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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

TCU: Trees come down at new Cal Fire Station site

Trees come down at Cal Fire site
Construction crews began work clearing several trees for the construction of a new Altaville Cal Fire station. Despite much community protest over cutting down the trees, particularly one sequoia that was sitting where a new parking area is planned, trees were taken out Monday in one of the first steps in building a new station.

According to Cal Fire Division Chief Steven Hollett, the crews are in the process of removing about 40 trees as part of a 16-month project to build a new Cal Fire facility.

“I appreciate the public’s concerns and I imagine they’re not totally happy (about the tree removal), but I think in the long run they’ll be pretty happy with what they get out of it.”
Hollett said the current station was built around the late 1940s and is outdated. From reports he’s read, the sequoia was planted in the mid-1950s.

He said wood from the sequoia will be used to craft a dining room table for the new station, and possibly signs, benches and other materials.

“For many to leave it standing would be best, but this is kind of our (way) ... to keep the tree kind of living in that sense,” Hollett said.

The sequoia was out of the ground and off the site by Monday afternoon.
Source article: calaverasenterprise.com Link

Obituary: PILOT: BOB "SNAPPER" FINER


Robert Meyer Finer (1953 - 2010)

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ROBERT MEYER FINER AKA: BOB "SNAPPER" FINER

Bob was called home by his loving heavenly father on the 17th of November 2010. Bob had a zest for life, meeting each new day with excitement and looking for the next opportunity that may come around the corner. Bob was born in Mt. Carroll, Illinois on the 4th of March 1953. He resided there until he graduated from High School in 1971. After leaving Mt. Carroll he attended Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin graduating in 1975 with a B.A. in history. Bob believed strongly in the bible verse Matthew 17:20 "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'move from here to there' and it will. Nothing will be impossible for you." He lived his life in this manner through and through. In 1972 Bob was accepted into the Platoon Leader's Class (PLC)/U.S. Marine Corps (U.S.M.C) and was PLC Honor-man in 1973 and 1974. He earned his private pilot's license in the U.S.M.C flight indoctrination program in 1975 and graduated as an Honor Graduate from the U.S.M.C officer basic school. After graduating officer basic school Bob was competitively chosen to participate in the Army Ranger School and was an Honor Graduate there as well. From 1976-79 Bob commanded infantry troops in the Marine Corps. In 1979 he was accepted into flight school and flew until he retired in 1995. Bob held a variety of leadership positions during twenty years of active duty in the Marines, serving both as an infantry officer and naval aviator flying the A-4M, A-4E, TA-4J/F, OV-10A and OV-10D before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. Bob was a Marine to the core; he spent 20 years commanding men on the ground as well as in the air. While he was an inspiration to his men, he received probably more inspiration from them, which led him to be an outstanding officer and leader. Upon retiring from the Corps Bob explored several avenues such as working as a team building coach for Team Trek and teaching High School history before landing back into the flying world, where his true passion resided. Bob flew the OV-10 in South America before landing a job flying the S-2 Grumman aerial tanker during fire season for DynCorp/CalFire.

Bob loved flying. It was his passion and his avocation for the past 35 years. He was a stick and rudder man who was a master at energy management. When he flew he had the grace of an eagle soaring in the sky. Bob believed that without continual growth and progress, such works as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. When not flying fire Bob spent much of his time expanding Finer Flying, his personal flying business. This included performing awesome aerial exhibits flying Dena Rae, his Pitts stunt bi-plane, in a variety of air shows and conducting specialized training and flight operations.

When not flying, Bob loved life to the fullest. He enjoyed skiing, motorcycle riding, working out, swimming, scuba diving, hiking, and the great outdoors. He had four loves in his life: Jesus Christ our Savior, his wife Dena, his children Danny, Jonathan, Shawna, and Chasity, and flying the great Blue Skies above. He will be deeply missed by them all!

If Bob had to summarize his life, he would say he had a great ride. He is flying free in the heavenly kingdom and is blessed to be in the presence of God almighty and the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Isaiah 40:31 "Those who hope in the lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Bob is survived by his wife, Dena R. Finer; Children, Danny M. Finer (son), Jonathan R. Finer (son), Shawna R. Tapp (stepdaughter), and Chasity G. Tapp (stepdaughter). And a sister, Suellen Myers.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Melvin Finer and Eva Mae Finer.

Memorial service will be held at Calvary Chapel, 123 Auto Drive, Boise, ID on Thursday, December 2, 2010, at 12:30 p.m. Burial will follow at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery at 3:00 p.m. will full military honors by the United States Marines. Local arrangements are by Alden-Waggoner Funeral Chapel, Boise, Idaho.
Published in Chico Enterprise-Record on November 28, 2010

Sonoma County: Man posing as fire inspector, accomplice arrested in Petaluma burglary

A Sonoma man posing as a fire inspector raised suspicions Sunday in a Petaluma restaurant, leading to the man's arrest as a suspected burglar, Petaluma police reported.

Wearing a Cal Fire baseball cap, the man went into Tres Hombres restaurant on Petaluma Boulevard South at about 5:10 p.m. Sunday, Sgt. Andrew Urton reported.

He'd entered an employee-only area, grabbed a worker's purse and was concealing it when an employee stopped him, Urton said.

The man told the employee he was a fire inspector conducting a routine sprinkler inspection.

But the suspicious employee asked for identification. The man couldn't produce any and left the restaurant, followed by employees. On the way to an awaiting car he dropped the purse, Urton said.

Employees called police with a car description and officers spotted the car a few blocks away in a parking lot.

The suspected burglar wasn't in the car. A citizen in the area pointed out the man hiding between parked cars and officers arrested Frank Sullivan, 45, of Sonoma on suspicion of burglary, grand theft and possession of stolen property.

Officers also arrested Sullivan's driver, Carrie Leenert, 43, of Santa Rosa on suspicion of burglary, being an accessory and possessing stolen property.

In her purse and in the car officers found items recently reported as stolen from Marin and Sacramento counties.

One of the thefts was at a Marin County shopping mall. In that case, workers reported a man posing as a mall employee who said he was checking the fire sprinkler system. Items disappeared from an employees' area at the time of the man's appearance.

The suspect in that case matched a description of Sullivan, Urton said.

Officers took the pair to Sonoma County Jail. Both were being held in lieu of $10,000 bail.


Source article by: By RANDI ROSSMANN THE PRESS DEMOCRAT Link

NEU: False Time Sheet Investigation involves more than one firefighter

Cal Fire Captain Under Investigation
Source: Woman May Have Falsified Time Sheets

Fire captain Karrie Paletta, interview with KCRA
Credit: Screenshot from KCRA video

ROSEVILLE, Calif. -- A California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection captain is under investigation on allegations of falsifying time sheets and saying she worked when she didn't, according to a source within Cal Fire.
At least one other firefighter is also being investigated, according to that source.
Fire captain Karrie Paletta, who worked at a fire station adjacent to Thunder Valley Casino, is being investigated for claiming more than $10,000 in pay that was not worked over the past year, according to a Cal Fire source.
Public records show that Fire captain Karrie Paletta, made more than $92,000 in 2009 -- that's $17,000 more than the year before."Because this is an ongoing personnel issue, I cannot comment about details of that," Cal Fire Chief Brad Harris said.
When contacted by KCRA 3, Paletta said she was "blown away" by news that she was under investigation."No, not under investigation," Paletta told KCRA 3.
Another firefighter is being investigated on allegations of claiming to be working while on vacation, according to a Cal Fire source. However, no other details of that investigation were confirmed.

