California News

Friday, February 23, 2018

Drinking at Cal Fire academy brings down 14 more firefighters

For the second time in three years, Cal Fire is cracking down on alcohol consumption at its training academy in Amador County. This time, it’s disciplining 14 firefighters who were supposed to stay sober during their six weeks of training at the Cal Fire Academy in Ione. Cal Fire Deputy Director Michael Mohler announced the discipline on Thursday. It stemmed from a report the academy received in September about several firefighters allegedly drinking alcohol outside of the campus. Mohler said the department’s investigation is not yet complete, but it’s moving forward with disciplinary actions that range from warning letters to demotions and termination.
Sacramento Bee - Metered Site

Vacaville native named Firefighter of the Year

Ten years is a great vintage for Darius Zarrabi, who celebrates three major milestones this year — a decade both being married and as a Vacaville firefighter/paramedic, and being named the Vacaville Fire Department’s Firefighter of the Year. “I feel great,” he said this week. “It’s an honor to be thought of like that by my brothers and sisters and to wear that hat for a year.” So many people are deserving of that title, he humbly pointed out, and luck was just on his side. More likely it also entailed a lot of hard work and dedication, the likes of which landed him the firefighting job in the first place.
Vacaville Reporter

300 displaced, 3 injured in massive apartment fire in Pico Rivera

About 300 residents were evacuated from a Pico Rivera apartment complex after a third-floor unit erupted in flames that quickly spread through the building Thursday. The fire started around 3:30 p.m. in the 9100 block of Burke Street. The fire appeared to have started in a vacant room and then spread through the rest of the building. Tenant Jesse Aguilar witnessed the fire erupting in the third floor room. He said he grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried to put the flames out himself. "By the time I got there, the flames were already too much. I saw the whole side of the wall just catch on fire. I started spraying the fire extinguisher on it and it was just too much. After I did that, the ceiling came down and when it came down that's when the fire department told me to evacuate," he said.
KABC-TV ABC 7 Los Angeles

Salinas firefighters struggle with staffing, serve city binding arbitration notice

Salinas firefighters, frustrated with pay and overtime shifts, have served the city a binding arbitration notice in hopes of reaching an agreement in contract negotiations. The department has been plagued by overtime with firefighters working 2,082 shifts of overtime in 2017, said Josh Hostetter, president of the Salinas Firefighters Association. These shifts are 24-hour shifts and 846 of these shifts were mandatory, said Hostetter. The overtime shifts resulted in $2.7 million in overtime for the firefighters last year. “Yes, there was a lot of overtime last year,” said Mayor Joe Gunter. “We had two major fires in the state and we sent firefighters well on overtime. We had no control over that. We are diligently hiring.”
Californian Online - Salinas

City of South Lake Tahoe sues fire truck company

In 2014, City of South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue (SLTFR) took possession of a 2013 model Ferrara ladder truck at the tune of almost $1,050,000. It was purchased to replace the aging ladder truck SLTFR had from 1982 and paid for with funds from California sales tax money devoted to public safety. SLTFR has had nothing but problems since it arrived and they have now sued Ferrara Fire Apparatus out of Louisiana for the cost of the truck. The City has employed a "lemon law" attorney that specializes in these matters, someone who will seek the expenses of the truck plus attorney fees according to SLTFR Chief Jeff Meston. The Ferrara has been in the shop for much if its existence in South Lake Tahoe, and it has now been out of service for 13 months.
South Tahoe Now

Lathrop Manteca firefighter ranks swell by 9

There wasn’t any delay between when the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District graduated nine new firefighters from its academy, and when they officially were on the line. After celebrating the accomplishments of the district’s newest members – which will boost its personnel by almost 25 percent when all of the firefighters are incorporated into the schedule – last Friday night, the first firefighter started his shift the next day. Chief Gene Neely said the rest were worked in accordingly. Currently three firefighters will be assigned to Station 31, three to Station 34, and three will be assigned to staff the district’s new rescue unit – which will give the district more flexibility in responding the myriad of calls they may be asked to respond to.
Manteca Bulletin

