California News

Friday, May 18, 2018

Brush Fire Chars 1,260 Acres Near Hemet; 40% Contained

Firefighters were working to contain a large brush fire that broke out south of Hemet, in unincorporated Riverside County, on Thursday. The flames were first reported just before 2:20 p.m. in the 34000 block of Rawson Road, according to Cal Fire Riverside. Just two hours later, it had grown to 300 acres and destroyed an unoccupied structure, and by 7:20 p.m. it covered 1,261 acres, officials said. It was 40 percent contained, and by 10 p.m. it was no longer making forward progress, firefighters said. The threat had prompted officials to place about six homes under a mandatory evacuation order, but the residents were allowed to return home after 10 p.m. The blaze was being dubbed the Patterson Fire.
KTLA-TV WB 5 Los Angeles

Stockton Warehouse Fire Spreads To Nearby Homes; 2 Firefighters Injured

Two firefighters were injured in a massive five-alarm fire in Stockton that forced nearby homes to evacuate. Crews were called to a mattress fire in the area of Union and Flora streets just after 9 p.m. Thursday night. Investigators say firefighters faced heavy flames when they arrived. About 400 mattresses were on fire in an open space about 100×100 feet large. The winds spread the flames to a warehouse and several nearby homes, including one home a block away from the scene.
KOVR-TV CBS Sacramento

Cell phones thrown in the trash are exploding, causing 5-alarm fires in garbage trunks

Love your electronic devices all you want, but please, please, please don’t throw them in the trash when you’re done with them. That’s a plea from makers of the lithium-ion batteries that typically power our phones, laptops and even power tools. Thrown into the trash or even the recycling bin, they can cause fires at trash and recycling centers. Last year, 65% of waste facilities fires in California began with lithium-ion batteries. And when one goes, others can, too. “If there are multiple batteries there, you will have not just a fire, you will have explosions,” said Carl Smith, CEO and president of Call2Recycle, a national recycling program funded by battery manufacturers.
ABC 10

’An absolute miracle.’ Two women survive 300-foot plunge into Russian River

Two women escaped death Tuesday when their SUV plunged down a 300-foot embankment and into the Russian River in Mendocino County. The car, which was driven by a 20-year-old woman from Las Vegas, was going southbound on Highway 101 when the driver lost control of the car and it cartwheeled down a cliff and into the river, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. The sedan was mostly submerged in the river, the CHP said. The women had just enough air and just enough room to get out of the car, the Press Democrat reported. They then swam to shore and crawled up a cliff to get help. "They were lucky," Hopland Fire Department Chief Mitch Franklin told the Ukiah Daily Journal. Franklin told the paper that the SUV landed upright on a rock in the river, and that the water surrounding the rock "was very deep."
Sacramento Bee

Horse Stuck in Ravine Saved by Escondido Firefighters

Firefighters used ropes and an improvised sling to rescue a 32-year-old horse who apparently fell down a steep ravine in south Escondido, authorities said Friday. The rescue happened around 4:30 p.m. Thursday near Via Conejo, north of Lake Hodges, after the Escondido Fire Department received a call for help, Escondido fire officials said. The animal was on its side at the bottom of a ravine and unable to stand because of the steep terrain and rocks. “With the assistance of a veterinarian and an officer from San Diego Animal Services, firefighters were able to improvise a sling and hoist the horse to level ground at the top of the ravine,” the officials said. “After a quick check by the veterinarian, the horse was able to walk back to its corral.” Eight firefighters pitched in to help with the rescue, and nobody was injured. The 32-year-old horse is near the end of a typical horse’s life expectancy of about 25 to 35 years.
Times of San Diego

Agua Caliente tribe donates $25,000 worth of equipment to Cathedral City Fire Department

The Cathedral City Fire Department recently hired and trained six new firefighter paramedics, and now, they have all the equipment necessary to put them to work. The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians announced Thursday that it had donated $25,000 worth of protective gear to the department. Those 12 sets, six specifically designed for wildfires and six for structure fires, included boots, gloves, helmets, pants, coats and goggles. A federal grant secured by the city last fall allowed the department to hire six new firefighter paramedics. The three-year grant was intended to pay for salaries and benefits for the new hires, while the city will pay for overtime costs. City Council members committed to keeping the six firefighters even after the grant runs out.
Palm Springs Desert Sun

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Massive San Gabriel Valley Strip Mall Fire Under investigation