Original Source article: KCRA Link

New Ben Lomond Fire District Chief


New Calif. Chief Follows in Her Father's Footsteps


Kimberly White - Santa Cruz Sentinel, Calif. 
Nov. 25--SANTA CRUZ -- Stacie Brownlee never intended to follow in her dad's footsteps as a firefighter, but when he died, she was saddened not only by his loss, but also the possibility of losing an entire family.
"I just didn't want to see the fire department out of my life," recalled Brownlee, 44, who last week was appointed as the newest fire chief at the Ben Lomond Fire District. "I thought it was going to be hard because all my girlfriends' dads were fire chiefs and I thought, How am I going to get through this whole thing, seeing them go to firemen's musters and stuff like that and not be a part of it anymore?'"
Her father, Michael Smith -- who served as chief of the Ben Lomond Fire District from 1974 until his death in 1984 -- passed away on Brownlee's 18th birthday, around the time when she was deciding on a career path.
So she took the required fire-related courses at Cabrillo College and joined the district in 1984, becoming the first female firefighter in the entire San Lorenzo Valley.
"It was tough. They didn't like girls in their little men's club," she remembered, adding that her uncles -- who also worked as firefighters -- didn't even want her there. But "once I proved I could do the job, they left me alone. They knew that they didn't have a problem."
She moved up the ranks to captain and battalion chief before her appointment as chief. She'd served since May as interim chief, following the April 30 retirement of the previous fire
chief, John Charcho.
Brownlee was initially undecided whether to accept the position when board members first approached her about the possibility.
Fire chiefs perform largely administrative duties, and part of their job requires them to ensure the members of the crew -- all but one of the 35 firefighters under her charge are volunteers -- stay current on their training and certifications.
"My favorite position is being a fire captain and being on line and being with the guys, and this is a totally different position," she explained, but added that she decided to accept the position because "we were nervous that if we had somebody else come in from out of the area that didn't know the small town, they would try to run it differently."
No changes are on tap at the district, which pays for its volunteers' firefighting educations. Brownlee wants to keep it a small department where volunteers can continue to come to receive training, and hopefully eventually land full-time positions with larger departments.
"When other paid departments pick them up, like San Jose, it's a win-win situation," she added. "They've got education, they've got classes, they've got experience. They're trained firefighters."

Monday, November 29, 2010

CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department Hazardous fire areas re-opened

Riverside County Fire Department News Release
Date: 11/29/2010 Release Time: 8:34 AM


Effective Monday, November 29, 2010, CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Chief John R. Hawkins has rescinded the closure restricting public access of the seven hazardous fire areas cited under Riverside County Ordinance 787.4. The following areas will be re-opened to the public:
  • Avery Canyon (Gibbel Road east of State Street in Hemet)
  • North Mountain and Indian Canyon (San Jacinto area)
  • Whitewater Canyon (east of Cabazon and north of Palm Springs)
  • Nuevo/Lakeview (east of Menifee Road and San Jacinto Avenue)
  • Minto (Sage)
  • Reinhardt Canyon (north of Hwy 74 and California Avenue in Hemet)
  • Ramona Bowl and Bautista Canyon (southeast Hemet)

In addition to re-opening these hazardous fire areas, Chief Hawkins has also terminated the Proclamation suspending burning permits and other uses of open fire in local and state responsibility lands in Riverside County.
Contact: Mike Smith - Fire Captain 951-940-6985

CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department Transitions to Winter Staffing

November 29, 2010, CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department will transition to Winter-Preparedness staffing.

Augmented air and ground firefighting resources during Summer-Preparedness staffing, or peak fire season, will transition to minimum staffing levels during the winter months.

CAL FIRE stations within the Riverside County Fire Department service area where two engines are staffed during Summer Preparedness will be reduced to one engine. These stations include:
  • Station 1 -Perris
  • Station 10 -Lake Elsinore
  • Station 20 -Beaumont
  • Station 28 -Sage
  • Station 29 -Anza

Fixed-wing aircraft at CAL FIRE Ryan Air Attack Base in Hemet will be off-contract on November 30, 2010, however, one water-dropping helicopter and one bulldozer will be covered 24/7.

CAL FIRE State station and aircraft staffing levels are typically augmented each summer. Careful and constant evaluation of predicted weather, fuel moisture and potential fire conditions dictates the annual transition from summer to winter preparedness staffing.

CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department would like to stress the importance of hardening your home in preparation of the 2011 and future fire seasons.

SBFD: San Bernardino County Fire Command SUV destroyed 11-24 #Snark added

A battalion chief’s fire truck containing a command module was destroyed Sunday on the former Blue Skies golf course. (Fire Department photo)
YUCCA VALLEY — A San Bernardino County Fire truck was destroyed Sunday at the former Blue Skies golf course when an uprooted tree fell on it.

Firefighters were called to the former golf course to extinguish a 1-quarter-acre grass fire caused by a power line knocked over in Sunday’s high winds.

The fire did not damage any structures.

At 12:17 p.m., Battalion Chief Dave Benfield was observing and directing activities as the incident commander when a cottonwood tree estimated at 100 feet tall came crashing onto the command vehicle.
Estimated damage to the 2006 Ford F-350 is about $70,000 because it contained communication and firefighting apparatus that was damaged or destroyed. (Excessive? Why not shop around?...)

After cutting some of the tree limbs with a chain saw to free the truck, firefighters called for a town of Yucca Valley public works tractor loader to lift the tree trunk off the back of the truck.

Gary Benedict, division chief, arrived onscene after the incident commander’s truck was reported destroyed.

“There was so much pressure on the truck that the tires imbedded in ground,” Benedict said. “When we moved the tree we were able to drive the truck away. I’m not trying to sell Fords, but that one held up well. I never believed it would have held up to an impact like that.” (Ford Co. did you catch that? sounds like he has a #Klout account?)

Benfield wrote in his report detailing the demise of his truck, “I moved my vehicle to the perfect spot to get a good vantage point to watch the troops extinguish the fire. (Apparently not?)

“After the fire was knocked down I exited my vehicle to get a pole number for Edison. When I arrived at the pole approximately 100 yards away I heard the sound of a tree falling. The photos tell the rest of the story.

“It was surprising that the tree fell. The winds were maybe 25 to 30 mph and the tree was alive. The tree was approximately 40 inches in diameter. (30mph Hour winds, rain saturated ground? I'm surprised your surprised?)

“If the fire had been larger I would have been working out of the command module in the rear of the vehicle. If this had been the case I would not be alive.”(Or if I parked elsewhere...)

Fellow Battalion Chief Dan Munsey jokingly observed that Benfield worked as a firefighter in Lake Arrowhead for several years. Munsey stated with obvious hyperbole, “He comes here and his truck gets hit by the only tree in town.”(Loving it!)

Benfield wrapped up his report with the sage observation, “I’m not sure if there is a safety message we can all learn from here, but you can bet I will never look at trees the same way again.” (Lesson learned: Check area for Hazard tree indications such as cracked ground, lifted pavement, Do not park city equipment under trees?)
Source article: Hi-Desert News - Link with snarky editorial comment added by California Fire News

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Morning: CBS - Volunteer firefighters / Wildland Firefighters Memorial

A segment on Firefighting will be on CBS Sunday TOMORROW Morning. CBS Sunday Morning TV Show  story on Firefighting scheduled to air tomorrow morning (Sunday, November 28, 2010) at 0900 hours ET.

