California News

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Part of Los Angeles Building Collapses in Early Morning Fire, Firefighter Injured

VIDEO: A firefighter suffered non-life-threatening injuries Wednesday morning at a blaze in a commercial building that houses a Chase Bank branch in the Hyde Park area and burned for 90 minutes before being extinguished. Part of the building collapses during the fire, reported at 12:24 a.m. at 4401 Crenshaw Blvd., near Vernon Avenue. Firefighters found fire burning through the roof of the two-story building, according to Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department. The address corresponds to a Chase Bank branch inside the Bakewell Building. A total of 160 firefighters extinguished the Major Emergency fire in 90 minutes while protecting a nearby three-story building from fire damage. A knockdown was called at 1:54 a.m., Stewart said. The firefighter sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital, Stewart said.
KNBC-TV NBC 4 Los Angeles

Firefighters battling several blazes in Santa Cruz County

Strong winds fueled more than a dozen wildfires in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties Tuesday. Cal Fire says at least 13 fires started between Monday and Tuesday in both regions, including six that were actively burning Tuesday. 12 of the wildfires burned in Santa Cruz County, including two which threatened homes. The Panther Ridge Fire threatened 20 homes in Boulder Creek, while the Freedom Fire burning off Freedom Boulevard in Watsonville forced the evacuation of 100 homes in the Nunes Road area. That included the home belonging to the Silver family. "I was at work and I got a call we were under immediate evacuation," said Joel Silver. "Looks like the fire in on the ridge directly above my house," He and others forced from their homes by wildfires in the middle of January were left pondering some big questions.
KTVU-TV Fox 2 Oakland, San Francisco, Bay Area

Body found inside burned apartment in central Fresno

VIDEO: One person was found dead inside a burned apartment in central Fresno on Wednesday morning. Firefighters were called to a four-plex on Fresno Street, and Weldon Avenue around 4:15 am. Fire crews arrived to find flames coming from one of the apartment units. Officials say they soon learned that someone was inside the building, and firefighters went inside to rescue them. Crews found one person dead inside the apartment. An official cause of death has not been released. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
KFSN-TV ABC 30 Frenso/Visalia

Manteca, Lathrop send firefighters with EMT training to help SoCal

Seven firefighters from Manteca and Lathrop are currently helping with the COVID-19 pandemic that is battering Southern California – using their EMT skills to supplement staffing levels at hospitals inundated with patients. And more may be on the way soon. This week the City of Manteca sent four firefighters to the Los Angeles area as part of the California Fire Assistance Agreement. It is the same mechanism that sends firefighters to help battle the extensive wildland blazes that have pummeled the forests and foothills over the last several years. The cost of their services as well as the cost of replacing them on standard shifts, according to Acting Manteca Fire Chief Dave Marquez, will be reimbursed by the State of California. The administrative costs incurred while shuffling personnel will also be paid back by the state of California. And three firefighters from the Lathrop Manteca Fire District – including Fire Chief Gene Neely – are also down in Southern California providing assistance.
Manteca Bulletin

Small Brush Fire Breaks Out In Ventura

Firefighters were battling a small brush fire which broke out amid swirling Santa Ana wind gusts in Ventura Tuesday morning. The Olivas Fire erupted near Olivas Park Drive and Victoria Avenue sometime before 10 a.m., according to the Ventura County Fire Department, near the Bueneventura Golf Course. The fire was between 3 and 4 acres in size, but appeared to be confined to the Santa Clara River bottom, the fire department tweeted. Crews had established containment lines around the fire and were working to extinguish any hot spots. Firefighters were expected to remain on scene for several hours, the fire department reported. There was no immediate word of any threat to structures. A red flag warning is in effect through at least 10 p.m. Tuesday due to Santa Ana winds which could reach speeds of up to 80 miles per hour. Thousands of Southern California Edison customers are without power.
KCAL-TV CBS 9 Los Angeles

Firefighters called upon to distribute COVID-19 vaccine in Contra Costa County

Acknowledging that the initial phase of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout has moved slowly, Contra Costa Health Services announced Jan. 11 that it will use firefighter-paramedics to help distribute the vaccine within the county. Since mid-December, the county had administered 36,000 doses of the vaccine as of Jan. 15. At that rate, with the county's professed goal of vaccinating 725,000 residents within six months in order to achieve herd immunity levels, the job would not be completed for two years. CCHS says it will require a major escalation of vaccinations to reach the county goal, jumping from approximately 1,200 vaccinations a day to 7,000 a day. "We continue to redirect every resource available to getting shots in arms," Dr. Ori Tzvieli, Contra Costa County Deputy Health Officer and COVID Operations Chief, said in a statement.
Lamorinda Weekly

