San Francisco firefighters paid tribute at a funeral Tuesday morning for Battalion Chief Terry Smerdel, who died while on duty earlier this month.
Smerdel, who had worked with the department since 1991, died on Sept. 10 while working a shift at Battalion 1. Fire officials said he had returned from an early morning fire call and was later found unresponsive in his office.
The private funeral, which began at 10 a.m., is taking place at St. Ignatius Church at 650 Parker Ave. It will be followed by a procession to Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery.
Years of drought and a significant build-up of grass from last winter's rains has created dangerous wildfire conditions in San Diego and surrounding areas of the county, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Chief Brian Fennessy said Monday.
In a report delivered to the City Council's Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee, the chief said people think the winter rains will ease the fire threat this fall.
"Well, it did, in the green-up period in the spring, but all that new growth dies," Fennessy said. He said the dead grass can carry fire into heavier, drought-stricken vegetation, acting as a kindling of sorts. The conditions have led to a large amount of small roadside fires this year, often caused by malfunctioning catalytic converters in vehicles, he said.
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A man suffered critical injuries and two other people, including a teenager, were hurt after a fire broke out at a San Francisco home Wednesday morning, fire officials said.
Firefighters were called to a blaze on the 300 block of Harvard Street in the city’s Portola Heights neighborhood shortly before 2 a.m., according to the San Francisco Fire Department.
When crews arrived, they saw a fire from the front window on the second floor of a two-story apartment building and observed a 17-year-old boy fleeing the burning structure, officials said.
San Francisco Chronicle (SFGate.com)
Stephen Healy spent barely any time talking about what he accomplished as fire chief of the Moraga-Orinda Fire District.
Rather, a relaxed Healy, who leaves the district Sept. 20, talked over coffee and toast almost exclusively about those he worked with in his 12 years with MOFD.
"I'll most miss the people," the chief said. "Since 2006, I have been involved with the hiring or promotion of just about everyone in the district."
His interactions with people gave Healy his highest highs, but also provided his top challenge once he moved into the fire chief seat. "Deciding who to hire," Healy said. "The final say on hiring a firefighter was the biggest difference I felt as chief. You have the responsibility to hire the best people, and for some, it was tough telling them this was not a career for them."
A roadside fire charred 135 acres of grass and vineyard west of Highway 101 in the Mendocino County community of Hopland on Tuesday, authorities said.
The wind-whipped blaze ran out of control for several hours before a shift in the gusts allowed fire crews to begin to make some progress, a Cal Fire spokeswoman said.
The Grape fire was 60 percent contained by Tuesday evening, after the wind “turned the fire back on itself,” spokeswoman Tricia Austin said. About 220 people were assigned to the blaze, which began at about 12:40 p.m. near Crawford Ranch Road, located about 3 miles north of Hopland’s commercial district and Highway 175.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Two people were transported to the hospital and one dog died after a blaze broke out at a duplex in San Jose early Wednesday, according to fire officials.
The blaze was reported around 12:10 a.m. along the 500 block of Hazel Dell Way, according to San Jose Fire Department Capt. Brad Cloutier.
Responding firefighters found dark smoke pouring out of the attic and one of the windows of the duplex, Cloutier said.
Three people managed to escape the blaze, but two of them had to be transported because they were both suffering from smoke inhalation and one had a slight burn injury, according to Cloutier.
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