Included is material shot at the 2010 National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend. Kelly Walesh and her daughter Lexus, the survivors of Steven J. 'Peanut' Koeser of Wisconsin (Killed in the Line of Duty when a burning dumpster exploded), were interviewed and are expected to be featured in the segment. Check it out tomorrow morning.
Thanks for the Heads up from the Secret List

Saturday, November 27, 2010

CA-LAC: Floradale IC - 3 alarm fire South El Monte warehouse

#LACoFD - Clothing Factory Destroyed By Blaze In South El Monte -
Update: *Floradale IC* Reporting Knockdown @ 2240 Hours. Still some smoldering debris. Preparing for massive overhaul...
EL MONTE (AP) — A large fire has destroyed a clothing factory in South El Monte.
The fire was being fed by "heavy fuel" in the form of huge stacks of sweatshirts, which have a long burn time and pose the risk of reigniting even after containment, said fire Capt. Frank Reynoso.
Location: Large warehouse, in the 1800 block of Floridale Avenue.
LAFD Master Streams working Factory Fire
(Credit: CBS)

Floradale fire  on Twitpic
(Credit: CBS)
Los Angeles County Fire dispatch supervisor Andre Gougis said the fire was reported at 7:45 p.m. Friday. When firefighters arrived the garment distribution warehouse was engulfed in flames.



Injuries: no injuries were reported.

Cause: Under investigation.


Resource list: Approx 200 Firefighters, 15 Eng, 6 Trucks, 2 PM Squads, 1 EST, 1 HM, 1 USAR, 1 Mobile air/light, 2 Safety, 6 BC, 2 AC, 2 DC, 1 CD, 1 FC #LACoFD Live  
Radio Feed: of So El Monte 2nd Alarm:  

Friday, November 26, 2010

TFD: Tracy Fire Department welcomes new Fire Chief

The city of Tracy has a new fire chief.

Add caption
The city manager’s office announced Wednesday, Nov. 24, that Alford Nero will be the new chief of the Tracy Fire Department as of Jan. 1, 2011.

Nero, who for the past 11 years has served as fire chief in Brea, a municipality of 40,000 in Orange County, was one of several well qualified candidates for the position, according to City Councilman Mike Maciel.

“As was the case with a number of the other candidates, they were impressive,” he said. “It was a strong field of candidates.”

That field included at least two people from inside the Tracy department.

While the City Council was appraised of the hiring process, Maciel explained, the ultimate authority to hire the new chief lies with City Manager Leon Churchill.

No one was available in the city manager’s office to answer Press inquiries as of 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, shortly after the announcement was made.

However, Churchill said in a statement that he is “very pleased” to hire Nero, who began his firefighting career with the Oakland Fire Department 39 years ago.

“He brings to our city a wealth of knowledge and experience and a reputation as a highly effective and respected fire service executive,” Churchill said.

Nero has been an assistant fire chief in Oakland and served as chief in Richmond in addition to his stint in Brea.

“I am very pleased to be able to return to Northern California and lead a highly respected fire department in such a great community,” Nero said as part of the city’s media release.

Nero replaces Chris Bosch, who was fired March 23, several days after he filed a complaint with the city alleging abusive treatment by city officials.

Bosch and his attorney have sought severance pay from the city, and the matter — listed as "pending litigation" — went before the council in a closed session during the Nov. 16 City Council meeting.

The city attorney could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Read more: Tracy Press - Link

City of Tracy: EMS Fee shelved for now, Studying Fee for Non-Residents

EMS fee kicked aside
At its most recent meeting, the Tracy City Council decided to shelve a fee that would have been charged to people who received “advanced life support” help from Tracy Fire Department paramedics.

By a 5-0 vote, the council completely rescinded the controversial measure that would have charged Tracy residents $300 and nonresidents $400 for such life-support service.

Councilman Mike Maciel said that the passage of Measure E, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by voters Nov. 2, made the paramedic fee unnecessary.

“I always thought that if we came up with something better, we could step away from this altogether, and I think in Measure E the voters gave us something better,” said Maciel, who supported the EMS fee when it was initially discussed and approved.

Councilman Steve Abercrombie quickly moved to strike the fee altogether, but at the suggestion of Councilwoman Suzanne Tucker, the council also unanimously directed staff to create proposals that would charge an EMS fee for nonresidents only.

“My biggest problem was having the fee for the current taxpayers, the residents of Tracy, the ones who are paying into the system,” Tucker explained.


Read more: Tracy Press Link

San Diego County home bomb-making factory too dangerous

Officials pull out of CA bomb factory, cite danger

ESCONDIDO, Calif.—Explosives experts have pulled out of a San Diego County home described as a virtual bomb-making factory because it's too dangerous to remove some of the materials discovered inside the rental property earlier this month. Operations at the Escondido home of George Djura Jakubec were suspended on Wednesday until local, state and federal explosives experts can make plans to re-enter the home and remove blasting caps and dangerous chemicals, the county Sheriff's Department said in a statement.
Prosecutors have said the materials found at Jakubec's home in Escondido, about 20 miles north of San Diego, make up the largest amount of certain homemade explosives in one location in U.S. history.
No action is expected until at least next Wednesday but the home remained cordoned off, authorities said.
Jakubec, a 54-year-old unemployed software consultant, pleaded not guilty on Monday to illegally making and possessing explosives and to robbing banks. Investigators suspect him of committing two holdups in San Diego County over the summer. He remained jailed Friday on $5.1 million bail.
Explosives were discovered in his rented home after a gardener was injured earlier this month in a blast that occurred when he stepped on explosive powder in the backyard, authorities said. Mario Garcia, 49, suffered eye, chest and arm injuries and was recovering.
Investigators said they found 13 unfinished shrapnel grenades and at least nine pounds of dangerous materials in and around the home. Authorities say it is unclear what Jakubec may have planned to do with the materials.
The same types of chemicals have been used by suicide bombers and insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. They included Pentaerythritol tetranitrate, or PETN, which was used in the 2001 airliner shoe-bombing attempt as well as in last month's airplane cargo bombs, prosecutors said.
The other chemicals were highly unstable Hexamethylene triperoxide diamine, or HMTD, and Erythritol tetranitrate, or ETN, authorities said.
Investigators said they also found gallons of hydrochloric, nitric and sulfuric acid and 50 pounds of the toxic chemical hexamine from a storage area outside the main home.
On Wednesday, local and federal bomb experts entered the cluttered home again and seized items related to bomb-making and armed robbery, the Sheriff's Department statement said. It did not identify the items seized.
Source article: mercurynews.com Link

Thursday, November 25, 2010

CAL FIRE: Holiday & Winter Fire Safety Tips

Holidays are a time for celebration, decorations, cozy fires in the fireplace, and extra goodies baking in the oven, all of which bring additional risks. Each year during the holiday and winter season fires injure thousands of people in the U.S. and cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. By following these holiday/winter safety tips you can help keep your family and home firesafe.
Candles:
Candles are beautiful, popular, and dangerous. Do not leave burning candles unattended, or place them near flammable materials. Make sure they are in a secure place where children and pets won’t knock them over. Put candles in a non-tip candleholder before you light them. Make sure all candles are extinguished before you leave the home or office, and before going to bed. The most common area of origin for candle fires is the bedroom, then living rooms, bathrooms and the kitchen.
Lights:
Make sure that all indoor and outdoor holiday lights bear the mark of an independent testing laboratory. Throw away any set with cracked lights, frayed cords, or loose or damaged sockets. Don’t overload electrical outlets or run extension cords under carpets, across doorways, or near heaters. Be sure extension cords aren’t pinched behind or under furniture, and unplug all decorative lights before leaving your home or going to bed.
Never run extension cords across lawns, driveways, or traffic areas. Power for all outdoor lighting should be supplied by permanent weatherproof wiring installed by a professional electrician.

