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Saturday, December 31, 2011

MISSING: RUNAWAY AT RISK TEEN HEADING TO CALIFORNIA

MISSING AT RISK TEEN


Update: Haley Updated her Facebook ->


Haley said "Dear everyone, I love you. I'm miss home and you guys so very much. I'm sorry. I'm fine. Love, me"


MISSING AT RISK TEEN HEADING TO CALIFORNIA FROM ARIZONA
MISSING - RUNAWAY - HALEY FAITH WILSON
RUNAWAY: 17 year old Haley Faith Wilson missing since Monday night December 26th.
From Amarillo Texas
Heading to California possibly Arcadia or Humboldt area.
Vehicle: 2003 Ford Focus ZTW Station wagon
Texas plate: CZ4PO44
Information: Amarillo Police Department: 806-378-3038 
Fathers twitter account at: 
------------------
Sometime after 10:00pm Monday night, December 26th, Haley Faith Wilson, a 17-year-old girl from Amarillo, TX, started up her silver 2003 Ford Focus station wagon, and ran away from home.
She left her cellphone behind, a map marking three locations, Humboldt, CA, Arcata, CA, and Bisbee, AZ, and a note for her dad asking him not to try to find her.
 
This is a map Haley left behind:
Map that Haley left behind
Source: Her Father
Notes left behind: 

Haley's Fathers Video: 

LAFD / LACoFD: 13 new arson fires in Hollywood / West Hollywood early Friday morning.

Manhunt for Serial Arsonist
Thirty-Four Fires are Ignited in Hollywood, West Hollywood
Los Angeles City and County fire officials investigating 13 new arson fires overnight that they believe are linked to series of 21 fires in Hollywood the night before.

Most of the new fires occurred in the North Hollywood area, while three happened in the Fairfax district, officials said.

Estimates on the total cost of the damage were not available, although officials from the Los Angeles County Fire Department said that four fires set in West Hollywood alone destroyed about $350,000 worth of cars and property.

One firefighter suffered back and neck injuries and was taken to a hospital.  His condition was not thought to be serious. 

On Friday morning, 21 fires were set in Hollywood and West Hollywood, making it one of the worst arson rampages in recent Los Angeles history.

Among the properties damaged was the Hollywood Hills home where The Doors' Jim Morrison once lived and which inspired his song "Love Street."  The property at 8021 Rothdell Trail was formerly owned by Jim Morrison of The Doors. The blaze, reportedly started under a vehicle in front of the house, was extinguished in approximately 35 minutes and was contained to the fa├žade and a balcony at the structure.

Firefighters from both the Los Angeles Fire Department and the L.A. County Fire Department were scrambling throughout the early morning hours on Dec. 30 to extinguish the blazes, which were ignited in apartment building carports and under vehicles over a large area stretching from Harper Avenue in West Hollywood to the Hollywood (101) Freeway, and north into the Hollywood Hills.

Four of the fires occurred in West Hollywood, while the others were reported in Hollywood. Authorities initially said there were 19 fires, but revised the number to 21 late Friday based on investigations conducted throughout the day. The Los Angeles Police Department issued a tactical alert overnight to keep as many officers on duty as possible, and are asking the public for videotape that may help them identify the arsonist.

Detectives are also investigating whether the fires Friday morning are in any way connected to three others ignited in Hollywood approximately 24 hours earlier. A 22-year-old suspect was arrested Thursday in connection with those fires, which were intentionally set around 1:15 a.m. on Dec. 29 near Sunset Boulevard and Fuller Avenue, and Sunset Boulevard and Poinsettia Place. A witness reportedly identified the suspect, Samuel Arrington, who was in custody when the fires occurred Friday morning. Authorities are considering whether the 21 fires on Dec. 30 were ignited by a copycat.

“The incidents are all under investigation, and we are moving as quickly as possible to figure out who is involved,” LAFD spokesperson Erik Scott said. “Our investigators are working around the clock.”


One of the fires in West Hollywood was started in a carport at 1045 N. Genesee Avenue. (photo by Edwin Folven).

LAPD commander Andrew Smith said extra patrols have been established throughout Hollywood, and authorities are working in conjunction with sheriff’s deputies in West Hollywood, where patrols have also been increased.

Quvondo Johnson, a spokesperson for the L.A. County Fire Department, which serves West Hollywood, said that city’s four fires were all set under vehicles parked in carports or adjacent to apartment buildings. No injuries were reported and the flames were contained to the parking areas, but smoke damage did occur in some units.

