California News

Friday, February 15, 2019

1 dead, 30 others rescued from rushing water across Riverside County

One woman died after she was pulled from a flood channel Thursday morning, Feb. 14, by rescue crews in Corona, and at least 30 others were pulled from rushing waters in rivers, flood channels and inundated roads across Riverside County. The slew of rescues began just after 5 a.m. when rescue crews with the Corona Fire Department pulled 7 people out of a flood channel in the Auburndale area of Corona. Within the next hour, crews with the Riverside County Fire Department pulled one person from the middle of Temecula Creek, while crews freed five others from their vehicles stuck on a flooded roadway in Menifee using boats. None were injured. Before noon, crews were called to a flood channel near McKinley Avenue and the 91 Freeway where two were stuck among storm waters.
Redlands Daily Facts

100 Days After Paradise Burned, the Stories of the Victims

On that frantic morning, TK Huff was calm. The 71-year-old amputee sat in his wheelchair, pointing a garden hose at what quickly became the deadliest wildfire in California history. Nobody knew at the time, early on Nov. 8, how bad it would be. When his family called at 7:15 a.m., Huff said he would leave. But he never made it out. All around, fires were breaking out, and men and women — most of them elderly, many of them disabled — were doomed: Flames soon overtook 74-year-old Richard Brown's beloved log cabin in the Sierra Nevada foothills. On the edge of neighboring Paradise, a blaze prompted the Feather Canyon Retirement Community to evacuate its residents — all except 88-year-old Julian Binstock, overlooked in the chaos. It was just the start of a day that was almost unfathomable.
KNTV-TV NBC 11 Bay Area

State considers insurance to help with wildfire costs

California should get insurance to help cover taxpayers' costs in bad wildfire seasons, a solution that could help stem losses as climate change contributes to more destructive blazes, two state officials said Thursday. The most populous state should follow the lead of Oregon, the World Bank and the Federal Emergency Management Agency after outspending its emergency fund in seven of the last 10 years, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and Treasurer Fiona Ma said. California spent nearly $950 million two years ago, about $450 million more than was budgeted and by far the highest annual amount. It spent about $677 million last year, as wildfires again swept through cities, suburbs and more rural areas. California has experienced 11 of the top 20 most destructive fires in its history since 2007.
Santa Maria Times

Central Coast firefighters celebrate 20-year partnership with Mexican firefighters

A group of Central Coast firefighters is back from Mexico after a trip during the first week of February. The men are celebrating 20 years of volunteer work training a fire department in Mexico. “When we first went to Mexico 20 years ago, they didn't have trucks like this,” said retired CAL FIRE SLO Captain Mark Cameron, pointing to a firetruck filled with rescue equipment. “It's literally a rolling toolbox.” A toolbox his counterparts in Obregon, Mexico did not always have. “When we got down there, it's like holy smokes man, we take a lot of stuff granted in the United States,” Cameron said. Cameron said the firefighters in Obregon lacked a number of life-saving tools and advanced rescue training, leading to deaths on the job.
KEYT-TV ABC 3 Santa Barbara

Sonoma Mountain residents fight fire with fire trucks

The ground on Sonoma Mountain has been saturated for months, with snow falling last week on its higher elevations for the first time in years. But no amount of winter rains have dampened the fear of fire. Residents of this potentially fire prone area are preparing for their worst nightmare by launching a fundraising campaign for a new fire engine to be housed at the Sonoma Valley Fire & Rescue Authority’s Station Four in the Diamond A neighborhood – and by taking first steps toward establishing two new California Fire Safe Councils. A Type 6 fire engine, which is especially effective in fighting wildfires and can be driven off road, costs approximately $250,000. Diamond A residents have already raised $57,800 toward a goal of $125,000, with the Fire & Rescue Authority expected to match that amount.
Sonoma Index-Tribune

Thursday, February 14, 2019

3 Firefighters Hurt When Engine Rolls Over in San Diego County

A Cal Fire engine assigned to respond to rain-related incidents in the North County went off the road and rolled over in Bonsall Thursday. The truck veered off Old Highway 395 south of Camino Del Rey and landed in an embankment about 20 feet below the roadway at about 6:15 a.m., California Highway Patrol said. No other vehicles were believed to be involved in the crash but an investigation was ongoing, Cal Fire spokesperson Issac Sanchez said. The three firefighters inside were able to get out of the crashed vehicle with minor injuries, CHP said. All were transported to a nearby hospital for evaluation, Sanchez said. The engine was assigned to the Deer Springs area and may have been responding to a report of a fire, Sanchez said. Sanchez said while CHP will conduct an investigation into the crash, Cal Fire would also be conduction their own investigation.