Kitchen:
During the holidays much time is spent cooking, so it’s critical to take precautions in the kitchen. Be sure to keep pot handles and electrical appliance cords out of the reach of children. Put a lid on a pot or pan to extinguish a food or grease fire - never use water, and in the event of an oven fire, turn off the heat and close the oven door. Avoid wearing loose or baggy clothing, and alway use potholders while working in the kitchen.
    Deep Frying A Turkey Deep-frying a turkey uses oil over an open flame, thus it presents some hazards. The operation must be considered hazardous from the time the flame is lit to the time the turkey is removed and the oil is cooled.
  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and other material that can burn. Never use on wooden decks or in garages.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended.
  • Never place a frozen turkey in the fryer. Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful of marinades before placing it in the pot.
  • Lower and remove the turkey carefully and slowly to avoid oil splashing or spillage.
  • Always measure the amount of oil needed and never overfill the pot. Place the turkey in the empty pot and fill with water to just cover the turkey.
    Remove the turkey and use a ruler to measure the depth of the water– this is the amount of oil needed.
  • Keep children and pets away from the fryer during and after operation.
  • Ensure a fire extinguisher rated for flammable liquids is readily available.
  • Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil during operation and keep the temperature at 350 °F (175 °C). Reduce the heat immediately if the oil begins to smoke.
  • Use heavy gloves or well insulated potholders when touching pot or lid handles.
Home Heating:
Home fires often occur during the cold winter due to dangerous heating equipment or unsafe practices. Only use heating equipment that has the label of a recognized testing labratory and keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heat sources. Never use a gas or kerosene heater inside your home or in a closed garage and never attempt to heat a structure with a device that was designed for outdoor use, such as a camp stove. Improper use of any heating equipment can lead to fire or dangerous levels of hazardous fumes.
Fireplaces:
Before using your fireplace, have your chimney inspected by a professional for proper installation, cracks, blockages (bird nests), leaks, or creosote build up. Creosote is a chemical substance that forms when wood burns, accumulates in chimneys and can cause a chimney fire if not removed. Be sure to open the flue for adequate ventilation when using the fireplace. Always use a fire screen, and burn only material appropriate for fireplaces. Never burn trash or paper in a fireplace. Burning paper can float up your chimney and onto your roof or onto your neighbors’ roof and can cause a fire. Remove ashes from the fireplace in a metal container and store them somewhere outside your home, and have a professional inspect and clean your fireplace, chimney or stovepipe allnually.
Be Prepared!
Test all smoke detectors in the house to make sure that they are in proper working order, and be sure to install fresh batteries every six months. Be sure that all family members know how to call the fire department, and make an escape plan so that everyone knows what to do in the event of an emergency.

Source: CAL FIRE Link

LAFD: Major Emergency Structure Fire South Los Angeles

Major Emergency Structure Fire - 158 E 58th St, South Los Angeles
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
TIME: 5:41 PM
INCIDENT #: 0880

On Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 5:41 PM, 18 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 12 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 2 Arson Units, 2 Urban Search and Rescue Units, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 3 EMS Battalion Captains, 5 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, 1 Emergency Air, 1 Emergency Lighting, 1 Rehab Air Tender, 1 Bulldozer Team, and 1 Volunteer Service Utility under the direction of Assistant Chief Daryl Arbuthnott responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at 158 East 58th Street in South Los Angeles.

Firefighters arrived on scene in less than four minutes to find a large 1-story commercial building well involved in fire. Additional assistance was quickly requested as firefighters aggressively made their way inside the inferno, arming themselves with large 2 1/2" hose lines. The 4,880 square-foot building ventilated itself as 20' high flames roared through the roof. Within ten minutes the Incident Commander ordered all firefighters to get out of the 53 year-old structure and fight defensively due to the integrity of the building being compromised. Shortly thereafter the roof collapsed. Additional life threatening hazards endangered firefighters as transformers from power lines exploded, electrical wires sagged toward the ground, and the loading dock filled with water.
 
Just under 150 firefighters surrounded the building, pouring copious amounts of water into it while protecting nearby businesses. The devastating blaze was confined predominately within the business of origin.  
One adult male firefighter suffered possible heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was admitted for observation, but remained in good condition. 
Two civilians expressed minor medical complaints and were evaluated, however did not require transport to a hospital. The cause of the fire is under active investigation and the dollar loss of this furniture manufacturing business is still being tabulated.

Source: Erik Scott - Firefighter/Paramedic-Spokesman
C-Shift Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department
(213) 485-5162
"Serving with Courage, Integrity & Pride"

DHS - Believe it or not: Random searches with X-Rays on America's streets

As an antiterror measure(Hype), the US government has deployed mobile X-ray technology to randomly scan cars and trucks. But the measure is riling privacy proponents.

Patrik Jonsson
The Christian Science Monitor

For many living in a terror-spooked country, it might seem like a great government innovation: Use vans equipped with mobile X-ray units to scan vehicles at major sporting events, or even randomly, for bombs or contraband.
But news that the US is buying custom-made vans packed with something called backscatter X-ray capacity has riled privacy advocates and sparked internet worries about "feds radiating Americans."
"This really trips up the creep factor because it's one of those things that you sort of intrinsically think the government shouldn't be doing," says Vermont-based privacy expert Frederick Lane, author of "American Privacy." "But, legally, the issue is the boundary between the government's legitimate security interest and privacy expectations we enjoy in our cars."
American Science & Engineering, a Billerica, Mass.-company, tells Forbes it's sold more than 500 ZBVs, or Z Backscatter Vans, to US and foreign governments. The Department of Defense has bought the most for war zone use, but US law enforcement has also deployed the vans to search for bombs inside the US, according to Joe Reiss, a company spokesman, as quoted by Forbes.
On Tuesday, a counterterror operation snarled truck traffic on I-20 near Atlanta, where Department of Homeland Security teams used mobile X-ray technology to check the contents of truck trailers. Authorities said the inspections weren't prompted by any specific threat.
The mobile X-ray technology works by bouncing narrow X-ray streams off an object like a car and then analyzing the scatter rate of the returning rays. Operators can then locate less-dense objects that could be bodies or bombs.
Backscatter X-ray is already part of an ongoing national debate about its use in so-called full body scanners being deployed in many US airports. In that case, US officials have said they will not store or share the images and will use masking technology to avoid revealing details of the human body. Nevertheless, information security advocates have filed suit to stop their deployment, citing concerns about privacy.
Security experts say expanding the X-ray technology for use on American streets is a powerful counterterror strategy. They also point out the images do not not offer the kind of detail that would be embarrasing to anyone. Moreover, law enforcement already has broad search-and-seizure powers on public highways, where a search warrant is often not needed for officers to instigate a physical search.
But others worry that radiating Americans without their knowledge is evidence of gradually eroding constitutional protections in the post-9/11 age.
"Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of national security ... you have to be realistic that this is another way in which the government is capturing information they may lose control over," says Mr. Lane. "I just have some real problems with the idea of even beginning a campaign of rolling surveillance of American citizens, which is what this essentially is." 
Article Source: http://www.homeland1.com/eval/articles/886999-Mobile-X-ray-vans-hit-US-streets-riles-privacy-proponents/

DHS WASTE: 18 months of planning and $500,000 to be mocked on National TV

 Stupid Premise, Waste of Money, The Scenario: The "Red Cell" terrorist group taking over the dam in an effort to free one of their fellow marijuana growers from prison.