“We were very busy responding to all the reports, and also provided some mutual aid to the firefighters in Hollywood,” Johnson said. “It’s very taxing for our resources, so we moved some engines up to the area. We have a plan in place just for this type of thing.”

Johnson said the first fire in West Hollywood was reported at 12:22 a.m. in a carport at 7763 Romaine St. Firefighters had just extinguished that blaze when another report came in at 12:38 a.m. about a fire in a carport at 1045 N. Genesee Ave. Two additional blazes were later reported near the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Spaulding Avenue, and at 1200 N. Curson Ave. Johnson said all of the fires took approximately 10 to 15 minutes to extinguish.

Scott did not have the exact times and specific information about all of the fires in Hollywood, but some of the locations included Curson and Hawthorn, Citrus and DeLongpre, Lexington and Cahuenga, Yucca and Vine, Hollywood and Bronson, Franklin and Orange, the 1700 block of North Orange Drive, the 7600 block of West Lexington Avenue, and the 1200 block of North McCadden Place. Additional fires were reported on Jupiter Drive, and on Rothdell Trail, in the Hollywood Hills.

Scott said no civilians were injured in the Hollywood fires, but one firefighter suffered a neck injury while fighting the blaze on Rothdell Trail when he fell from a ladder. The firefighter was hospitalized in stable condition, Scott added.
REWARD: Report any suspicious activity to 911, and tips can also be submitted to the LAFD’s Arson Unit at (213)893-9800, or the LAPD’s Hollywood Division at (213)972-2971.


Sources: LA TIMES - Link  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/12/13-new-fires-overnight-tied-to-la-serial-arsonist-officials-say.html 
BeverlyPress - 
Link - http://parklabreanewsbeverlypress.com/news/2011/12/manhunt-launched-for-serial-arsonist/


LAFD: ARSON - REWARD - HOLLYWOOD AREA

 $60,000 reward is being offered for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the Hollywood arsonist. 
City Council is offering $25,000, The County of Los Angeles is offering $25,000 and ATF is offering $10,000 reward.

Hollywood Area Arson Fires

HOLLYWOOD Area- Two persons were arrested in the Hollywood area in unrelated arson incidents where four fires and one attempted fire occurred.








The first arrest involved a suspect who is responsible for three arson fires and one attempted arson fire. The incidents occurred on December 29, 2011 between the hours of 1:12 AM and 1:28 AM and are as follows:

At 1:12 AM, a dumpster fire occurred at 1444 Poinsettia Place, and a carport fire at1434 Fuller Avenue where four vehicles and an apartment above were damaged. Then, at 1:28 AM, fire was set to a trash can in a parking lot and an attempted arson to personal property at 7040 Sunset Boulevard.
As information was developed by Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) Arson Investigators, it was determined that this suspect was, in fact, responsible for the first two incidents. The arrested is 22 year-old Sun Valley resident Samual Arrington.

LAFD Battles Arson Fires in Hollywood AreaThe second arrest occurred as a result of a rubbish fire at 1347 McCadden Place, at 4:29 AM. There, 55 year-old Alejandro Pineda was arrested for burning trash. LAPD assisted Arson Investigators by transporting and booking the suspect while LAFD Investigators completed their scene examination. The suspect was booked on a charge of Arson of Property and bail is set at $50,000.

Since then, 21 fires (17 in the City and four in the County), involving various intentionally set automobile and structure fires created a conservative estimate of $350,000 in property damage. These fires occurred in the densely populated (approximately 20,000 people per square mile) Hollywood area and required firefighters to work tirelessly through a long and busy night. Due to the outstanding and diligent work of Los Angeles Firefighters, no civilians were injured and no structures were a total loss. However, one firefighter sustained a non-life-threatening injury while performing firefighting operations and was transported to a local hospital in fair condition. He has since has been released.
LAFD Battles Arson Fires in Hollywood Area

The LAFD is very concerned about these dangerous fires that could of resulted in deaths and are working closely with, Los Angeles Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol - Tobacco - Firearms and Explosives (ATF), LA County Sheriff's, Los Angeles County Fire Department, along with Beverly Hills Fire Department as a cohesive team.

LAFD Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section called in several additional investigators, all of whom continue to work around the clock and are currently reviewing video footage, mapping out and sequencing the fire incidents, interviewing witnesses and repeatedly canvasing the ashes during this active investigation.

