California News

Monday, March 18, 2019

Crews Clean up South Los Angeles Neighborhood Where Tanker Exploded and Left 2 Injured

VIDEO: The Environmental Protection Agency worked Monday to clean up the mess left behind by the 9,000-gallon tanker that leaked gasoline and triggered an explosion in South Los Angeles over the weekend. "Up until this point we still had a lot of fuel out in the open, so a lot of that has been mitigated," EPA's Robert Wise said early Monday morning. The two-story home damaged in the blast is still red-tagged, the crew working on the property told KTLA, and a woman who suffered burned injuries remains at the hospital. Nearly 24 hours after the incident, some 30 people are still displaced. The explosion shook South L.A.'s Florence neighborhood while firefighters were assessing a report of a natural gas smell, according to the L.A. Fire Department. It turned out a large tanker had been leaking gasoline, which went into a storm drain and ignited, Capt. Cory Weireter told KTLA on Sunday. Flames came out of the manhole covers and left one person seriously hurt and another with minor injuries.
KTLA-TV WB 5 Los Angeles

Los Angeles Fire Department: Body Found in Fire-Damaged Room of Del Rey Home Prompts Arson Investigation

Arson investigators are headed to the scene of a house fire in Del Rey after a body was found inside the damaged residence on Monday morning, authorities said. The structure fire was reported in the 11900 block of Weir Street just before 9:45 a.m., according to a Los Angeles Fire Department alert. Responding firefighters entered the home where they found the deceased individual in a fire-damaged room, the alert stated. There was smoke in the house when they made entry, but crews found no active flames. Authorities have not determined the victim’s name, age or gender. A cause of death was not immediately known. It is also unknown what sparked the blaze, which is being investigated by arson investigators as well as the Los Angeles Police Department. No further information has been released.
KTLA-TV WB 5 Los Angeles

Firefighters Rescue Two People Who Were Swept Down Los Angeles River Channel

VIDEO: A 21-year-old man and 18-year-old woman were rescued early Monday from fast-moving water in the Pacoima Wash, a tributary of the Los Angeles River, authorities said. The two entered the wash near Foothill Boulevard and were swept miles down the wash at about 20 mph, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Nicholas Prange said. One of them called 911 at about 12:30 a.m. and spoke with dispatchers while moving through the wash, Prange said. The pair grabbed a wall before passing under Telfair Avenue and remained there until firefighters arrived, he said. "LAFD quickly deployed their aerial ladder with a firefighter dangling from a harness off of the end of the ladder," Prange said. "Both patients were extricated from the river within 15 minutes of resources getting to the scene."
KNBC-TV NBC 4 Los Angeles

Fire erupts at Chula Vista mobile home park

PHOTO: A fire at a Chula Vista mobile home park destroyed two homes Monday morning, forcing several people to be evacuated. The fire was reported at around 6:30 a.m. at a mobile home park at 288 Broadway, officials said. The blaze erupted for unknown reasons at one mobile home and quickly spread to a nearby home and some trees. Several people were evacuated due to the fire, but no injuries were immediately reported. Firefighters were able to put the fire out before it spread further. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
KGTV-TV ABC 10 San Diego

Menlo Park firefighters rescue kitten trapped in drainage pipe

Firefighters can still be counted on to rescue a cat in distress, at least in one San Mateo County town. It wasn't a cat stuck in a tree but a black kitten trapped in a water drainage pipe that summoned Menlo Park Fire Protection District firefighters to Selby Lane in Atherton around 4:30 p.m. Friday. A resident called the fire station to report that she had heard a kitten crying all morning and discovered that it had slipped down the drainage pipe, according to a fire district news release. Firefighters used cellphone photos and video to locate the kitten trapped at least 14 feet below a concrete walking deck in a pipe that was only 4 inches in diameter. At 5:16 p.m., San Mateo County Animal Control was called to the home to take over the rescue operation, but when its efforts failed, the firefighters were summoned back.
KTVU-TV Oakland, San Francisco, Bay Area

Portion of I-15 Dedicated to Fallen Escondido Firefighter

A portion of Interstate 15 has officially been named after a local firefighter killed after battling one of the largest fires in state history. Cory Iverson was part of a strike team with Cal Fire San Diego on the front lines of the Thomas Fire in Fillmore, California, that ultimately covered nearly 282,000 acres. On Dec. 14, 2017, Cory Iverson died of smoke inhalation and thermal injuries, according to the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Officer. Now, the 32-year-old Escondido man has been given a new honor for his sacrifice – the CalFire Firefighter Cory Iverson Memorial Highway. His memorial highway spans roughly four and a half miles from I-78 to Via Rancho Parkway. "Cory did fulfill his destiny, and he is not finished. He has made a name for himself bigger than he ever dreamed of and is changing lives around the world because of the man he was," Ashley Iverson, Cory Iverson’s wife, said at the road’s dedication ceremony Saturday.
KCAL-TV Los Angeles

Friday, March 15, 2019

Bethel Island Homes Destroyed By Fire; Were Budget Cuts To Blame?

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

Environmental group questions use of bulldozers to fight California wildfires

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

At Least 18 Animals Die in San Bernardino County Reptile Museum Fire

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

Six Rivers fire crew trains at Samoa Drag strip in Eureka

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.
Eureka Times-Standard

2 ex-Orange County Fire Authority employees say they were wrongly dismissed following criticism of the agency

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

Serial arsonist accused of setting 4 laundry units on fire in Central Fresno

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

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