MARIJUANA GROWERS ARE NOT TERRORIST! IT SHOULD OF BEEN SOME RIGHT-WING TEA PARTY GROUP TAKING OVER,  NOW THAT IS TERROR!

20 agencies coordinate for mock attack on Calif. dam

The dramatic scenario Wednesday was part of a 12-hour terrorist drill at the nation's second-largest dam


By Dylan Darling
The Record Searchlight
MOUNT SHASTA, Calif. — Bomb blasts that blew apart a car and a bus at Shasta Dam were distractions to allow terrorists time to take hostages and control of the nation's second-largest dam.
Luckily for the north state, the dramatic scenario Wednesday was part of a 12-hour terrorist drill at the dam and not real. The goal was to ensure local, state and federal agencies could respond to such a situation and reclaim the dam.

More than 250 people from more than 20 agencies took part, said Sheri Harral, Shasta Dam's spokeswoman for the Bureau of Reclamation. "It's not just a couple of agencies," Harral said. "It's 20."
Led by the Bureau of Reclamation — the federal agency that oversees the massive concrete dam that creates Lake Shasta — medical, fire and police agencies responded to the mock terrorist attack.
During the drill the dam, the roads leading to it and a pair of popular fishing boat ramps were closed.
Part of the Bureau's Critical Infrastructure Crisis Response Exercise Program, which started in 2003, the exercise was the first of its kind at the dam, Harral said.

Similar drills took place at Utah's Flaming Gorge Dam in 2003, Washington's Grand Coulee Dam in 2005 and Hoover Dam on the Nevada-Arizona line in 2008. A similar drill is set for Folsom Dam next.
The federal government identified the six dams as possible terrorist targets.

Harral said the reclamation bureau's role in the drill took 18 months of planning and cost $500,000.
The other agencies that helped in planning and performing the drill covered their own costs.

The Shasta Dam scenario began with the two mock bomb blasts followed by the "Red Cell" terrorist group taking over the dam in an effort to free one of their fellow marijuana growers from prison.
Holding three people hostage, they threatened to flood the Sacramento River by rolling open the drum gates atop the dam. Those gates hold back the nearly full lake.

To show their seriousness in the drill, the Red Cell twice pretended to release water from the dam.
Each of the dam's three drum gates can release up to 66,000 cubic feet per second when the dam is full — 198,000 cubic feet per second in all — while the river's channel can only handle 79,000 cubic feet per second, said Pete Lucero, reclamation bureau spokesman in Sacramento.
Such a terrorist attack could flood parts of Redding and the Central Valley. "The river channel won't be able to handle the water coming out of (Shasta Dam's) gates," he said.

In the end, the Shasta County SWAT team raided the dam and the hypothetical flood didn't happen. "We had them go in, search for and neutralize the Red Cell," Lucero said.
While the drill offered the bureau a chance to see how its security at the dam would respond to such an attack, and the SWAT team the opportunity to test its skills in the field, Lucero said it also provided training for medics, firefighters and bomb squad members.

About 30 students studying to be firefighters played the role of the bus bomb blast victims, with tags telling medics their injuries.

Near the end of the drill late Wednesday afternoon, Lucero said everything went according to plan.
He said it was too early to tell what changes, if any, might be made as a result of problems discovered during the drill.
"That we will know later on tonight and as we debrief it tomorrow," he said.

Article source:  http://www.homeland1.com/domestic-international-terrorism/articles/913249-20-agencies-coordinate-for-mock-attack-on-Calif-dam/

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

USFA: Official LODD announcement: Inmate Wildland Firefighter


Name: Fernando Sanchez
Rank: Inmate Firefighter
Age: 25
Gender: Male
Status: Wildland Part-Time
Years of Service: Pending
Date of Incident: 11/23/2010
Time of Incident: 1420hrs
Date of Death: 11/23/2010
Fire Department: California Department of Corrections
Address: 1515 S Street, Suite 502, South Sacramento, CA 95814
Fire Department Chief: Secretary Matthew Cate
Incident Description: Inmate Firefighter Sanchez was killed when the crew carrying vehicle (CCV) he was riding in was struck head-on by a car that, according to press reports, had crossed over the center of the roadway into oncoming traffic.
Sanchez, along with other inmate firefighters, was reported to have been ejected from the heavily damaged CCV as it rolled at least one time along the shoulder of the roadway coming to a final resting position on its right side.  Four of the other inmates were critically injured.  Eight additional people, including a Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighter who drove the CCV and served as the crew's leader, received minor-to-moderate injuries. The driver of the car that struck the CCV was also killed and pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
Incident Location: Highway 138 near Interstate 5 south of Gorman.
Funeral Arrangements: Pending
Memorial Fund Contact and Address: Pending
Tribute is being paid to Inmate Firefighter Fernando Sanchez at http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/fatalities/

Turkey Day Safety: Cal Fire Public Service Video

Don't become another statistic!



Cal Fire Safety Tips for Holiday Cooking

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

CA-LAC Gorman IC: TC - MCI - DOA - LODD - 1 civilian and 1 firefighter killed

CA-LAC Gorman IC crash site
Investigators at scene of deadly crash involving L.A. County fire crew inmates .
The accident on Highway 138 near Gorman left two people dead and several others critically injured. The force of the crash caused the boxy fire truck to roll about 150 feet and hurled inmates out of the vehicle and unto the pavement.


Investigators Tuesday evening were trying to determine what caused a deadly head-on collision between an SUV and a truck carrying inmates from a Los Angeles County fire crew. The accident on Highway 138 near Gorman left two people dead and several others critically injured. The force of the crash caused the boxy fire truck to roll about 150 feet and hurled inmates out of the vehicle and onto the pavement, officials said.


The driver of the Suburu Forester and one inmate were pronounced dead at the scene, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said

. [Updated, 8:35 p.m.: county fire officials initially reported that the vehicle that hit the fire truck was a minivan.]
"Some of the members were ejected, and some trapped inside," Fire Inspector Matt Levesque said of the inmates.