We are asking the public to assist. Remain vigilant and "If you see something, say something". If you have any information that may assist in this active investigation, or if you witness any suspicious activity please call LAFD at (213) 893-9800, or LAPD at (213) 972-2971. If you witness someone actively committing a crime call 9-1-1.

    Friday, December 30, 2011

    Arson: 24 fires set in Pismo Beach, suspects arrested

     Two people were arrested Thursday night on suspicion of arson after allegedly starting approximately 24 fires Thursday just outside Pismo Beach.

    Investigators arrested Dominic Wefald, 18, of Arroyo Grande and a juvenile. Authorities declined to release the name and age of the minor.

    The fires were started at 4 p.m. in an area north of Oak Park Boulevard, east of James Way, according to a Cal Fire news release.

    The fires were extinguished and officials declined to say how they were started, the extent of damages, potential motives and whether additional suspects were involved.The investigation is ongoing.


    Source: Link

    LAFD Numerous arson attacks in Hollywood area

     HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Several vehicles, a home and an apartment building were scorched in a rash of suspicious fires in the Hollywood Hills, West Hollywood and Hollywood on Friday morning.


    The LAPD was on tactical alert in the area due to the suspected arson fires, which began at about 1 a.m. Between 19 to 20 fires have erupted, officials say, and the fires have mainly started in vehicles. Three of the fires spread to structures.


    L.A. City Fire Batt. Chief Greg Gibson said whoever is setting the fires has no regard for human life or property.


    Extensive damage was seen at the location of one suspicious fire at an apartment building on the 1100 block of North Cahuenga Boulevard. At least three vehicles were completely burned out, and the fire spread to the apartment above the carport, leaving windows completely covered with soot and smoke.


    "We have so many that are going around hitting occupancies just like this, carports with residents above," Gibson said.


    At least two apartment units had to be evacuated, including Daniel Meza of Hollywood.


    "I woke up really scared. I heard somebody saying, 'Fire, fire,'" Meza said. "The smoke was in my face."


    He said he ran and got his little sister and woke up his parents.


    No major injuries have been reported, but one firefighter did suffer some minor injuries while battling a suspicious fire in the Hollywood Hills.


    On Thursday, 22-year-old Samuel Arrington of Sunland and another person was arrested after three arson fires erupted in a five-block radius in Hollywood within 15 minutes of each other.


    Arrington was taken into custody after a worker outside a 7-Eleven saw him trying to cause more damage.


    Police are unsure if Thursday's fires are connected to the rash of fires on Friday. Police are asking for the public's help. Anyone with information is urged to call the Los Angeles City Fire Department at (213) 893-9800.


    Source: ABC7 - Link

    Thursday, December 29, 2011

    CAL FIRE: Camarillo camp closing, crews consolidating with Pine Grove

     Juvenile offender fire camp closing

    A Camarillo camp where juvenile offenders have been trained to fight fires will close Friday, leaving only one similar camp open in California, authorities said Wednesday.

    Youths who have been trained at the camp will be reassigned to a camp known as Pine Grove in Amador County in Northern California.

    At its peak, the Camarillo camp, known as the S. Carraway Public Service and Fire Center, housed five fire crews, said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.

    Each crew has about 15 members assigned to it.

    But state laws severely limited the number of inmates the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility in Camarillo was able to provide the local fire training camp. The laws limit state youth prisons to housing those who have committed serious crimes, including sexual offenses.

    "It got to the point where there were only enough members for one fire crew," Berlant said.

    Rather than continue to operate the Camarillo camp, state officials decided to consolidate the training at Pine Grove.

    Those trained at the Camarillo camp were sent to fight local fires, some of them quite big, said Bill Nash, a spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department. They included the Zaca wildfire in 2007, which burned more than 240,000 acres, making it the state's second-largest fire in recorded history.

    State officials stressed Wednesday that Cal Fire will continue to provide fire protection to the region around Ventura County. Firefighting recruits instead will be trained at a fire camp run by the California Conservation Corps, also in Camarillo, Berlant said.

    Cal Fire operates 39 fire training camps across the state, Berlant said, and the Camarillo and Pine Grove sites have been the only ones confined to underage criminals.

    Underage inmates are prohibited from being trained in a camp where adult offenders also are being trained, Berlant said.

    The consolidation of the Camarillo camp with the one in Northern California means about 90 juvenile offenders will be housed at Pine Grove, state officials said Wednesday.