A fire heavily damaged a strip mall in San Gabriel Wednesday, but no one was hurt, authorities said. The fire was reported about 6:30 a.m. at the Valley & New Center mall at Valley Boulevard and New Avenue, a fire dispatcher said. The flames burned through the roof of the structure, which collapsed, and firefighters went into a defensive mote, surrounding the building and pouring water on the blaze to keep the fire from spreading to other structures. Firefighters had the flames largely extinguished within about two hours but continued their efforts to douse hot spots. Firefighters from San Gabriel were assisted by personnel from Alhambra, Montebello and Pasadena. Traffic was routed away from the area as a precaution, the San Gabriel Police Department reported. The cause of the fire was under investigation.
La Canada Flintridge

Special Report: Fire victims escape after dispatchers say ’There’s no fire in Bangor’

Residents in the small Butte County community of Bangor still tell tales about the night they escaped the LaPorte Fire that burned more than 6,100 acres and destroyed 74 structures. The wind-swept flames sent people scrambling in the middle of the night last October. Some of the fire victims said they were outraged that when they called the fire department to report the fire, many of them were told there was no fire in Bangor. Many of the callers were told what they were seeing was the glow from the Cherokee Fire north of Oroville, and the Cascade Fire five miles south of Bangor. Through a Freedom of Information Act request, KRCR News Channel 7 requested two hours of the 911 tapes from the night of Sunday, October 8 and early Monday, October 9. Those recordings revealed more than 50 people (roughly 1 of every 13 residents in Bangor) called 911 to report a fire in Bangor.

Firefighters extinguish large fire at metal- recycling yard near El Cajon

A fire that erupted in a car crusher at a metal- recycling yard near El Cajon spread across the facility Wednesday afternoon, sending a column of thick black smoke over eastern San Diego County. The blaze broke out shortly after 1:30 p.m. at All Ways Metal Recycling in the 1400 block of North Magnolia Avenue in the unincorporated Bostonia community, according to San Miguel Fire & Rescue. Crews were still working to douse the flames as of 2:20 p.m., SMFR Deputy Chief James Marugg said. Police shut down Magnolia Avenue between Cypress Lane and Greenfield Avenue as a safety precaution, and county hazardous-materials personnel were called in to deal with possibly toxic runoff, Marugg said. No injuries were reported.
XETV-TV San Diego 6

Media Investigation: Fire alarm tech faked certificate before deadly San Francisco Mission fire

A fire alarm technician with a fake certification signed off on a fire alarm system that reportedly failed during a deadly blaze in San Francisco’s Mission District in 2015. 2 Investigates found Tom Jue has been working on Bay Area fire alarms for more than a decade using another company’s license number. And he continued to work unlicensed even after the Mission District fire, according to recent reviews on the Yelp page for Tom Jue & Company. The inferno broke out in the 3200 block of 22nd Street in the Mission District on the evening of Jan. 18, 2015. The flames caught dozens of families off guard, with residents reporting that they didn’t know about the fire until neighbors ran through their apartments to jump out of windows. In one case, a small boy jumped with his dog.
KTVU-TV Oakland, San Francisco, Bay Area

Disaster drill at Fresno Yosemite International Airport had emergency crews in full response mode

It was a drill, but the response is very real. An emergency on board a flight landing at Fresno International Airport-- with several passengers injured. Some in critical condition taken by ambulance, others were flown by helicopter to a nearby hospital and some didn't make it. This is just a simulation, but one taken very seriously. Fresno Yosemite's Media and Public Relations Officer Vikkie Calderon said, "This is an opportunity for the airport, our airline partners, airline stakeholders, airport stakeholders, and all of our mutual-aid responders to practice emergency preparedness in an airport environment."
KFSN-TV ABC 30 Frenso/Visalia

Cal Fire contains fire near Indio High School, no injuries reported

The blaze has been contained according to Cal Fire. No injuries have been reported. Firefighters will remain on the scene for the next three hours. Cal Fire/Riverside County firefighters are responding to reports of a 3-alarm commercial structure fire in Indio. The fire was reported at 12:26 p.m. on the 81-000 block of Highway 111 near Indio High School. According to the Indio Police Department, the high school is not in any danger due to the fire. Indio High School is being evacuated according to Desert Sands Unified School District Public Information Officer Mary Perry.
KESQ-TV Channel 3

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