The accident occurred about 2:20 p.m. as the fire truck travelled eastbound near Quail Lake Road. It was unclear what caused the collision, the California Highway Patrol said.
Late Tuesday, CHP accident investigators were at the scene sifting through the twisted wreckage and interviewing witnesses as they tried to piece together what happened.
Highway 138 remained closed in both directions -- westbound at Highway 14 and eastbound at Interstate 5 and Gorman Post Road.
In all, a dozen inmates were in the vehicle, which was being driven by a county firefighter who serves as the foreman for the hand crew. Officials said it was unclear how many of the 12 prisoners were critically injured.
The group was one of four hand crews assigned to Camp 14 near Santa Clarita, fire officials said.
For years, the county Fire Department has supervised inmates from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation at five camps across the county. The inmates augment hand crews from four additional camps staffed by paid county firefighters who cut fire breaks during brush fires.
The prisoners had been clearing brush from firebreaks or roadsides as part of its daily assignment, officials said.
Article Source: LA Now Link
 Photo: Officials at crash site. Credit: KTLA

LODD: Newhall Area Firefighter, civilian die, 8 injured, when firetruck, car crash on I-5

Firefighter and civilian were killed when Fire apparatus was in involved in head-on traffic collision and the fire apparatus overturned. LAcoFD reporting it as a crew bus from Crew 14-3
Twitter: lacfd: *Gorman IC* BC6 is now Gorman IC. passenger vehicle vs. Crew Bus, 2 DOA's 1 in… Fr
Google Map:
View Larger MapCHP Transcript: http://cad.chp.ca.gov/
Incident: 1794Type:Possible FatalityLocation:LANCASTER JEO OLD RIDGE ROUTE RDThomasBrothers:22 9Ginfo as of:11/23/2010 8:29:28 PM
ADDITIONAL DETAILS
7:24PMTMC COPIES SIGALERT UPDATE
7:23PMMAIT ESTIMATES CLOSURE FOR ANOTHER 2-3 HOURS
6:27PMV1 C4, TRAFFIC STOPPED, POSS 23152 VEH ALMOST HIT V1
6:25PM1B ETA 15-20 MIN TO V1
6:23PMV1 REQ UNIT AT CLOSURE, 138 AT 300 W
6:12PMREGARDING LINE 126 -- NO CLOSURE AT 138 AT 14 -- ORIGINAL REQ FOR CLOSURE MADE AT 1437 HRS ON LINE 27 CLOSE 138 AT AV D JWO 14 -- CAN POSS SET UP SIGNS NB/SB 14 AT AV D
6:04PMPER 89-1B V1 WILL REMAIN AT 300TH ST WEST UNTIL NEWHALL CLEARS TC SCENE
6:04PMCORRECTION - THERE WERE NO CLOSURES IN PLACE FOR LINE 126
6:03PMPER 89-1B NEG ON CLOSURE AT 300TH ST W AT 138 --- ONLY CLOSURE 90TH W AT AV D
6:03PMANY FURTHER QUESTIONS FOR LINE 126 THIS IS PER RP #3
6:02PMPER CITZ - THERE IS A CLOSURE AT 300ST W AT SR138 - TURNING TRAFFIC AROUND - MEDIA STATES WB 138 FRM 14 IS CLOSED - RP JUST TRAVELED THRU THE AREA APPROX 10 AGO - THERE WERE CLOSURES IN PLACE FRM THE 14 FWY TO 230TH ST HEADING WESTBOUND
5:55PM89-1B IS SETTING UP CLOSURE AT 90TH ST W AT AV D - PLZ CONFIRM ETA FOR CALTRANS
5:44PMPER BAKERSFIELD, 102-52 NEEDS UNIT TO RELIEVE AT CEMENT PLANT, HAD SEVERAL VEHS ATTEMPT TO GET THRU, SEVERAL HOUSES IN AREA -- ADVSD 508 - UNIT WILL ADVS
5:37PM78-C AND 79-S1 1097/1098 SCENE
5:34PMCALTRANS CLOSURES FOR 5 ARE TAKEN CARE OF, WILL NEED THE CLOSURE ON 138 AT 90TH W AND DIVERT TRAFFIC NB TOWARDS TEHACHAPI, THNX
5:31PMPER 78-508 WILL BE PICKING UP CLOSURE NB 5 TO EB 138, AND P2 CAN RELEASE CLOSURE QUAIL LAKE ONR TO EB 138 -- HARD CLOSURE IN PLACE AT GORMAN POST RD
5:30PMPER 78-508 IF FT TEJON UNIT MANNING SB 5 TO EB 138 - THEY CAN PICK UP THEIR CLOSURE
5:23PMPER 78-508 - ADVS S3 ASC IF OK TO OPEN UP THE EXIT TO 138, HOWEVER CALTRANS HAS HARD CLOSURE ON 138 DIVERTING TO GORMAN POST RD
5:22PMPER 78-508 AN ADD L CALTRANS IS 1097 NB 5 TO EB 138
5:21PMCALTRANS PLZ ALSO CONFIRM YOU HAVE UNITS RESP FOR THIS HARD CLOSURE NB 5 TO EB 138, SB 5 TO EB 138, QUAIL LAKE ONR TO EB 138, AND GORMAN POST RD AT SR-138 -- THIS WILL BE A LONG TERM CLOSURE FOR MAIT INVESTIGATION
5:19PMPER 89-1B WILL NEED TO START CALTRANS TO RESP TO THE 138 AT 90TH ST W AND DIVERT TRAFFIC NB TOWARDS TEHACHAPI -- CALTRANS PLZ ACKNOWLEDGE REQUEST
5:17PMPER 89-1B SR VOLUNTEERS 1097 AT 300TH ST
5:10PMPER 78-S3 THIS WILL BE CLOSED FOR SEVERAL HOURS
5:10PMPER 78-508 ONE CALTRANS EMPLOYEE 1097 AND DOES NOT THINK ANY OTHER CALTRANS RESP
4:54PMPER LA CORONERS OFFICE ADVS ETA 10 OR LESS - TALKING W/UNIT ON SCENE VIA LL/CELL PHONE
4:53PM78-S3 ADVSD HE MADE CONTACT W/CORONER S OFFICE, THNX
4:53PMCOPY LINE 82 FOR CLOSURE 138/AVE D
4:53PM1021 LA CORONER OFFICE ASC IF UNITS/LACOFD CAN REMOVE THE BODY FROM THE VEH
4:50PMCHP 10-6 -- REQ HARD CLOSURE AT 138 AT AV D
4:47PMCT HAS NO AERIAL EQUIPMENT ALSO CT 97 AT 138/14 FOR CLOSURE AND NO CHP IN AREA
4:46PMPER 78-S3 MADE CONTACT W/CORONER S OFFICE VIA LL
4:44PMSOMAIT 7 ADVSD TO ROLL CALTRANS W/AERIAL BUCKETS FOR PHOTOS -- WILL TRY TO GET CLARIFICATION, NEG RESP ON AIR
4:37PMAIR 51 1098 W/PHOTOS, REQ UNIT AT WHITEMAN AIRPORT ETA 25 - 78-501 WILL BE ENRT
4:27PMAIR 51 IS 1097 FOR AERIAL PHOTOS
4:25PMCT ETA 30
4:19PMPLS SEE LINE #79 AND ETA
4:16PMPER 89-1B CONFIRM CALTRANS ENRT TO SHUT DOWN 138 AT AV D - ALSO ETA IF POSS, THNX
4:13PMIS THERE A COMMAND POST OR SITE SET UP FOR MEDIA?
4:06PMPER 89-3B 138 BLOCKED AT 60TH WEST - NO TRAFFIC SHOULD BE COMING THRU
3:48PM1039 LA CORONER OFFICE CC#2010-7728, CC#2010-7729 DRVNG TIME FROM DWN LA - ADVS PLS DO NOT REMOVE VICT FROM VEH - NO CONTACT NUMBER FOR THE CORONER AT THIS TIME - THANKS
3:46PMAIR51 ENRT - ETA 45
3:18PM1039 LA CORONER OFFICE WILL CALL BACK CC#
3:01PM1039 5-H50
2:58PMPER 89-1B TURNING WB TRAFFIC BACK TO 220TH EXCEPT FOR BIG RIGS
2:54PMPER PC 1097 AT QUAIL LAKE ONR TO EB 138 - WILL NEED CALTRANS HERE FOR HARD CLOSURE ALSO W/CONES AND SIGNS
2:47PM1039 BFD DISPATCH ID 11671 COPY ENTRY 41
2:46PMLINE 40 IS FOR FT TEJON TO SHUT DOWN SB 5 TO 138 AND 138 AT GORMAN POST RD
2:46PM78-508 ADVSD SB 5 TO EB 138 AND 138 AT GORMAN POST RD
2:46PMSIGALERT ISSUED ON BLUE
2:45PMBFD DISPATCH LL ASKING IF THEY SHOULD SHUT DWN SR138 AR GORMAN POST ROAD?
2:43PMTMC COPIES SIGALERT 10-39 MEDIA
2:42PMISSUE SIGALERT UNK DURATION - NB AND SB 5 TO 138 CLOSED ALSO 138 CLOSED AT AV D
2:42PM1039 BFD FOR LINE 26
2:41PMCALTRANS ALSO ACTIVATE SIGNS ON I-5 THAT 138 IS CLOSED
2:41PMBAKERSFIELD PLZ ROLL FT TEJON TO CLOSE SB 5 TO 138
2:37PMPER 89-S4 CLOSE 138 AT AV D JWO 14 - CAN POSS SET UP SIGNS NB/SB 14 AT AV D
2:37PMPLZ ROLL FT TEJON UNIT TO CLOSE SB 5 TO 138
2:36PMPLZ ROLL CALTRANS FOR AN EXTENDED CLOSURE PER S3
2:36PMALL LANES ARE BLOCKED WILL NEED TO SHUT DOWN 138 AT 5
2:33PMDUPE CALLER ADVISED LANCASTER RD AT 300TH ST W - NEWHALL BEAT )
2:30PM1039 PSDSII
2:28PM1039 LACOFD #14 THEY HAVE AIRSHIP ENRT -- RESCUE #5 ENRT
2:26PMDUPE CALLER ADVISE MAJOR INJURIES
2:22PMPER RP FIRE TRK O/TURNED -SEVERAL TIMES -NO BODY GETTING OUT OF VEH OR FIRE TRUCK
2:19PMPER RP FIRE TRK HIT A VEH HEAD ON THEN O/TURNED
2:18PM1039 LACOFD HARTMAN
2:18PMAPPROX 10 MILES JEO 5 --FIRE TRK O/TURNED HIT A VEH HEAD ON
RESPONDING OFFICERS STATUS
2:45PMCHP Unit On Scene
4:35PMCHP Unit On Scene
5:47PMCHP Unit On Scene
5:54PMCHP Unit Enroute
5:54PMCHP Unit On Scene
6:43PMCHP Unit On Scene
6:44PMCHP Unit On Scene
6:53PMCHP Unit On Scene
7:31PMCHP Unit On Scene