    The camp is about 40 miles east of Sacramento in the Sierra foothills.

    The juvenile detention facility in Camarillo also had seen a decline in inmates it could provide for fire training because of a law passed in the mid-1990s under which underage inmates were housed at county-run facilities rather than those operated by the state, said Bill Sessa, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

    "The philosophy was that juvenile offenders would do better when they are closer to their families," Sessa said. "That started a very steep decline in the population of youthful offenders held by the state."

    A law passed in 2007 further limited the number of underage inmates held by the state. The law required that a larger share of such inmates be ones who have committed serious crimes. But inmates convicted of serious crimes are ineligible to be sent on firefighting assignments, limiting the local detention center's ability to supply recruits.

    As a result of the two laws, the population of state juvenile prison system dropped from around 10,000 in the mid-1990s to about 1,100 statewide today, Sessa said.

    The Camarillo facility houses 383 inmates.

    Sessa said the Camarillo facility will remain open.

    As to what will happen to the fire training camp, which is adjacent to the Camarillo facility, Berlant said state officials have yet to decide.

    "The site has some buildings on it, and we're still in the process of seeing what will happen to it," Berlant said.

    Cal Fire's training camps across the state are operated with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

    Together, they hold about 196 fire crews, according to Cal Fire.

    These crews not only fight wildfires, but also help out after floods as well as in search-and-rescue operations.

    In total, these fire crews account for more than 2.5 million hours of emergency response work a year, according to Cal Fire.

    Crew applicants are screened not only for physical fitness, but also for emotional and intellectual aptitude. They also cannot have been convicted of arson.

    These crews "have become California's storm troopers," according to a Cal Fire brochure.

    Source: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/dec/28/juvenile-offender-fire-camp-closing

    Tuesday, December 27, 2011

    UCLA: Felony charges have been filed against the University of California and a UCLA chemistry professor

     UC system, UCLA professor charged in lab fire that killed staffer

     Sheharbano “Sheri” Sangji, 23, was severely burned over nearly half her body and killed when chemicals burst into flames during an experiment and ignited her clothing  
    Felony charges have been filed against the University of California and a UCLA chemistry professor in connection with a laboratory fire that killed a staff research assistant three years ago.

    On Dec. 29, 2008, Sheharbano “Sheri” Sangji, 23, was severely burned over nearly half her body when air-sensitive chemicals burst into flames during an experiment and ignited her clothing. Sangji, who was not wearing a protective lab coat, died 18 days later.

    Her death raised questions about UCLA lab-safety practices, as well as her training and supervision by professor Patrick Harran, a prominent researcher who joined the faculty in July 2008.

    On Tuesday, the L.A. County district attorney’s office charged Harran and the regents of the University of California with three counts each of willfully violating occupational health and safety standards, resulting in Sangji’s death.

    An arrest warrant has been issued for Harran, 42, who faces up to 4 1/2 years in state prison, according to a district attorney’s spokeswoman. UCLA could be fined up to $1.5 million on each count.

    Born and raised in Pakistan, Sangji graduated in 2008 from Pomona College in Claremont and planned to become a lawyer. While applying to law schools, she took a $46,000-a-year job in a lab run by Harran, a researcher with a rising reputation in organic chemistry.

    Sangji was transferring up to 2 ounces of t-butyl lithium from one sealed container to another when a plastic syringe came apart in her hands, spewing a chemical compound that ignites when exposed to air. The synthetic sweater she wore caught fire and melted onto her skin, causing second- and third-degree burns.

    In May 2009, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health fined UCLA a total of $31,875 after finding that Sangji had not been trained properly and was not wearing protective clothing.

    Sangi’s family, especially her older sister Naveen, have been harshly critical of UCLA officials and Cal-OSHA’s investigations. She began pressing the district attorney in 2009 to file criminal charges.

    University officials and Harran have said that Sangji’s death was the result of a tragic accident that did not warrant charges.

    [Updated at 4:59 p.m.]: “UCLA intends to mount a vigorous defense against the outrageous charges announced today by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office,” officials said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

    The statement went on to say that UCLA had cooperated with Cal-OSHA and the district attorney and, until late last week when it learned of the impending charges, had had no contact with prosecutors since October 2010.

    “The District Attorney's decision to file charges today is truly baffling and directly contradicts the findings of the state agency responsible for evaluating workplace safety,” the statement said. “The facts provide absolutely no basis for the appalling allegation of criminal conduct, and the university is confident an impartial jury would agree.”

