VIDEO: Three homes were destroyed in a fire on Bethel Island in East Contra Costa County Thursday evening. Firefighters said two homes on the 1200 block of Taylor Road burned to the ground. A third was still standing but was considered a complete loss. No one was injured.
Firefighters said it took between 12 and 15 minutes to reach the fire because there is no fire station on Bethel Island. “Due to budget cuts, this station was closed on this island among other stations in our district,” said East Contra Costa fire battalion chief Ross MacCumber. Once firefighters arrived at the scene, there were more obstacles.
One neighbor said there are no fire hydrants on the island, except a handful on the main street. Firefighters used a hose strung across the nearby levee to access water from the river.
KPIX-TV CBS 5 San Francisco
Bulldozer drivers cut 305 miles of fire lines through scenic forest land last year in a desperate bid to stop a massive wildfire's advance on a Northern California city, an effort an environmentalist group said Thursday was largely ineffective.
The Oregon-based Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics & Ecology organization released a report detailing bulldozer use during the July wildfire that killed eight people and destroyed 1,000 homes in and around Redding. One dozer driver died and another was seriously hurt.
The report concluded that flying embers driving the fire rendered almost useless the bulldozers' cutting of "catlines" to clear trees and vegetation in its path. "Numerous catlines were carved into the hills and ridgelines north, south and west of the city trying to stop the spread of the fire, but almost all of them were breached by flying embers that were lofted in hot, dry, fast-moving winds that spread flames over the catlines," the report said.
Ventura County Star
VIDEO: At least 18 animals died and 14 others were rescued in a fire that erupted at a reptile museum in San Bernardino County on Thursday, officials said.
The dramatic rescue took place at noon at the Mountain Town Reptile Museum in Oak Glen, "apple country." Among the animals rescued were two geese and six water turtles. Six parrots were also rescued. The museum lost lizards, snakes, salamanders, turtles, birds, guinea pigs and bunnies.
"It's really, really sad right now," museum owner Terry Fox said. "I don't know what else to say." A firefighter was sent to the hospital for minor burns.
KNBC-TV NBC 4 Los Angeles
The Samoa Dragstrip area was transformed this morning into an emergency vehicle training course for Six Rivers National Forest fire management employees.
Tom Stokesberry, Engine 341 captain, said the course was a follow up to classroom discussions about emergency vehicle operation.
“We provide our students the opportunity to get behind the wheel and run code three, red lights and sirens, so when they do get into the real world and we’re responding to an incident, they have those memories and ‘slides’ in their heads of how that works,” he said.
The course includes a simulated construction zone, highway, country road, crosswalk, stoplight, an uncontrolled four-way intersection with vehicles coming through it, and “a couple individuals out there may be throwing a ball across the road,” Stokesberry said.
Two former Orange County Fire Authority employees have filed a lawsuit against the department alleging they were wrongfully dismissed following one’s criticism of the Canyon 2 fire response and the questions both raised regarding a change in emergency-dispatcher scheduling.
Megan Soman, who joined the department as a reserve firefighter in 1997 and rose through the ranks to become a fire communication supervisor, and Travis Fader, who joined as a fire communication dispatcher in 2017, both say they were targeted by department higher-ups and unfairly fired.
In interviews, both said they filed the lawsuit to make sure what they say happened to them doesn’t happen to anyone else.
OCFA officials declined to comment on the allegations, citing a policy to not discuss pending litigation. The suit seeks unspecified financial damages, civil penalties and reinstatement.
Orange County Register
Fire investigators need help catching a serial arsonist before he strikes again.
The suspect has torched at least four laundry rooms inside a Central Fresno apartment.
At Hunter Place apartments, neighbors are fixating on unfamiliar faces, looking for the man caught in a surveillance video that recorded the man.
Jazmine Zamora is feeling uneasy because she lives above a laundry room.
In the last few weeks, an arsonist has set four different units on fire inside her apartment complex.
Fire investigators have no idea why.
"That's really scary. It makes me want to go sleep somewhere else until they find somebody because I don't want to wake up to a fire," Zamora says. "Maybe next time he can aim at my apartment, get tired of this apartment complex - do something bigger."
Through videos, firefighters are confident it's the same man in all four cases.
KFSN-TV ABC 30 Frenso/Visalia