NYPD: 986th First Responder Dies From 9/11-Related Illness

A retired NYPD officer has become the 986th Sept. 11 first responder to die from illnesses he incurred while working at Ground Zero.

EAST ISLIP, N.Y. - Robert "Bobby" Ehmer, 47, of East Meadow, Long Island died Sunday after succumbing to a three-year battle with kidney cancer.
Ehmer raced to the site of the World Trade Center and worked there for several weeks as he assisted in the search for survivors and removal of debris.
He along with several thousand first responders were exposed to toxic dust that blanketed the area. He was an officer for the 100th Precinct in Queens and retired in 2005.
He also dedicated his time to his community as a volunteer firefighter and an EMT for St. John's Hospital. In 2007, he was diagnosed with kidney cancer.
His condition worsened over the last three years as the cancer spread throughout his body. Ehmer was single and did not have any children.
Ehmer's family will hold a wake for him on Tuesday and Wednesday. His funeral is scheduled for Friday at 10 a.m. at Chapel Funeral Home in East Islip.
On Friday, more than 10,000 Sept. 11 first responders and New York City reached a settlement worth at least $625 million over the city's failure to provide protective equipment to the responders, which allowed deadly soot enter their lungs and make them sick.
Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service Link

Newport Beach: Aircraft down in water w/ 3 dead - Nov 21

3 men killed in plane that crashes in Calif. bay
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- A single-engine plane crashed into a bay surrounded by homes Sunday and came to rest upside down in shallow water Sunday evening. Authorities said all three men aboard were killed.
Before they received reports of trouble, firefighters in Newport Beach saw the plane, a 1968 Beechcraft Musketeer, flying low shortly before 6 p.m., Fire Division Chief Paul Matheis said.
"It flew over one of our stations at about 50 feet," Matheis said. "They could tell that there was trouble."
The firefighters followed the plane, found it upside down in Upper Newport Harbor, and tried to perform a rescue, Matheis said.
"It was too late," he said. "The three inside did not survive the crash."
The victims were all men, Matheis said. Their names have not been released.
The plane had taken off from an unknown point in Mexico and was bound for Torrance, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.
The pilot had reported problems to nearby John Wayne Airport before he went down, Matheis said.
The plane did not come close to any of the many homes that surround the bay, Matheis said, and believed the pilot was deliberately heading for the water and away from houses.
"If I was guessing I'd say he did a good job of avoiding anything like that," Matheis said.
Officials from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating the crash, Gregor said.

Source article: Link

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Colfax: Fire destroyed Giovanni’s Restaurant (Thursday)

Landmark restaurant destroyed by fire
Giovanni's destroyed
A fire destroyed Giovanni’s Restaurant, one of Colfax’s landmarks, late Thursday night.

Around 10:20 p.m., employees called 9-1-1 to report the fire, which apparently started on the smoking deck at the back of the building on Highway 174 and Rollins Lake Road. The restaurant had closed for the night, but the bar was still open, noted owner John Panelli.
Firefighters arrived within seven minutes of the call, said Calfire Battalion Chief Chris Paulus.
“At that point the back side of the smoking deck area was heavily involved,” he said. “It had reached into the basement, restaurant and attic simultaneously. There was heavy smoke coming out of the attic.”
The attic was being used to store extra materials, including cardboard boxes packed with Christmas decorations, Paulus said.
Within minutes of their arrival, Paulus continued, the fire had reached the gas and electric meters, which exploded adding fuel to the fire.
Paulus ordered that electric and gas service to 110 residents and businesses in close proximity be shut down, turning it back on early Friday morning.
“We tried an aggressive attack on the back side, but couldn’t make entry (into the building), Paulus said. “After 20 minutes of heavy fighting, I made the decision to turn it to a defensive operation.”
When the roof began to sag, Paulus said, the safety of the firefighters became a priority.
Fire crews from Calfire, Placer County Fire, Colfax Volunteer Fire and Peardale Fire worked through the night to keep the blaze from spreading to neighboring buildings and homes.
On Friday morning, fire crews continued to put water and fire retardant on the smoldering remains of the historic business.
Owner John Panelli, standing next to the ruins, said he was at home when he received the call from one of his employees.
“I put on my shoes and came down here,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect.”
Panelli’s primary concern on Friday morning was finding work for his 22 employees.
“If the community would put my people to work any place they’ve got jobs,” he said, adding he was willing to be the contact for connecting employees with job opportunities. He can be reached at 346-8228 or 477-9530.
The oldest restaurant in Placer County, it was opened in 1941 by Gulio and Josephine Panelli, who moved from Nevada City to the small community of Shady Glen, on Highway 40, then the main route over the Sierra at the time.
They purchased what was then known as The Auto Camp and opened Shady Glen Inn, a restaurant and bar catering to travelers, who often stayed overnight at the camp.
When Gulio died in 1945, his widow continued serving Italian food at the restaurant until 1961. After she remarried, Josephine decided to close the business.
In the meantime, John Panelli had started teaching automotive repair on the Rocklin campus of Sierra College.
After his mother died in 1975, Panelli began renovating the restaurant. He expanded the building and turned the former Auto Camp into Shady Glen, a manufactured home development.
To pay tribute to his Italian roots, Panelli reopened the restaurant under his Italian name, Giovanni, in 1982.
While the cause of Thursday night’s fire is undetermined, Paulus has asked the Arson Task Force Team to join the investigation.
“The whole thing is just a dirty rotten shame,” Paulus said.
With the winter and holiday season approaching, Paulus urged residents to check the smoke detectors in their homes and develop an emergency evacuation plan.