    Naveen Sangji said she hopes that the case goes to trial so that her family “has the opportunity to speak to the court” about what happened to her sister.

    “As we have been saying all along, the filing of charges is the first step toward any kind of justice for what Harran and UCLA did to our family,” she said. “It won’t bring Sheri back, but we do hope this will help keep other young people safe and keep other families from being destroyed.”

    Source: LA Now - LinkCalifornia Fire News 2011 

    ALCO: Alameda County Fire awarded five-year contract for services at LLNL

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has awarded a five-year contract for
    emergency services to the Alameda County Fire Department, officials said.


    The new deal, announced Friday following a competitive bidding process, includes fire, medical and hazardous material emergency services to the lab's main and auxiliary sites.

    Alameda County has provided services to Lawrence Livermore since 2007, when the lab's management switched from the University of California to LLNS, a private entity. The new contract will begin in July.

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a technology and applied science laboratory dedicated exclusively to national security.

    This laboratory provides services and expertise in the areas of domestic and international security, environmental and energy security, and nuclear security.

    It is government owned and contractor operated. Visit Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's website for more information on services, areas of expertise, sponsors, management, a list of publications that feature the laboratory, and an in-depth history of the facility.

    Source: Livermore Patch - Link
    California Fire News 2011

    CA-ENF-Mosquito Wildland Fire - El Dorado County 17 acres in the National Forest

    Incident Name/Type: 
    • Last Updated: 
    • Date/Time Started: Approx: 0630
    • Administrative Unit:  El Dorado National Forest / AEU - Camino
    • County: El Dorado County
    • Location:   Georgetown area, on U.S. Forest Service land. Mosquito Road and Sand Mountain Boulevard.
    • GPS: 
    • Acres Burned: 17 acres
    • ROS: Slow
    • Containment: 
    • Conditions:  Fire is burning in a remote area
    • Fuels: Timber
    • Structure Threats:  No structures are currently threatened
    • Special Hazards: 
    • Evacuations: 
    • Cause: 
    • Cooperating Agencies: CAL FIRE - AEU
    • Resources:  Three engines, three hand crews, a dozer and a water tender 
    • Air Resources:  California Highway Patrol assisting with locating the fire.
    • Comms: 
    • Injuries: 
    • Weather Info: 
    • RR Link: 
    • Agency Link:   http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/eldorado/ 
      Eldorado National Forest
      100 Forni Road
      Placerville, CA 95667
      530-622-5061
      530-642-5122 TTY
      ENF Visitor Information
      530-644-6048

      California Fire News 2011 

    Sunday, December 25, 2011

    California could lose 1,500 inmate firefighters

    A prison realignment program will send low-level offenders to county jails, depriving the state of using them to help clear brush, cut fire lines and stop infernos from spreading.

    Inmate firefighters deploy against a wildfire near Tehachapi, Calif., in summer of 2010. (Los Angeles Times)

    Reporting from Sacramento— When Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature shifted responsibility for thousands of state prisoners to county jails, some authorities said it would mean more offenders on the streets breaking the law.

    Few saw another possible peril: the loss of more than 1,500 inmate firefighters.

    Since World War II, the state has relied on nonviolent offenders serving time for such crimes as burglary, drug possession and welfare fraud to help clear brush, cut fire lines and stop infernos from spreading.

    Fire officials say the prisoners, selected from a pool of those who exhibit ideal behavior in custody, can be as much as half the manpower assigned to a large fire.

    "When things get busy, it's the first thing we run out of," said Andy McMurry, deputy director of fire protection for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

    Now, the realignment of inmate custody, developed to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court decision that overcrowding must be reduced in state lockups, is expected to keep thousands of those low-level offenders in county jails, where many could be released early because space is scarce.

    Fire officials say they can sustain the number of inmate crews for now, but their forces will begin to shrink in 2013. The reduction, if fully implemented, would cut the inmate firefighting ranks by nearly 40%, according to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which operates the program jointly with Cal Fire.

    State corrections and fire officials are working with local governments to head off that scenario with a separate training program for county inmates. But at a legislative hearing this month, county and local law enforcement representatives balked at the price tag — $46 per inmate per day.

    Rather than stockpiling nonviolent offenders in county jails, some sheriff's departments are considering cheaper alternatives, such as releasing them with electronic monitoring.