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Meet Novato’s new fire chief

As someone who grew up in a family that included multiple nurses, Bill Tyler has always known he wanted to help people. The new Novato fire chief has spent more than two decades living out his desire, beginning with his previous job as an emergency medical technician. “I always felt a calling to help people along those lines,” said, Tyler, 52, of his decision to become an EMT after college. “From that I met a lot of great people in emergency services, including firefighters. I was encouraged to consider becoming a firefighter-paramedic.” Tyler started his fire service career in 1994 as a firefighter trainee with the Tamalpais Fire District. By 1996 he had moved on to the Novato Fire Protection District.
Ross Valley Reporter

Firefighters transferred after sex scandal sue San Francisco, fire department

Eight former command staff members of San Francisco Fire Department's Station Two, who were reassigned to different firehouses after a sexual harassment scandal in 2016, are suing the city and the fire department, alleging that they were wrongfully retaliated against and discriminated because of their gender. The incident grew out of complaints filed by a female firefighter who claimed she was harassed for months. The charges included feces smeared in her bathroom and that someone urinated in her bed. The plaintiffs, who spoke exclusively with ABC7 News immediately after filing the suit, deny harassing the firefighter and say they had nothing to do with the examples she gave to the department of human resources, which conducted a subsequent investigation.
KGO-TV ABC 7 San Francisco

Crescent City Fire and Rescue chief recovering, announces retirement

Interim City Manager Eric Wier told Crescent City Council Tuesday that the Wakefield family announced the resignation of Crescent City Fire and Rescue Chief Steve Wakefield as he recovers in a Medford hospital from two strokes. ‘What he brought to this community, I don’t think can truly be comprehended by the community,” Wier said. “It was just something that we took for granted.” Wier estimated that Wakefield had been with the department over 40 years but had been chief since 1995. Wier said Wakefield was known to respond to local emergencies around the clock, seven days a week. “He dedicated his entire life to this community and to helping others,” Wier said.
Crescent City Daily Triplicate

Sonoma County emergency response criticized for North Bay fire ’epic failure’

But that was no campfire rolling toward her home the night of Oct. 8th. As bad as it looked, Kathryn did not know for certain the firestorm's destructive potential and blames Sonoma County's emergency response for that. "It was an epic failure." Now California's Office of Emergency Services is criticizing Sonoma County for not being faster and more efficient about warning people. Tuesday, Supervisor James Gore heard a briefing of the as yet to be released report. "I want to apologize to everyone in Sonoma County for our not having the foresight to review things to the point where they needed to be," said Gore.
KGO-TV ABC 7 San Francisco

El Dorado Hills firefighter accuses chief, male colleagues of rampant sexism, harassment

LisaMarie Mason began her firefighting career with the El Dorado Hills Fire Department in June 2007, the only female in her class. For the next decade, Mason claims, she endured a workplace where she was denied training that male firefighters were granted and was subjected to a barrage of sexist comments from her superiors. “This country went wrong when it allowed women to vote,” then-Battalion Chief Dave Roberts allegedly told her, then nicknamed her “Homeplate” when he discovered she was single because “everyone scores.” “Women should be at home with children, not working at the firehouse,” another chief allegedly said.
Sacramento Bee

Rincon Fire Department to receive 2018 Wildfire Mitigation Award

The Rincon Fire Department will receive the 2018 Wildlife Mitigation Award (WMA) during the International Association of Fire Chiefs Wildland-Urban Interface Conference (WUI) in Reno, Nevada on February 28, 2018. The WMA is the highest national honor one can receive for outstanding work and significant program impact in wildfire preparedness and mitigation. “This national award is yet another indication of the hard work and dedication our fire department provides to Rincon and its surrounding communities,” stated Bo Mazzetti, Chairman of the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians. “We are honored to have been recognized and I applaud our Fire Chief and his team for an outstanding job.”
Valley Roadrunner

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