Source article: http://colfaxrecord.com Link

Saturday, November 20, 2010

San Carlos sees red over CalFire’s withdrawal

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

At least, that’s what San Carlos officials are saying about CalFire’s decision not to submit a proposal to provide fire service to the city.

In a Nov. 18 letter, Acting Director Ken Pimlott cites “concern from regional Legislative members and significant opposition from local labor organizations” among the reasons why CalFire opted out of participating.

The letter does not explicitly state what members or unions oppose the idea of outsourcing to CalFire or even if either gave specific direction not to submit a proposal.

However, San Carlos leaders believe this section is a definitive sign that outside forces are at play.

“I’m personally sick. Maybe this is payback for Proposition 22. I don’t know. But I’m angry. How are we supposed to run a city and ask people to come in and give us their best ideas when you have unions and legislators slapping people around. What the hell?” said Councilman Omar Ahmad.

Ahmad and Councilman Andy Klein, both who sit on the board of the fire joint powers authority shared with Belmont, said they plan to ask City Attorney Greg Rubens at Monday night’s meeting to investigate if threats or promises were made to CalFire and if so whether it is illegal on top of improper.

Rubens for his part definitely thinks the letter is puzzling.

“I’ve never in my years of practice seen groups and people try to influence a situation in which the city lawfully put out a [request for proposal],” Rubens said. “If true, this is disappointing.

Rubens is waiting for the council on Monday to give him direction on next steps, if any.

Having just received the letter late Friday afternoon, Rubens was still evaluating the four reasons cited by CalFire.

“It certainly seems to me that somebody was interfering with the process,” Rubens said.

But Janet Upton, deputy director of CalFire, said there is no cloak and dagger in the agency’s decision not to submit a proposal.

“It was a totality of circumstances,” she said.

In fact, Pimlott explains in the letter CalFire uses a Partnership Agreement Rating Form which includes 14 separate criteria.

Pimlott said based on it, he is unable to submit a proposal because: The Belmont-San Carlos Fire Department JPA is set to expire Oct. 12, 2011 which is too compressed a time frame for completing a contract; the proposed partnership with San Carlos is only “marginally appropriate” because state responsibilities take priority; and the city’s finances have been tenuous for an extended period of time, leading CalFire to believe outsourcing isn’t necessarily a savings benefit.

Then there is the fourth reason on which city officials have latched — the “socio-political aspects,” as termed by Pimlott. Without the support of legislative leaders and labor groups, Pimlott said the partnership could face legal challenges for which CalFire would bear the cost and be cast in a negative light by the community and media.

Ahmad said he is stunned by the rational which he feels indicates handshake deals and back room politics.

Assistant City Manager Brian Moura, who is overseeing the fire service proposals for the city, wonders if there are larger ramifications. If CalFire can be pressured to pull away from San Carlos, couldn’t the same happen with other cities when the contracts come up for renewal? Also, what about other service contracts — could they also be shaped by political whim?

But Upton said there have been no conversations with labor and the only direct dialogue with a legislator was Assemblyman Jerry Hill who doesn’t even represent San Carlos.

Hill said he contacted CalFire out of his own curiosity. He wanted to know if CalFire planned to contract with other small cities and entities rather than focusing on its main purpose of fighting wild fires.

“How can they protect those areas if they spread themselves too thin?” Hill asked.

He also heard labor did not favor the idea but said he had no specific contact with the firefighters union or other labor groups.

The chat with CalFire he said “was informational not advocacy.”

Melissa Figueroa, spokeswoman for state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, said he did not weigh in on the issue.

Assemblyman-elect Rich Gordon said he also had no contact with CalFire.

Assemblyman Ira Ruskin, D-Redwood City, could not be reached.

Ed Hawkins, president of the county firefighters union, said he was also not involved.

“We’ve been pretty public with our opposition but I haven’t spoken with CalFire. I’m the president so I’m pretty sure I’d know if anybody did,” he said.

Yet, city leaders aren’t convinced CalFire came to its conclusion alone.

When the city began discussing outsourcing fire service, as it has already done with police and parks maintenance, CalFire provided an informal proposal. The economy was no better then and the city’s credit rating is good, so what changed? asked Rubens.

Moura, too, said CalFire just last week asked for more time to prepare its proposal.

Like Rubens, Ahmad and Klein, he can’t believe the agency had such a quick change of heart.

“I wish I knew what threats or promises were made,” Klein said.

Upton, though, said the process worked as it is supposed to and that moving from a preliminary position to a very different final decision is not out of the ordinary.

Although San Carlos officials have mulled outsourcing for more than a year, they did not formally agree to seek proposals until late last month. The proposals are due Dec. 3 although that date may now be extended.

Some estimates place potential savings at more than $1 million.

CalFire’s decision not to bid won’t stop San Carlos from outsourcing its fire but could make a large difference in cost and savings. Consultants from Tri-Data, hired to assess the city’s needs, said it could benefit from a contract with CalFire or Redwood City because they could share a station.

San Mateo County could benefit, too, according to Moura because it wants CalFire to find savings which could come from sharing that station with San Carlos.

The city had already began the 18-month dissolution process for the Belmont-San Carlos City Council when it heard the report and based on previous interest anticipated having several proposals from which to choose.

Yet the two most expected — CalFire and the Menlo Park Fire Protection District — said no within days of each other.

Two days before CalFire sent its letter, Menlo Park Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said he preferred a regional approach and thought it risky to join with San Carlos before it separates from Belmont.

Hawkins said he hopes the dissolution leads to regionalization.

“I’m hoping we make something positive out of this strange plan that San Carlos has hatched to get divorced from a department that has helped them for so many years,” Hawkins said.

But for San Carlos leaders the only positive they want right now is an identification on who may have influenced CalFire.

“Is everything we do now going to require us to kowtow to the Legislature?” asked Klein.

“This isn’t so much about fire now. It’s the principal and it isn’t supposed to be like this.”

Source article: http://www.smdailyjournal.com - Link

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