing

(310) 836-1437  License # 00743321

Based out of Los Angeles and founded in 1981, Rick Solomon Plumbing is a plumbing contractor and provides plumbing inspection, septic tank services, water purification system installation, and shower installation. They are licensed by the state of California. Rick Solomon Plumbing is insured and bonded. They provide emergency services.

Remember: It’s good to have 1-2 fire extinguishers in the house.

The Urban Parking Dilemma

This morning I woke to a message from a neighbor saying she was yelled at and threatened by another neighbor because she had parked on the street in front of the neighbor’s house.  She was concerned with the violence of the altercation and didn’t know what to do.  She didn’t want to elevate the anger by calling the police, but wanted advice.  Not being the best source for advice on specifically what to do in this situation;  I will share the ideas it did bring to mind.

bad-parking-7132531All houses (in Los Angeles) are supposed to provide covered parking, so I would like to remind everyone, we do have parking on our properties we are just not choosing to use it. (Most garages in my neighborhood are used as storage units, man caves or converted to rental units.) Considering our area was built up in the 1920s- 1940s many driveways seem to be too narrow to drive down, so there is that excuse not to use the garage. But it might be time for each of us to try consider a way to park on our own properties.

The spaces between driveways are meant to fit 2, I repeat 2 cars (in my neighborhood anyway). If we are all considerate not to block driveways, but pull all the way to the edge to allow more of our neighbors access to parking, we might alleviate some of the anger that comes from getting home from work and not being able to find a space near our own homes.

However, streets are for public usage. We do not own the spots in front of our houses. We all want to park in the spots closest to our houses. We all have that moment of annoyance when the spot in front of our house is taken. But these are public streets and people have the right to park on public streets. No one has the right to bully, harass, or threaten anyone in any situation, but especially in our own neighborhood. We all understand the frustration. But please try to deal with conflict while understanding we all want the same thing. We all just want the right to park by our own house and go inside and turn off the world.

Today think of one way you might be able to create more parking on the street.
– Park larger cars in the driveway/ smaller cars in the street
– Make more space in the driveway to park tandem
– Park motorcycles and mopeds on the side of the house
– Pull all the way forward to the edge of the curb when parking while not blocking driveways
– Pull your rv or boat into your driveway or backyard to make space for cars
– Tell your tenants to respect neighbors and park with empathy because we all get frustrated
– Park with empathy because we are all frustrated.
– Ask that guests pull all the way into street spots when they visit.

80ff1423dde637288a960590bbec6d5aPlease share your ideas on how to make this better. We all know the problems, looking for solutions here.

Thanks everyone for consideration over frustration.

Save Water – Save LA (Soro Neighborhood Council Water Conservation Town Hall)

Save Water - Save LA

The South Robertson Neighborhood Council is hosting a town hall meeting, Save Water – Save LA, on the topic of water conservation.  The event is scheduled for May 17, 2015 from 12 to 3 pm at Castle Heights Elementary School. Save Water – Save LA is designed to inform and motivate people to consider water conservation in daily life and provide tips on how to meet the 25% water reduction mandate.  This program will educate people about the drought problem and present ways to get involved in the solution.

Please RSVP at:

Panel Topics covered:

  • Defining the water shortage problem: Academic assessment: Ucla Institute of Environment & Sustainability
  • Measures the city of LA, state & utilities are taking: Rebates & incentives: DWP & Clear Result
  • Describing what Australia has done to solve their drought crisis: Building on success: The Tree People
  • Practices in the home that individuals can employ to meet 25% water reduction: Sustainable Works
  • The benefits of planting California native landscaping: Theodore Payne Foundation
  • Rain barrel water capture program: Rain Barrels International & The Tree People

Where:  Castle Heights Elementary School (9755 Cattaraugus, Los Angeles, 90034)

When:  May 17th, 2015

Time: 12pm to 3pm

The format will begin with a panel discussion with question and answer period followed by a meet and greet with individual organizations at tables to showcase and demonstrate services and opportunities for water conservation as well as opportunities to sign up for Free Rain Barrel rebate program (to be distributed on May 31st at Hamilton High School).

Participants Include:

UCLA, Sustainable Works, Theodore Payne Foundation, Greywater Corps, Food and Water Watch, The Tree People, LADWP, Rain Gutter Specialists, CLEAResult, Grow Native Nursery, LA Waterkeeper, The House Agents/Partners Trust, Ballona Creek Renaissance, Green Gardens Group, Green Beginnings, Rain Barrels International and our political representatives!

Join in the fun by bringing electronics to recycle at our eWaste drive, sign-up for the free rain barrel rebate program, get landscaping ideas, enjoy truck dining and kid activities with Green Beginnings, first 150 attendees get swags bags and much, much more.

Save Water Yard Sign

Helms Bakery Neighborhood

Helms BakeryI just got an email from KPCC asking Los Angelenos to write about LA  neighborhoods.  I love my neighborhood, so I thought I would share some of my thoughts about it here.

I live by Helms Bakery.  Our little section has had a few names through the years.  Most recently Regent Square, which had no context in the city so we voted to change the name to Helms Neighborhood.  I still tell people Helms Bakery as I find more people understand that.

What I love most about it is how multicultural it is.  Helms is a mix of middle class people; artsy to working class with varied interests and needs. We have mostly classic Spanish or bungalow architecture from the the early to mid 1900’s with residents having lived here from 50 years to newly flipped houses.  We are a complete melting pot that watches out for everyone else.  I wouldn’t say it is unique to LA, I would say it is typical in the best possible way.

Helms is the no-man’s-land of areas.  We are not Culver City, but we are across Venice Blvd from it. We are not Beverlywood but we are just South of it.  We are included in South Robertson, but we are separated by the freeway.  Sometimes called mid-city, but that is not right either.  We are in Palms post office (90034), but Palms doesn’t connect with us due the the industrial Helmsmenand train divide at Robertson and Venice.  If you tell people we are at Helms Bakery, you almost always get a smile from people that remember the trucks or love Father’s Office.  I love that Helms brings so many people from Los Angeles great memories.

This is where everyone in LA should be buying. We have the expo line train going from our area to downtown, and soon to be going to Santa Monica. We have cute little middle class houses and great neighbors that care.  It is one of the few still affordable sections near the west side. I love Helms.


Please let everyone know what you love about your neighborhood in the comments below.HelmsBakery1