    "Some sheriffs feel they can get a better bang for their buck," Curtis Hill, a lobbyist for the California State Sheriffs' Assn., said at the hearing.

    In addition, he said, some jurisdictions would rather have offenders doing manual labor than waiting around for a fire. Losing county inmates to fire crews would hurt "the capability of local communities to use that population for their own projects."

    The issue is of particular concern to the Republican lawmakers who represent some of the state's most rural areas, which are more prone to wildfires.

    State Sen. Doug La Malfa (R-Richvale) wondered whether there would even be enough eligible inmates left in county prisons to volunteer for fire crews.

    "If our lowest-level offenders have been ankle-braceleted and are out, how do we get them to come back?" he said at the hearing.

    State officials countered that nonviolent offenders would continue to receive two days off their sentences for each day spent in a fire camp.

    Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries (R-Riverside) said in an interview that maintaining inmate firefighting ranks is critical to public safety. Without them, he said, large fires would be likely to burn longer, causing more damage and increasing personnel costs.

    "There really are no other resources," said Jeffries, a former volunteer fire captain in Riverside County for nearly three decades. "It's boots on the ground that put fires out. If you go beyond the utilization of inmates, the price tag goes up dramatically."

    Fire officials pledged to find a solution, arguing that the program's benefit is significant to both the state and the prisoners.

    "For a lot of them, it's the first time they've done anything real positive in their lives," said McMurry, the Cal Fire deputy. "It's hard to put a dollar-and-cents figure on that."

    Thursday, December 22, 2011

    SCU: CALFIRE Open Burn Ban Due To Dry Fuels

     CALFIRE Santa Clara Unit has banned open fires in its jurisdictional areas due to extremely dry weather.

     What: CALFIRE has banned open fires in its service areas due to extremely dry weather.  Campfires are still allowed in designated areas, according to a CALFIRE news release. Agricultural and industrial burns are only allowed if CALFIRE issues a special permit.
    Where:  CalFIRE jurisdiction in Alameda, Contra Costa, Monterey, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties, as well as western San Joaquin County.
    When: The ban begins Friday at 8 a.m. and remains in effect until further notice, according to the release.

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    [EDIS] Santa Ana Winds expected Thursday into early Friday

     √  HIGH WIND WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM THURSDAY TO NOON PST FRIDAY

    Santa Ana Winds
     STRONG NORTH TO NORTHEAST WINDS WILL DEVELOP EARLY THURSDAY MORNING AS HIGH PRESSURE BUILDS INLAND THROUGH THE GREAT BASIN. THE STRONGEST WINDS WILL AFFECT THE VENTURA AND LOS ANGELES COUNTY MOUNTAINS INCLUDING THE SANTA MONICAS AND THE SANTA CLARITA VALLEY.


     DAMAGING WINDS ARE ALSO POSSIBLE OVER SOME COAST AND VALLEY LOCATIONS. WINDS WILL EASE SLIGHTLY LATE THURSDAY AFTERNOON THEN INCREASE AGAIN THURSDAY EVENING THROUGH EARLY FRIDAY. 
     HIGH WIND WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM THURSDAY TO NOON PST FRIDAY.
     THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LOS ANGELES/OXNARD HAS ISSUED A HIGH WIND WARNING.
     WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM THURSDAY TO NOON PST FRIDAY. THE HIGH WIND WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT. 


     WINDS: NORTHEAST 25 TO 40 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 60 MPH. 
     TIMING: WINDS WILL INCREASE LATE TONIGHT AND PEAK THURSDAY MORNING THROUGH EARLY AFTERNOON, WITH ANOTHER PEAK THURSDAY EVENING THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING. 
     IMPACTS: WINDS MAY KNOCK DOWN TREES AND POWER LINES AND CAUSE UNSECURED OBJECTS TO BE BLOWN AROUND.
     PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS: A HIGH WIND WARNING MEANS A HAZARDOUS HIGH WIND EVENT IS EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SUSTAINED WIND SPEEDS OF AT LEAST 40 MPH OR GUSTS OF 58 MPH OR MORE CAN LEAD TO PROPERTY DAMAGE.
    Area: VENTURA COUNTY MOUNTAINS, LOS ANGELES COUNTY MOUNTAINS EXCLUDING THE SANTA MONICA RANGE INCLUDING THE CITIES OF LOCKWOOD VALLEY, MOUNT PINOS, ACTON, MOUNT WILSON, SANDBERG
    Affected Counties or parts of: Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles
    Sent: 2011-12-21T04:13:55-08:00


    Original Sender: KLOX@nwws.oes.ca.gov


    From: NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LOS ANGELES/OXNARD CA

    Visalia fire captain dies from stroke on vacation memorial held

     Bidding a fond farewell to Visalia fire captain who died at age 57

    Scott Smith was on vacation in the Central Coast on Nov. 19, just days after finishing his shift with the Visalia Fire Department.

