California News

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

San Jose, Santa Clara County Remain at Odds Over Emergency Response Times

Millions of dollars are at stake as San Jose and Santa Clara County fight over how fast is fast enough for a medical emergency response. The city and county on Monday conducted a rare joint public meeting to hash out their agreement on medical services. An agreement the county said San Jose failed to fulfill. In response, the county withheld millions of much-needed dollars owed to the city. On Monday, a San Jose fire crew responded to a woman who collapsed downtown. Firefighters and paramedics arrived in less than five minutes, treated the patient then turned her over to the Rural Metro ambulance.
KNTV-TV NBC 11 Bay Area

Man pleads no contest to arson in 2014 Los Angeles inferno, sentenced to 15 years

A man who a witness said was angry about the killing of a black man by police in Missouri pleaded no contest Monday to igniting a huge inferno in downtown Los Angeles that destroyed a block of apartments under construction. Dawud Abdulwali, 58, was immediately sentenced to 15 years in prison after entering the plea to one count of arson of a structure and acknowledging allegations of using an accelerant and causing millions of dollars in damage. Deputy District Attorney Joy Roberts said the plea was negotiated. The December 2014 blaze gutted the seven-story Da Vinci apartment complex, which was in the wood-framing stage of construction, and blew out windows and set off fire sprinklers in adjacent towers.
Riverside Press-Enterprise

Proposal seeks to boost San Diego fire coverage more quickly, cheaply

San Diego’s efforts to boost emergency response times in the sprawling and increasingly congested city would take a big step forward under a new compromise proposal. The proposal, created by the city’s independent budget analyst and endorsed by leaders of the Fire-Rescue Department, would boost response times in “gap areas” more quickly and cheaply than building all of the additional fire stations recommended last month by a consultant. The proposal includes covering six of 12 geographical gap areas with fully staffed new stations in the next few years, and covering the other six areas less aggressively with “peak hour” engines until the city can afford new stations there.
San Diego Tribune

Menlo Fire rescues man from basement under construction in Atherton

For the second time in the last nine months, Menlo Park Firefighters used specialized rescue techniques and technical rope and rigging equipment to safely remove a construction worker from a large residential construction projects basement, after the 33-year-old male worker fell from an incomplete first floor assembly. On April 21, 2017, Firefighters on Menlo Engine 3 were dispatched at 12:15 pm to a reported fall victim into a basement at a residential construction site located on Britton Avenue in the Town of Atherton. The victim was reported to be conscious and breathing, but had sustained a significant head wound and body trauma.

San Francisco Supervisor urges building affordable housing above fire station

Firefighters from Station 13, one of the busiest firehouses in San Francisco, regularly respond to calls from high-rises across the north Financial District. Now, Supervisor Aaron Peskin is hoping the property, at 530 Sansome St., has the potential to help mitigate another emergency: the city’s affordable-housing crisis. In a dense neighborhood where available development sites are scarce, Peskin is proposing that the city take advantage of the property’s 200-foot height limit to build an affordable-housing tower above a new fire station. On Tuesday, Peskin will introduce legislation that separates out the property’s air rights, so that the Fire Department could continue to own the land and the station, while the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development would own the air rights.
SF Gate: San Francisco Chronicle

Monday, April 24, 2017

Butte County weighs fire station closures

The Butte County Board of Supervisors Tuesday is scheduled to consider adjusting the county’s fire service agreement with Cal Fire as it wrestles with rising costs, with recommendations to close a fire station in Chico and remove several rural stations from a program that keeps them staffed year-round. The board also will consider starting the process of forming a county-wide fire protection district, which could result in a dedicated funding source for the Butte County Fire Department. The formation of such a fire district would require approval from voters and the Local Agency Formation Commission.
Oroville Mercury-Register

Three-city fire merge underway in San Mateo County

The ongoing effort to join forces and create a three-city fire department continues as San Mateo, Belmont and Foster City consider merging through a joint powers agreement. But the prospect of dissolving each of the cities individual fire departments and creating an umbrella organization to oversee nearly 150 staff, must first undergo a financial and legal analysis. Last week, fire officials presented Foster City’s and San Mateo’s councils with an update on the process and Belmont will review the status this week. “We got positive support from both city councils to continue in the process,” said Fire Chief John Healy.
San Mateo Daily Journal

Crews train in Bay rescue: Firefighters learn life-saving skills in specialty water certification

Dozens of local firefighters ventured into the water Friday afternoon as a multi-department effort to train first responders in how to rescue people trapped in the San Francisco Bay. The San Mateo, Foster City, Belmont, Redwood City and South San Francisco fire departments hosted a three-day exercise designed specifically for emergencies that occur in the Bay — a unique environment compared to traditional rescue trainings in rivers or the ocean. “The Bay is a really large body of water that has very strong tidal influences,” said Matt Samson, a South San Francisco battalion chief who helped lead the training.
San Mateo Daily Journal

Last lawsuit over PG&E San Bruno explosion close to settlement

The last remaining lawsuit over the lethal 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion moved close to resolution Friday when a judge gave preliminary approval to a $90 million settlement of claims by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. shareholders against the utility’s managers and directors. The shareholders blamed top PG&E officials for their financial losses. Under the settlement, the managers and directors, and their insurers, would pay the funds to PG&E, which would use it for programs intended to upgrade gas operations and corporate governance, said Mark Molumphy, a lawyer for the shareholders.
San Francisco Chronicle (

Highly trained fire protection for $2 an hour: California’s inmate fire crews

The orange-suited, tool-wielding inmate fire crew chewed through manzanita and redshank on a Bautista Canyon hillside like a herd of hungry goats. As two men from the Bautista Conservation Camp, southeast of Hemet, used chain saws to cut a fire break, a third followed with a Pulaski — a hybrid ax and hoe — to pull debris and roots off the path the crew created. Others followed with a McCloud, a six-spike rake that removes heavier brush. Still others followed with a leaf rake to clear the break. “Who’s going to beat Bautista in Bautista?” a Cal Fire captain shouted. “Nobody,” the crew responded.
San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Menlo Park Fire Protection District Receives Class 2 ISO Rating

Menlo Park Fire was recently rated a Class 2 Fire agency under the Insurance Services Organizations (ISO) Publication Protection Classification (PPC) system after a review that began six months ago and culminated with a presentation and report to the Fire Board asking them to accept the report and rating last week. Nationwide, ISO evaluates and grades 46,042 fire agencies using a newly updated Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS) every four years. Agencies are assigned as a 1 – 10 classification rating, with 1 being considered superior and a 2 being very good. “The Fire District maintaining a class 2 rating is good for residential and business owners because it affects the cost of insurance they purchase,” Fire Chief Schapelhouman said.

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