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

More Than 17% of San Diego Firefighters Opt Out of COVID-19 Vaccination

San Diego's fire chief got his COVID-19 vaccine on New Year's Eve in the hopes of setting an example for the city’s 940-plus sworn firefighters. NBC 7 Investigates has learned a surprising number of the men and women who are often the first to treat patients with the virus are choosing not to vaccinate against it. The FDA authorized both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as safe and effective, but stopped short of approval, since neither company yet has enough long-term data. And that gives some firefighters pause. San Diego Fire-Rescue officials said that 167 of the department's 943 sworn firefighters turned down the vaccine. That means more than 17%, or nearly 1 in 5 firefighters, chose not to get the coronavirus vaccine. Conner said that everyone should pay attention to how many firefighters are saying no to the vaccine -- and why -- because this is likely a test drive of what will happen when the vaccine is rolled out to the general population.
KNSD-TV NBC 7 San Diego

Kern County Fire Department launches first recruit academy since pandemic began

The Kern County Fire Department on Monday launched its first KCFD Recruit Academy since the COVID-19 pandemic began. It is also the first academy of 2021, according to a KCFD news release. The 35 recruits will be instructed in a variety of disciplines over eight weeks, testing their physical and mental abilities during the day followed by studying at night. "Throughout the academy recruits are expected to maintain high academic levels and pass ongoing manipulative skills tests," the news release. Then the firefighters will be assigned as a trainee at a KCFD station to reinforce their training under the supervision of skilled crews in real emergencies. "The timing of this academy is particularly important as existing firefighters have worked a record number of hours in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and historic year of fire activity. Their successful completion of the academy and training assignments will help provide much needed reinforcement to the ranks of the Kern County Fire Department," the news release said.

Pasadena Fire Department Training Division Recognized by State as Accredited Fire Academy

The Pasadena Fire Department’s Training Division has been recognized by the State Fire Marshal as an Accredited Local Academy, officials said. The announcement was made Thursday in the form of a newsletter issued by City Manager Steve Mermell. PFD Acting Chief Anthon Bagan said it was an honor for the department to be recognized by state officials and peers. “I am proud of all members who helped the Pasadena Fire Department achieve recognition as an Accredited Local Fire Academy with the Office of the California State Fire Marshal, State Fire Training,” Bagan said. “Now that the Pasadena Fire Department is recognized as an Accredited Local Academy, our training division can deliver the curriculum of the California Fire Service Training and Education System which leads to professional certification from firefighter to fire chief,” Bagan said in a written statement.
Pasadena Now

2-Alarm Blaze Rips Through Carlsbad Condo’s Roof

VIDEO: Ferocious flames scorched through the roof of a Carlsbad condominium complex overnight as firefighters battled the two-alarm blaze. The fire was reported at about 3 a.m. Tuesday in the 7400 block of Avenida de Palais. There, crews encountered heavy flames on the roof of the structure. At some point, the fire was so intense that crews had to stand back and battle the blaze from a distance. Fire officials said the complex was comprised of two condo units -- both of which were damaged in the fire. However, the duplex, which was under construction, was unoccupied at the time. Injuries were not immediately reported in connection to the fire. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.
KNSD-TV NBC 7 San Diego

Los Angeles County Fire Department Seeing ’Drastic Decline’ In COVID-19 Cases

The Los Angeles County Fire Department has experienced a “drastic decline” in coronavirus test positivity rates and a drop in the number of personnel out sick with the disease since they began receiving the vaccine, officials said Monday. “With a nearly 75% acceptance rate in our department, the COVID-19 vaccine is allowing us to keep our first responders on track to stay as healthy as possible during these most challenging times of the pandemic,” county fire Chief Daryl Osby said in a statement. “With the second dose of the vaccine now being given to our team members, this will provide another layer of protection and allow us to continue to seamlessly provide the highest level of care to our patients,” Osby said.
KCAL-TV CBS 9 Los Angeles

PG&E’s weather stations, fire-watch cameras reducing size of power shutoffs

Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s expanded network of enhanced weather technology, including weather stations and high-definition fire-watch cameras, helped reduce the size of each Public Safety Power Shutoff event in 2020 on average by 55%, the utility reported. At the end of 2020, PG&E had 1,000 weather stations and 340 cameras in operation throughout Northern and Central California, providing more precise weather data to the company’s team of meteorologists and outside agencies. More than 121 of those weather stations and 31 cameras are in the North Bay counties of Marin, Napa and Sonoma. There are about three dozen locations in Napa County where the equipment is installed, including on Diamond Mountain Road, Silverado Trail, and Pickett Road in Calistoga.
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