    A stroke prevented him from ever returning to his job.

    Visalia Fire Capt. Scott Smith, second from left, talks in July 2008 to witnesses about a kitchen fire in the 800 block of North West Street. GERALD CARROLL
    Fire Capt. Smith, 57, died Dec. 10 of complications from the stroke.

    "It's been tough. He was a great guy in perfect health with no bad habits," Visalia Fire Department Battalion Chief Charlie Norman said. "A family man, great husband and father. Just a great guy."

    Smith, who worked at Fire Station 52 and was set to retire at the end of 2012, was hired by the Visalia department on Jan. 20, 1992, the same day Norman and four others were hired as lateral firefighters.

    Norman said more than half of his time working for Visalia was spent at the same station or company as Smith.

    Of the five men hired with Smith in 1992, one is retired, one is an engineer, two are captains and one is a battalion chief in Visalia.

    Smith was born in Fresno and had previously worked at the North Central Fire District as a firefighter.

    Norman spoke to Smith a day before his stroke. He said that everything was fine and that there were no signs of any problem.

    "He was in better health now than I was in my 20s," Norman said. "He worked out religiously. He played golf, skied, rode bicycles and dirt bikes."

    A visitation was held Sunday and funeral services were held Monday, attended by more than 800.

    CAL FIRE, the Tulare Fire Department, the Tulare County Fire Department and the Kings County Fire Department covered the city of Visalia during the funeral services so all employees of the Visalia department could attend.

    Representatives from the Kern Fire Department, Fresno Fire Department and fire departments from as far as the Bay Area attended.

    More than 110 firefighters were at the services.

    "The funeral was somber and sad. But as you heard testimonials from friends and family, you realized he lived every day to the fullest," Norman said. "How he did things with kids and firefighters on- and off-duty showed he lived to the fullest. He was well-liked, popular, knowledgeable and a natural leader. People just flocked to him."

    Visalia Fire Chief Mark Nelson, Engineer Allen Wilkinson and Norman spoke at the memorial service.

    "He was a long-term veteran of nearly 20 years, a very positive person, good leader and very respected by the department," Nelson said. "He was a real asset to the department; it's a tragic loss."

    Smith's casket was taken by a reserve engine driven by Adam Arakelian to the cemetery after the memorial service. The casket was watched by two members of the color guard.

    Arakelian was hired with Smith in 1992.

    Norman said the department has mentioned setting up a memorial tournament and being there for the family whenever needed.

    He said the family now has 70 Johnny's on the spot to take care of them.

    Funeral services concluded with the ringing of the bell. The three rings, three times, signify the end of the emergency and the return to quarters.

    "It's taught us to live each day as if it's the last. Make a selfless contribution each day and spend time with your family," Norman said. "Like I said at the services, to leave a legacy, you have to live a legacy and Scott lived a legacy."

    Canadian SuperScoopers leave California

    Canadair CL-415 #SuperScooper #Wildfire fleet leave California: flightaware.com/live/fleet/QUE

    Toxic Mold In Home Killed Young Hollywood Actress?

    Brittany Murphy's Cause Of Death: Actress Killed By Toxic Mold Says Mother

    Brittany Murphy's mother claims toxic mold found in her daughter's Hollywood home is to blame for both Brittany and her son-in-law's Simon Monjack's deaths.

    Brittany died of pneumonia in 2009 and just months later her husband suffered the same fate.

    TMZ reports Brittany's mother Sharon Murphy claims the people who built the house are to blame for the mold that caused their illnesses. In a new lawsuit, Sharon alleges she was misled by her lawyers and tricked into giving up her rights to sue the builders for wrongful death.

    According to TMZ, Murphy's mother says her lawyers convinced her to accept a settlement offer for the construction problems in January, but they didn't explain that the settlement included a stipulation so that she would never be able to sue the builders for their alleged role in her daughter's death.

    Not content with this, Sharon has hired a new attorney to sue her former ones for legal malpractice and demanding they pay her what she could have won in a wrongful death suit.

