California News

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

USS Bonhomme Richard warship fire hero shares his story

In an exclusive interview with ABC10 News, a firefighter shared his heroic story of helping battle the massive fire that erupted aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard this past July. “It was a crazy situation,” said Deputy Fire Chief Robert Sepulveda with Navy Region Southwest Fire Emergency Services. “We [had] about 400-plus firefighters on-scene at the time,” he stated and added, “I was on the front lines with the firefighters and was directing the fire attack on the forward side of the ship at that time.” His first shift lasted for 30 hours. It took almost a week to knock it all down. “What I was feeling at that time was obviously fear and wanting to make sure that everyone was safe on-scene and make sure I had that command presence to be able to unify everybody,” he told ABC10 News. He has now received a civilian of the year award for his heroic actions.
KGTV-TV ABC 10 San Diego

Related: Navy will decommission warship docked off San Diego after it was damaged in a suspected arson

The Navy said Monday that it will decommission a warship docked off San Diego after suspected arson this summer caused extensive damage, making it too expensive to restore. Fully repairing the USS Bonhomme Richard to warfighting capabilities would cost $2.5 billion to $3 billion and take five to seven years, said Rear Adm. Eric H. Ver Hage of the Navy Regional Maintenance Center. The amphibious assault ship burned for more than four days in July and was the Navy’s worst U.S. warship fire outside of combat in recent memory. The ship was left with extensive structural, electrical and mechanical damage. Restoring it for another use, perhaps as a hospital, would take almost as long as full restoration and cost $1 billion. Decommissioning the ship will take nine months to a year and cost $30 million, Ver Hage said. Navy officials and industry experts studied the cost and schedule with an eye toward “the art of the possible,” Ver Hage told reporters.
KTXL-TV Fox 40 Sacramento

Drones as next tech in firefighting? System gets support from Dixon Fire Chief

With flame-ravaged communities still mired in a tough recovery after California’s worst fire season destroyed thousands of homes, a Silicon Valley startup says its artificially intelligent firefighting drones could help stop future catastrophes. If drones from Rain Industries had been in position during this August’s lightning storms, the aircraft could have contained 72% of the fires within 10 minutes of ignition, the Palo Alto firm’s co-founder and CEO Maxwell Brodie said. “This is a transformative technology,” Brodie said. “If it is us or someone else that does this, it doesn’t really matter. This will happen.” After starting out with a smaller, six-rotor prototype drone that successfully doused small fires by dropping balls full of retardant, Rain is now testing autonomous aircraft resembling small helicopters that it says can fly preemptively during potentially hazardous wildfire conditions and use their infrared sensors to locate and combat flames when they first erupt.
Daily Democrat

Fire caused by propane truck crash in Gridley contained

PHOTOS: Firefighters have contained a fire and gas leak caused by a propane truck crash in Gridley. The truck crashed and caught fire Monday morning near the intersection of Colusa Highway and Hatch Road. The injured driver was rescued from the burning truck then taken to the hospital for treatment. When fire crews arrived, propane was leaking from the truck and catching fire. The fire spread to nearby rice fields and burned 30 acres, Cal Fire says. Firefighters were able to stop the leak and prevent a large explosion. The fire as a whole was contained Monday afternoon. Evacuations were in place for the area within a mile of the crash scene. Colusa Highway was closed at Pennington Road for several hours.
KRCR-TV ABC 7 Redding

Laguna Beach to review $890k public safety dispatch, record system

The Laguna Beach City Council will consider a five-year contract Tuesday worth more than $890,000 for a new computer-aided dispatch system for its police, fire, and marine safety departments. If approved, SOMA Global’s cloud-based system will replace the technology that Laguna Beach has used since 2006. The computer-aided dispatch (CAD) allows command staff to coordinate and track personnel and equipment responding to calls for service. Modern CADs also monitor emergency vehicles’ locations via GPS, which can be used to direct first responders to the fastest routes. The proposed program switch also includes a new record management system that would serve all three public safety departments. Currently, Laguna Beach police call records are kept on a separate system from fire and marine safety.
Laguna Beach Independent

