California News

Friday, September 21, 2018

East County fire agency to start charging for some emergency services

Residents in far East Contra Costa County who receive emergency fire services may see a bill go to their insurance companies to cover the cost as early as next month. The financially strapped East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, which serves 249 square miles east of Antioch and more than 114,000 residents, will join a number of fire districts in the Bay Area and elsewhere that already charge some type of cost recovery fees. Among those are the Contra Costa Fire Protection District, Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, Novato Fire Protection District, San Ramon and Orinda-Moraga fire districts. The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Board last week approved the fees on an 8-1 vote, with Joe Young dissenting. No resident spoke for or against the fees during the hearing. Fire Chief Brian Helmick said the fees will be charged for responses to emergencies involving vehicle accidents and extrications, helicopter landings, illegal fires, hazardous material releases and water emergencies.
East Bay Times

Wildfire near Placerville jumps Highway 50, prompts evacuations

A timber fire broke out 10 miles east of Placerville on Thursday afternoon, briefly shutting down Highway 50 and prompting evacuations, officials said. Flames from the 12-acre Meyers Fire leapt across the road, prompting Caltrans officials to close down the highway in both directions at 1:20 p.m. Residents of Camino living on 8-Mile Road are currently under mandatory evacuation. An evacuation center is located at the Diamond Springs Fire Hall at 3734 China Garden Road. “When you get a timber fire that burns 12 acres this fast, that’s a point of concern,” said Cal Fires spokesperson Scott McLean. Highway 50 mostly re-opened at 2:50 p.m. One eastbound lane was still closed as of 3:45 p.m., according to Caltrans spokesperson Steve Nelson.
SF Gate: San Francisco Chronicle

Beverly Hills Fire Department names deputy fire chief

Beverly Hills Fire Department veteran Joseph Matsch has been named deputy fire chief for the department, effective immediately. Matsch began his career as a firefighter with the United States Air Force in 1987 and joined Beverly Hills Fire Department in 1995. He has served in a variety of roles during his 23 year tenure including firefighter, engineer, fire inspector, captain, fire marshal and battalion chief. “I am grateful to [Fire Chief Greg] Barton for this opportunity and look forward to representing the dedicated men and women of this department,” Matsch said. As deputy fire chief, Matsch will oversee emergency response operations, the safety and training division and system integration. He will serve as second in command of the Beverly Hills Fire Department. He earned his bachelor’s degree in emergency services management from Union Institute University and master’s degree in public administration from California State University, Northridge.
Park Labrea News and Beverly Press

Los Angeles County deputies rescue father, young son from burning building

Two Los Angeles County deputies are being hailed as heroes after they saved a father and his young son from a burning building in Lancaster. Deputies received a call about a structure fire at an apartment complex near 16th Street West and Avenue K-8 shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday. Several apartments were fully engulfed in flames. As firefighters fought to extinguish the blaze, they asked for a complete evacuation of the buildings. Despite neighbors assuring that everyone was safely evacuated, deputies Harris and Goldstein ran up the stairwell of the burning building to the second floor to ensure everyone was out. The two deputies found a locked door and knocked on it. When no one answered, they kicked the door open and found a man inside who had just woken up from a nap. A small boy was also asleep in another bed.
KABC-TV ABC 7 Los Angeles

Man in critical condition after water rescue near Aquatic Park in San Francisco

A spokesperson at San Francisco General Hospital says one man is in critical condition after being found unconscious and floating in the Bay just before 6 a.m. Two other people, a man and a woman, are also still in the hospital but are expected to be OK. Lt. Jonathan Baxter with the San Francisco Fire Department said they got the call at 5:20 a.m. from a woman who said she and her two friends needed help. But that's about all she could tell them. "They didn't know where they were at, they didn't have a bearing on landmarks either, so it took a little bit of time to locate these individuals," Baxter said. Crews on land and in the water started looking with dispatchers telling those in distress to make noise so rescuers could hear them. It took thirty minutes to find them. They were between the Municipal Pier and Fort Mason at an area known as Black Point. Rescuers found one man floating unconscious in the water.
KGO-TV ABC 7 San Francisco

Emergency responders undergo rigorous training in Ojai

Ventura County firefighters in conjunction with California OES Urban Search and Rescue Regional Task Force spent the whole week training their crews for disasters. Near the Matilija Dam in Ojai, intense training is taking place to help save lives -- including an advanced rope rescue technician course. “It is a state fire marshal course and we are out here teaching regional task force 7 which is their Search and Rescue team for Ventura County,” said John Cecena, a captain from the Oxnard Fire Department. “We are teaching their members advance leave of rope training for rope rescue emergencies.” “This is just not Ventura County training. This is Oxnard City, and Ventura City training as a regional task force 7 group,” said Ventura County Fire Capt. Guy Horton.
KEYT-TV ABC 3 Santa Barbara

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Los Angeles Firefighters Injured Battling Boyle Heights Commercial Building Fire

A raging fire destroyed a Boyle Heights import business Wednesday and three firefighters were injured, one critically, when the roof of the sprawling warehouse-type structure collapsed beneath their feet. The fire broke out for unknown reasons around 12:45 p.m. at the Passion Imports building in the 2800 block of East Pico Boulevard. Arriving crews found the structure well-involved in flames with a thick plume of black smoke rising into the air. Crews began pouring water on the structure and worked to vent the roof of the 16,000-square-foot building, with initial reports indicating that as many as a dozen people might be inside, according to Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Erik Scott. A short time later, the roof gave way, and three firefighters who were on top of the building fell inside the burning structure, Scott said. All three suffered burn injuries, with one of them taken to a hospital in critical condition and the other two listed as fair, he said.
KNBC-TV NBC 4 Los Angeles

San Luis Obispo fire chief to retire after 6 years marked by success and controversy

San Luis Obispo Fire Chief Garret Olson — whose six years of leadership have been marked by improvements in safety and technology but also a costly controversy — is retiring after a 30-year firefighting career. Olson, whose last day is set for Oct. 30, updated firefighters’ protective gear and older city facilities, upgraded the radio system and established a fire apparatus replacement program, according to city officials. He also championed the city’s participation in the PulsePoint smart-phone app, which anyone can download to be notified if someone in their vicinity is suffering from a heart attack and 911 has been called. The systems allows for a potentially quicker CPR response if citizens can arrive faster than first responders, potentially saving lives because of the short window in a dire cardiac emergency.
San Luis Obispo County Tribune

As he nears retirement, Anaheim fire chief warns firefighters must adapt to a changing role

As Anaheim Fire Chief Randy Bruegman’s retirement approaches, he discusses the future of firefighting and allows that if departments fail to change it could mean fewer men and women prepared to battle infernos. Along with more mega wildfires and tornadoes of flame never seen before in modern history, the chief points out that 85 percent of calls are for emergency medical service. “If we don’t adapt,” he warns, “we’ll be challenged to be relevant and worthwhile.” While we talk, I glance at a collection of fire helmets that attest to the chief’s positions over his 43-year career. I also steal a look at a series of photographs of sooty firefighters that silently speak to heroism, sacrifice and honor. But it’s a photo of a man dressed in red and gold robes that best captures both the chief’s approach to running a fire department as well as the chief himself. That would be the Dalai Lama.
Orange County Register

Memorial service details released for fallen Chico Fire Captain

Memorial service information has been released following the passing of Chico Fire Captain, Joe Duran. Captain Duran passed away on September 12 following a battle with job-related cancer. Because of the presumptive nature of the cancer, his passing has been deemed a Line of Duty Death. Captain Duran spent nearly three decades as a firefighter with the City of Chico, rising to the rank of Captain and service as the leader of the Chico Fire Department's Rescue Team. Division Chief Wes Metroka said, "Captain Duran was a valued member of the City of Chico Fire Department and served his community with honor and distinction until his health forced him to retire in August of 2017". Services for Captain Duran will be held on Friday, September 21 at 11:30 a.m. at the Bidwell Presbyterian Church in Chico.

’I was dying for you to get there’: Woman reunites with Oakhurst first responders who saved her life

An Oakhurst woman is sharing her story after surviving the unimaginable. Jessica Woodington, 31, was in a head-on collision two months ago in Oakhurst. The other driver did not survive, but out of tragedy, there's now friendship. Firefighters from Fire Station 12 in Oakhurst responded to a called back on July 24. But before they could get there, they said a few Good Samaritans helped them, help save Woodington's life. "Give me a hug, thank you so much," she expressed to the First Responder. "Oh of course, of course, I'm so glad you're OK," said Brent Sanders, a firefighter for Station 12 in Madera County. It's a reunion Woodington wasn't sure she'd live to see. "Man, I gotta tell you I was dying for you to get there," she said to Sanders.
KGPE-TV CBS 47 Fresno

Ranch fire, which propelled Mendocino Complex into California history, fully contained

California’s largest-ever wildland fire, a 7-week-old inferno that raged mostly across northern Lake County, scorching hundreds of thousands of acres of national forest, has been declared fully contained, Forest Service officials said Wednesday. The Ranch fire was the giant among a pair of blazes called the Mendocino Complex that erupted an hour apart July 27 in Mendocino County and swept east, spurring evacuation orders affecting thousands of residents across four counties. Together, the fires burned a total of 459,123 acres — more than 700 square miles — and destroyed 280 structures, including 157 homes. The lone fatality was a Utah firefighter who was killed last month battling the Ranch fire. About 460 firefighters remained assigned to the blaze Wednesday, accompanied by seven engines, a helicopter and 45 bulldozers. With flames corralled, crews will shift their focus to repairing the 22 miles of fireline surrounding the blaze, as well as restoring burned areas, according to the Forest Service, which took over command of the fire last month.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

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