California News

Friday, August 23, 2019

Shasta County: Watch the moment the Mountain Fire filled the sky with smoke

VIDEO: A PG&E wildfire monitoring camera in Shasta County named "Eagle's Nest" captured the ignition of the Mountain Fire shortly after 11 a.m. Thursday, according to the camera's clock. The camera, owned and operated by PG&E, is part of a weather and wildfire monitoring network that feeds data into their emergency operations center. The live feed from the camera is hosted by the University of Nevada's seismological lab. At least three other cameras in the network, Falcons View, Tuscan Butte, and West Peak 1, captured images of the growing flames from no more than 40 miles away, south of Shasta Lake. PG&E has been installing cameras as a part of their wildfire mitigation efforts and plans to install more before the year is over. The fire is about 600 acres in size with 20% containment, according to an 8 p.m. Thursday update by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. No injuries had been reported.

New Montezuma Fire Protection District chief takes reins

The new chief of the Montezuma Fire Protection District took a little break from the fire service, but never really stopped looking for the right job in which to return. Michael O’Connor comes to his job after he had worked a couple of years with the Georgia Department of Transportation as a traffic manager, a job in which he was responsible for emergency response to the highways of Henry County, located about an hour or so south of Atlanta. He said he enjoyed his time on the East Coast, especially learning about all the American history there. The chief’s job at Montezuma proved to be the job that brought him back West. “It’s a small department. It’s close to Sacramento where many of my family are living,” O’Connor said. “I started, actually, on the 12th,” said O’Connor, 56, who spent 25 years with the Hollister City Fire Department, climbing the ranks to chief. He lives in Sacramento, but said he is looking to move soon to Rio Vista. O’Connor started his career in the Sacramento City department, and has worked for the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Slough House, Merced and Madera County.
Daily Republic

2 vehicles destroyed in Chico Commons fire

Dozens of residents watched from porches and balconies as two vehicles were destroyed in a parking lot fire Thursday at the Chico Commons apartment complex at Amanda Way. “We saw this dark black smoke coming over here and the next thing we knew we heard these loud bangs,” said resident Cory Smith. “When we finally saw the fire, it was 10 to 15 feet high.” The Chico Fire Department received the dispatch call at around 5:49 p.m. Thursday and arrived on the scene shortly after, said Fire Captain Mike Watner. No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire is undetermined, Watner said. Watner said it appeared the fire started in one vehicle and spread to the other. The fire was controlled and put out by the firefighters. Residents surrounding the scene watched as the vehicles burnt and tires popped with loud bangs. “We were just hanging out in the pool and all of a sudden we saw black smoke right behind us,” said Neilsa Seivwright, who lives nearby.
Chico Enterprise Record

Private fire crews assisting with fire mitigation

After three consecutive and horrendous years of wildfires, there is an important shift going on this year in firefighting. Cal Fire, Contra Costa Fire, Orinda-Moraga Fire, East Bay Parks, East Bay MUD, Lawrence Berkeley Lab and many others mean to keep their hills firestorm free. As we've covered the enormous brush clearing project stretching 17 miles from Berkeley to Lafayette, we could not help but notice crews wearing gear that reads 'Firestorm'. "You know, they're working hard. They're working long hours. They're you know, away from home usually," Jess Wills, President of Firestorm Wildland Fire Suppression, Inc. The 25-year-old Chico-based company of 300 employees is just one of eight such companies in the nation dedicated to all aspects of preventing and fighting wild fires.
KTVU-TV Oakland, San Francisco, Bay Area

Previously convicted serial arsonist arrested in connection to string of suspected intentional fires set in Studio City

A man was taken into custody Friday in connection to nearly a dozen possible arson fires throughout Studio City. Officials were investigating roughly 11 fires that started near each other between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Crews responded to a reported structure fire in the 11300 block of West Ventura Boulevard, which ultimately turned out to be a dumpster fire, officials said. "One of them was next to a gas station, so we could have had explosions. All these things make this a significant threat to the community," LAFD Capt. Patrick Leonard said. AIR7 HD was overhead as authorities set up a command center near the location of the dumpster fire. Another fire broke out in the 3900 block of Eureka Drive. The suspect has only been identified as a previously convicted serial arsonist. The LAFD arson and counter terrorism division was called to the scene.
KABC-TV ABC 7 Los Angeles

New, faster dispatch technology brings quicker response from Santa Barbara Firefighters

New and faster dispatch technology is now getting Santa Barbara Firefighters on the move quicker than ever before. It went into service this week after years of planning, testing and the evaluation of systems capable of alerting stations and also sending out simultaneous messages to mobile electronic systems. Battalion Chief Chris Mailes says "instead of a human dispatcher putting a call out which actually takes time, the dispatcher is able to literally with one touch, send the call to each an every fire station that is needed to respond in less than a half a second." Factors impacting a response involve the 911 emergency call, the response by the fire crews to their vehicles and driving time to the incident. This system will take 30 to 40 seconds off that process.
KEYT-TV ABC 3 Santa Barbara

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Los Angeles: 1 killed, 1 critically injured in Exposition Park house fire