Monday, November 30, 2020

Memorial service held for Oakland firefighter, 42, who died of heart attack

A memorial service for interim Assistant Chief Sean Laffan was held Monday from Oakland Fire Station 5 on 34th Street to the Chapel of the Chimes on Piedmont Avenue. Laffan was 42 years old when he died Nov. 16 from a heart attack. He had collapsed at about 5 p.m. at the Oakland Fire Department's offices at 150 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza and was rushed to Summit Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead later that night. A procession from the chapel to Sacramento followed. Laffan, a native of Santa Clara and resident of Sacramento, graduated from the Fire Academy in 2000 and began his career with the Oakland department. He was promoted to assistant chief in June. He is survived by his parents, his wife Sabrina, and three sons Cooper, Connor and Caeden, who is a probationary firefighter with the Oakland Fire Department. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Oakland and will go to support young people in Oakland.
KTVU-TV Fox 2 Oakland

Sacramento Firefighters Answer More Calls Involving Homeless Camp Fires As Temperatures Remain Low

There’s no doubt that many nerves are raw after a devastating and deadly fire season. Now as temperatures drop, there are increasing concerns with a rise in homeless camp fires. “Every winter we see a change in our calls and right now we are seeing more calls from our transient population,” said Sacramento Fire Department spokesperson Chris Vestal. The Sacramento Area Firefighter’s Union posted its concerns on Facebook, saying it is seeing everything from small debris fires to garbage can flames right next to buildings. Firefighters are worried the fires will trap people living in the camps or spread to homes and businesses. “It’s just freezing weather. To be outside with ten tarps and three blankets doesn’t suffice for anybody,” said Bobbie Wooten, founder of Feed Sacramento Homeless. Wooten said she understands fire fears but is also concerned about an underlying problem. Wooten points to the pandemic forcing people out of work and onto the street. It’s a problem city leaders struggle to address.
KOVR-TV CBS 13 Sacramento

Response from neighbors helps prevent tragedy during central Fresno fire, firefighters say

Firefighters say a quick response from neighbors helped them prevent tragedy at an apartment fire in central Fresno. One of the units went up in flames near Clark and Belmont just after 10 pm Friday. People in neighboring units called 911 and evacuated the complex safely. Firefighters put the flames out in just a few minutes and kept the fire from damaging other units. Investigators say smoke detectors in the apartment complex helped speed up their response. "That's what we want to hear, we want to know that that's one of the reasons we were able to keep the fire as small as it was," says Bob Camp with the Fresno Fire Department. "Those early-detection devices are critical in the success." One man who lived in that affected apartment is now displaced. The cause of this fire is now under investigation.
KFSN-TV ABC 30 Frenso/Visalia

Firefighter Injured Battling Hawk Fire in San Diego, Fire Spread Stopped

Firefighters have stopped the spread of a vegetation fire that grew to 10 acres near Japatul Valley Road, Cal Fire San Diego said Friday. The Hawk Fire was reported at around 1 p.m. near Japatul Valley Road and Red Hawk Ridge. The fire was growing at a moderate rate of spread, Cal Fire said. As SkyRanger 7 flew overhead the fire, multiple engines were seen on the ground and helicopters were seen dropping water. By 2 p.m., Cal Fire said firefighters were making good progress and an hour later the spread had been stopped.
KNBC-TV NBC 4 Los Angeles

Fire at Fremont apartment complex displaces 17 people

A two-alarm fire Thursday night at an apartment building in Fremont displaced 17 people. Firefighters with the Fremont Fire Department responded at 7:07 p.m. Thursday to a two-story apartment building at 350 Franciscan Court, fire officials said. Responding firefighters located flames and heavy smoke coming from an upstairs unit. Crews were able to put out the blaze, but the blaze destroyed one unit and impacted eight additional units, firefighters said. Fourteen adults and three children were displaced and the American Red Cross responded to the scene to assist them. There were no reported injuries.
KTVU-TV Fox 2 Oakland

First responder, boy he saved from drowning reunited in Barstow after nearly 34 years

Sid Hultquist held back tears as he embraced Louis “Rooster” Abeita Jr., the “little 4-year-old boy” he helped save after Abeita's mother found his lifeless body floating in a backyard swimming pool nearly 34 years ago. Hultquist, an assistant fire chief for the Barstow Fire Department, reunited with Abeita, now 37, on Monday during an informal celebration inside the fire district's headquarters on Barstow Road. “This is the young man who impacted my life over 33 years ago,” Hultquist told Abeita’s family, friends and a group of firefighters who gathered for the event. Standing next to Medic Engine 361, Hultquist held the station’s logbook and pointed to the drowning call on Date Avenue. It was recorded Jan. 29, 1987. The call and date, Hultquist said, are “permanently engraved” on his heart and mind. They serve as constant reminders as to why he became a first responder.
Daily Press

Sign up to subscribe to custom state Daily Dispatch emails for free

click to subscribe