More than 1,000 pay tribute to Garden Grove Fire Chief Tom Schultz at memorial service in Fullerton

His children remembered him as someone who always encouraged them to do their best. Colleagues mentioned his faith, compassion and level head. A fire service chaplain recalled his fastidiously organized desk. More than 1,000 admirers – several hundred representing fire departments throughout Southern California – gathered Wednesday, Feb. 13, to share memories of Garden Grove Fire Chief Tom Schultz. Schultz’s death on Jan. 27 stunned family members and friends, coming just two weeks after an unexpected diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic and liver cancer. The Placentia resident, 54, left behind wife Kim, two daughters and a son. The two-hour service took place inside EvFree, a spacious church in Fullerton. Bright red against gray skies, dozens of firetrucks lined up outside – some of them having delivered bagpipers and eulogizers.
Orange County Register - Metered Site

Lakeport Fire appoints veteran firefighter to interim chief position

The Lakeport Fire Department Board of Directors has appointed Rick Bergem to the position of Interim Fire Chief as the district’s current chief prepares to go to work in Ukiah. Fire Chief Doug Hutchison confirmed earlier this month that his final day at the district would be Friday, Feb. 15. Captain Rick Bergem, a 38-year veteran with the department, has been selected to take Hutchison’s place for a limited time as the district seeks a permanent chief. Following the board’s announcement of his appointment, Bergem told the Record-Bee Tuesday that he hopes to be able to restore some stability to the department as it continues to struggle financially. Bergem said he wants to “get our house in order and get back to provide the services the community has come to expect and deserve.”
Lakeport Lake County Record-Bee

East Contra Costa Fire Captain Who Lost Home in Camp Fire, Reissued Retirement Plaque

On Wednesday, the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District presented retired Fire Captain John Foster with a new retirement plaque along with replacement memorabilia. Fire Chief Brian Helmick provided an over view of the destruction of the Camp Fire which was one of the deadliest fires within the Untied Stated (6th deadliest). The fire cost the life of 85-people, covered 153,000 square miles. 18,804 structures were destroyed. “Captain John Foster and his family were one of the ones effected,” stated Helmick who explained when he spoke to Foster he was just trying to fight his way out of the fire where he came across many members of his community and help escort them out.
East County Today

Judge critical of PG&E’s wildfire role demands more answers

A U.S. judge who has berated Pacific Gas & Electric Co. for its role in California wildfires is demanding more answers from the utility. In a court filing Thursday, Judge William Alsup asked PG&E if it was in compliance with a state law requiring it to clear vegetation around electric lines that could cause fires. The judge also questioned a part of the utility's recently submitted wildfire mitigation plan. Alsup said it appears under the plan that PG&E would take more than 10 years to clear potentially dangerous vegetation where the fire threat is high. PG&E spokesman James Noonan did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Alsup is overseeing a criminal conviction against PG&E stemming from a deadly 2010 gas line explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Fox News

Two homes destroyed, person injured in Sausalito mudslide

Southern Marin Fire Protection District crews were searching for any occupants of a residence on Crescent Avenue after a mudslide Thursday morning in the southwest area of the city, a Sausalito police employee said. A house on Sausalito Boulevard slid into the residence below on Crescent Avenue, according to Natalie Poston, assistant to the police chief. A woman, the sole occupant of the house in the 400 block of Sausalito Boulevard, suffered minor injuries and was taken to Marin General Hospital, Poston said. The mudslide was reported around 3 a.m. and both homes were destroyed. Fifty homes in the area were evacuated and PG&E is at the scene, Poston said.

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