One person was killed and one person was in grave condition after a house fire in Exposition Park located steps away from the LA Memorial Coliseum early Thursday morning, authorities said. Firefighters arrived to find smoke and fire coming from the home on Leighton and Vermont avenues around 12:45 a.m. The home serves as a boarding home and mental health care facility. Multiple patients scrambled to leave the house and told rescue crews that people remained inside. Rescue crews pulled a person in grave condition from the home and located a second victim near the back door. The two victims were rushed to the hospital, where one succumbed to their injuries later in the morning. The two victims were a caregiver in her 50s and her brother in his 60s, according to the owner of the home. The brother died in the fire, while his sister continues to fight for her life, officials confirmed.
KTTV-TV MyFox 11 Los Angeles

10 people survive plane crash at Oroville Airport; wildfire ignited in brush

A plane crash at the Oroville Airport ignited a wildfire near the runways. The crash, reported around 11:30 a.m. caused a fire which the Oroville Fire Department and Cal Fire-Butte County are fighting. By the time Oroville firefighters got to the crash at the north end of the runway, the plane was completely engulfed in flames, said Oroville Public Safety Director Joe Deal. The 10 people inside — eight passengers and two pilots — all made it out of the downed plane without any injuries, Deal said. Once firefighters accounted for everyone who had been in the plane, they turned their attention to fighting the wildfire. Cal Fire-Butte County Public Information Officer Rick Carhart said the grass fire was quickly put out and the plane itself was doused with water. The jet plane had just been refueled with 480 pounds of fuel, Deal said. The CHP closed a portion of Highway 162 near the airport because there was a fear that spilled fuel could ignite.
Oroville Mercury-Register

Los Angeles Mayor: Police need authority to clear encampments on high-fire risk days

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a proposed ordinance that could give law enforcement the authority to order homeless people out of encampments located in brush areas on high-risk fire days. "Once the ordinance is adopted law enforcement will be able to give direct notice to individuals living in fire danger zones that they must move,'' Garcetti said. "That means that on these hot red flag days that come up during the summertime and increasingly year-round, we can now take a major step toward reducing the likelihood of encampment fires like we saw in 2017 with the Skirball Fire and last month in the Sepulveda Basin.'' The mayor made the announcement at a Van Nuys news conference designed to highlight the Los Angeles Fire Department's newest aerial firefighting assets -- a fifth AW139 helicopter that can drop up to 480 gallons of water, and an Erickson "Aircrane'' the city leases annually during the fire season.
KTTV-TV MyFox 11 Los Angeles

Stockton Fire Marshal shuts down six pallet businesses over growing fire concerns

One after another, pallet fires have lit up the skies of Stockton. Now, the city is taking action, posting cease-and-desist operations notices on six pallet businesses. "[The companies] will not be allowed to continue all operations until all fire, building and municipal code violations have been addressed," said Richard Edwards, Stockton Fire Marshal. Specifically, the city says the non-compliant businesses lack fire access roads. The city also requires them to store pallets within 150 feet of a water supply and develop a site plan that identifies pallet storage areas. That water supply may be a private hydrant on the property or a street hydrant. Edwards said all of Stockton's 15 pallet yards were inspected. The non-compliant yards were approached in January with a follow-up letter in June. "So they're not allowed to intake any more pallets," Edwards said. "They're not allowed to build. They're not allowed to repair new pallets."
ABC News 10 Sacramento

Contra Costa County Fire Protection District responds to grand jury report on fire inspections

A Contra Costa County civil grand jury found that the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District had fallen behind in its mandatory fire inspections of schools and multifamily residences in 2018 and presented the district eight findings and six recommendations, mostly regarding the number of personnel needed to conduct more than 7,600 mandated annual inspections, incomplete record keeping and an obsolete records management system. ConFire acknowledged the report with a formal response in early August, though the district did not agree with all of the 14 points posited by the grand jury. ConFire has implemented or agreed to implement grand jury recommendations to evaluate the size of the fire prevention bureau, produce a quarterly report on the status of compliance with state mandated inspections and to replace its records management system to allow code officials to enter inspection data directly into a tablet device in the field, rather than manually when the inspectors arrive back at the office.
Lamorinda Weekly

Standoff turns into fire at motel in west central Fresno

Alarms rang out as a standoff with police quickly turned into a fire at a West Central Fresno motel. More than half a dozen officers responded to the Ambassador Inn and Suites moments after receiving a shocking disturbance call about a tenant. "He was taking whatever he could and throwing it out of the room. When security tried to get him to stop, that's when he swung the pipe at security," said Lt. Mark Hudson of the Fresno Police. Despite a negotiator on site, the suspect, 38-year-old Esteban Hernandez continued to throw furniture from the second-story window. Neighbors were evacuated while several others watched the chaos. As officers inched closer to the suspect, smoke started billowing from inside the room. "At some point, he set the room on fire," Hudson said. The standoff quickly turned into a rescue as Fresno firefighters rushed to control the fire and smoke. Action News cameras caught the moment the suspect was escaping through the broken window, and was taken into custody.
KFSN-TV ABC 30 Frenso/Visalia

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