    When Murphy passed away two years ago at the age of 32, many speculated her death was drug or eating disorder related, however it was determined the actress died of natural causes.

    Boy defies father to attend Mass. firefighter's wake

    "I tied my tie myself. I learned it from reading my book, 'How to Be the Best at Everything'"

    BOSTON — He was under strict orders not to leave the house after school. But 11-year-old Jared Flanders neatly knotted his tie, climbed on his bike and went to pay his last respects to fallen Worcester firefighter Jon Davies at a funeral home down the street yesterday.

    Jared didn't know the hero jake who died after rushing into a blazing triple-decker last week. Yet, the boy's kind-hearted salute lifted the spirits of firefighters attending Davies' wake.

    Here is Jared's story as told to the Herald's Richard Weir:

    'I went over and supported them. They said 'Thank you,' and I said, I'm sorry for his loss.

    'I wanted to say thanks for saving all those people. Thanks for trying so hard. We'll all miss you.

    'I felt very bad for him, he was going to get married. The poor guy.

    'I kept thinking how good he was and how hard he worked.

    'What I was thinking about while watching everybody go up and pray was how brave he was and how such a hard worker he was.

    'I tied my tie myself. I learned it from reading my book, 'How to Be the Best at Everything.' I also read how to fly a helicopter and how to make a flute out of bamboo.

    'Maybe I'll be a firefighter. I want to be a soccer player and if I don't make that, I want to be a graphic designer or then a firefighter.

    The boy's dad, Gene Flanders, 45, said last night his son broke the rules by leaving the house, but he can't punish him now:

    'At first I was very startled. I am not quite sure how to deal with the situation. ... I was a little surprised when I called his phone and a police officer answered it, and he happened to say how Jared rode his bike to the funeral home. We were talking about how even though what he had done was very nice, we're trying to go back over the rules that he wasn't supposed to leave the house. But it's very touching that he would go and do that for someone.

    'He has such a big heart.'

    Fourth generation Worcester firefighter Matt Johnson, 24, said the story of the boy 'spread like wildfire' through the funeral home and touched jakes' hearts:

    'It's awesome. It makes it all worth it. It's a little sunshine at the end of it.'

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    NYC: Owed a little bit of money... Burned to death in elevator

    Psychopath Burns Elderly Woman to Death in Elevator

    Video Stills of Arson Murder Suspect
    NEW YORK - Another gruesome elevator death has shocked and terrified an already lift-phobic city. But this time it was no accident — as was the case with Wednesday's freak crushing of a 41-year-old ad executive at a Madison Ave. building — but rather a carefully premeditated act of murder perpetrated upon a 73-year-old Brooklyn woman. The term "coldblooded" here does not even begin to scratch the surface.

    In a recovered security video, the woman, Deloris Gillespie, is seen holding several bags of groceries, trying to exit the elevator on the fifth floor of her Prospect Heights apartment building. The time was 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. The doors open, and 47-year-old Jerome Isaac, dressed as an exterminator, blocks her way; he then proceeds to spray Gillespie in the face, and then "methodically" over her entire body, in accelerant.

    She "turns and cowers, raising her hands, the grocery bags hanging from her wrists," The New York Times reports. Isaac then forces Gillespie into the corner, and has some difficulty as he tries to ignite a barbecue lighter. He finally succeeds and sets Gillespie on fire. He then steps back into the hallway, then reappears with a Molotov cocktail ("a wine or Champagne bottle filled with accelerant, with a rag stuffed in its neck") and tosses it at her. The video cuts out as the elevator car erupts into flame, and Gillespie is burned alive.

    A little less than 12 hours later, Isaac wandered into a nearby police station "reeking of gasoline," according to cops. He then admitted to what he'd done:

    "He confessed to the crime, claiming that the woman owed him money for work he had done in the last year," said Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the New York Police Department. Mr. Isaac did not specify the kind of work he had done, but said he was owed $2,000, Mr. Browne said.

    According to Gillespie's nephew, his aunt had hired Isaac to help her clear out her apartment, but fired him after she'd suspected he'd stolen some items from her, including "a VCR and a large cake pan." Isaac posted an invoice to her door for $300, which she ignored. Soon after, Gillespie had added locks to her apartment door, according to another relative, and had reported Isaac to the police.

    How to even process the enormity of what Isaac has done? The sheer evilness, the senselessness of it? