California News

Friday, June 22, 2018

New Bakersfield City Fire Chief Named

The City of Bakersfield has named a new chief with the Bakersfield Fire Department. Anthony Galagaza is a 26-year veteran with the Bakersfield Fire Department and most recently served as a battalion chief. He replaces Doug Greener who has served nine years as chief. He will be retiring at the end of this month. Galagaza is a Bakersfield native. He graduated from Bakersfield College with an Association of Arts degree in Fire Science in 1998. He also has his Bachelor of Arts Degree with Columbia Southern University and is currently working to complete his Master’s Degree in Business Administration. Galagaza started his career with the Bakersfield Fire Department in 1992. He has been promoted through the ranks to supervisory positions as fire engineer, fire captain, to most recently battalion chief.
KERO-TV ABC 23 Bakersfield-Turn to 23

Orange County Fire Authority Rejects Irvine’s Demands

With a ticking clock growing ever louder in the background, the Orange County Fire Authority rejected several demands made by Irvine that would keep the city in the fold as a voting member of the regional emergency coalition. “Basically, Irvine was told to pound sand,” said County Supervisor Todd Spitzer, who sits on the Fire Authority board of directors. This throws the ball back into Irvine’s court. The city is expected to weigh its next move on Tuesday, June 26, just four days before a June 30 deadline for deciding whether it will stay or go. The problem is this: Thanks to property tax formulas that were locked in decades ago, Irvine pays far more to the Fire Authority than it gets back in services. Depending on how you factor it, Irvine’s over-payment could be as much as $23 million a year, or as little as $5 million a year. To Irvine, that’s not fair. The Fire Authority agrees, but various attempts to fix the imbalance have failed.

Firefighters make dramatic rescue in Santa Cruz Mountains

Santa Clara County firefighters spent more than two hours Wednesday night rescuing a man whose car plunged down an embankment in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The accident happened shortly after 9 p.m. on Aldercroft Heights Road and Locust Drive in unincorporated Los Gatos. “The vehicle was about 50 feet down an embankment at a near vertical slope,” Santa Clara County Fire Department spokeswoman Luisa Rapport. “The car was nose-down and was being held up by a tree.” The rescue operation was a tricky one. “Our crews had to lower themselves and their extraction equipment down,” Rapport said. “The angle of the embankment and the fact that it required extraction equipment made it particularly challenging.” Crews using “jaws of life” equipment spent more than two hours extracting the unidentified male victim, who was taken to a local hospital with moderate injuries.
San Jose Mercury News

City of Shasta Lake Fire Department faces tough decisions after election

Just as wildfire season is getting started, the Shasta Lake Fire Protection District is facing a serious blow. Taxpayers failed to pass a property tax proposal, that would have helped fund the department. Now, Fire Chief, Dennis Beck is facing some very tough choices. "We could run the place into the ground again like we did a few years ago trying to keep folks here," Beck said. He also says three positions in the department are currently being funded by a grant, but when it runs out, the positions likely will too, without the passage of the tax. "That grant runs out February of 2019. At that point, when that money goes away, it will be very difficult, next to impossible for us to fund those three positions," Becksaid.

PG&E warns of at least $2.5 billion in liabilities from North Bay fires

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. warned investors Thursday it anticipates being held liable for at least $2.5 billion in damages for October’s Northern California wildfires — and could be on the hook for billions more. The San Francisco-based utility said $2.5 billion is the low end of its potential liability based on a growing number of lawsuits — now approaching 200 — filed against the company. PG&E executives did not set a ceiling for its exposure, stating there are too many unknowns to make a reasonable estimate. Insured losses from the fires are estimated to reach $10 billion, and some industry analysts have said the total could climb to as much as $15 billion. That far exceeds the approximately $840 million in insurance coverage PG&E listed in a financial filing Thursday. It also is significantly larger than the fines and settlement costs imposed on PG&E from the 2010 San Bruno natural gas pipeline explosion, which exceeded $1.9 billion.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Rancho Mirage attic fire causes $3 million in damage

A fire that broke out in the attic of Rancho Mirage residence caused $3 million in damage, according to Cal Fire. Four firefighters were injured while battling the blaze. The fire was reported at 12:29 p.m. Tuesday on the 10 block of Furman Court, according to April Newman of the Riverside County Fire Department. Crews battled ``active heavy fire'' in the single-story home's roof, which spread to an adjoining duplex, Newman said. More than five dozen county firefighters responded to the scene and were able to get the flames under control at 2:35 p.m. Four of the firefighters were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, according to Newman. Temperatures reached 102 degrees in Rancho Mirage early Tuesday afternoon, leading authorities to utilize a SunLine bus to cycle firefighters in and out of the heat.
KESQ-TV Channel 3

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Roseville Slashing Fire Department As It Battles $2 Million Deficit

The Roseville City Council made some tough cuts to its fire department on Wednesday night, cutting two shifts from each rotation. In case of a car crash or house fire, four firefighters are currently dispatched per truck. The city wants to scale back to three. “It will reduce the efficiency of those truck companies by 50 percent,” did George Titus with the firefighter’s union. He said currently the four firefighters work in pairs, that can’t happen with only three. “The choice has to be made whether we go to the roof and ventilate or we go immediately inside and do a rescue operation. they can’t be done simultaneously,” he said. The city is currently is losing around $2 million each year. By removing two positions per shift and it can save around $500,000 annually and it would be considered part of a pilot project.
KOVR-TV CBS Sacramento

’Wall of fire’ at Clovis Recycling Center contained by crews

A large industrial fire broke out at the Clovis Recycling Center. The plume of smoke could be seen miles away. Crews continue to work for hours to put out every hot spot and fortunately, every employee inside the building got out safe. Powerful flames caught on camera by Omar Ayad who works next door to the Clovis Recycling Center. "I just feel the heat behind my back. I look around. Next thing I know, there's a wall of fire," said Ayad. Within minutes, Clovis Fire responded just after 4 P.M. on Wednesday, hosing down large layers of cardboard. Chief John Binanski says each pile measured about 20 feet high and 15 feet wide, helping the flames grow. "Even the slightest spark makes them flammable and in turn they start and spread fire very rapidly," said Binanski.
KGPE-TV CBS 47 Fresno

Black and Latino firefighters lawsuit calling LAFD an all-white boys club is going forward

Several Los Angeles Fire Department employees can proceed with their lawsuit against the city, to prove that their ethnicity caused reported discrimination, harassment and retaliation, a judge ruled Wednesday. Reginald Roberts, an attorney for the city, had argued that the case should be dismissed, because he said the plaintiffs had not provided enough details in their complaint to support their allegations. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis disagreed and ruled the entire case can move forward. All of the plaintiffs are members of the LAFD’s Fire Prevention Bureau. Gary Carpenter, Andre Johnson, David Riles and Aaron Walker are black, and both Glenn Martinez and Patricia Ramirez are Latinos. “The LAFD is essentially an all-white boys club, and anyone who fails to align themselves with this mentality is looked down upon and treated differently,” the lawsuit alleges. According to their court papers, black and female firefighters in the bureau were branded by other department employees as “lazy and afraid” to fight fires.
Los Angeles Daily News - Metered Site

Third arrest made in Dogz Bar and Grill fire in Long Beach

Long Beach Fire officials said Wednesday that a third juvenile had been arrested in connection to a series of fires in Naples and Belmont Shore, and added that all three teenagers were being charged in the fire last week that destroyed the interior of Dogz Bar and Grill in Belmont Shore. Two 14-year-olds were arrested Saturday afternoon for a series of fires, including one at Naples Elementary School. LBFD spokesman Jake Heflin said Wednesday in a release that the Long Beach Fire Department Fire Investigations Team and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Arson Unit Task Force had been cooperating in an investigation for weeks. The third teenager, also 14, lives in Naples and was arrested Tuesday. All three teens were being held at the Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall. The identities were not released due to the suspects’ age.
Long Beach Press-Telegram

15 West Los Angeles Residents Decontaminated After Possible Exposure to Asbestos

Fifteen residents of a West Los Angeles apartment were "formally decontaminated" by firefighters after possibly being exposed to asbestos, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Officials responded to the apartment complex along the 1800 block of Prosser Avenue about 9:50 p.m. Wednesday. While none of the residents of the apartment along Prosser Avenue showed signs of illness or injury, they were decontaminated. None of the residents were hospitalized. Officials donned white hazmat suits to clear the 7,722 square-foot, two-story, 12-unit apartment building. Residents said building management officials were doing renovations and had improperly removed a popcorn ceiling from an apartment and the whole building was exposed to the toxic dust. Property management officials have not returned requests for comments on the incident.
KTLA-TV WB 5 Los Angeles

Escondido Firefighters Rescue Elderly Woman from Burning Mobile Home

Escondido firefighters rescued a woman with a walker who was trying to escape her burning mobile home, department officials said Thursday. The blaze erupted around 8:40 a.m. Wednesday inside the mobile home at 1530 East El Norte Parkway, Escondido Battalion Chief Mike Bertrand said. “The first arriving engine reported a light smoke coming from the mobile home and an elderly female attempting to evacuate with a walker,” Bertrand said. “The crew was able to safely evacuate the resident, who suffered minor injuries and was transported to Palomar Medical Center.”
Times of San Diego

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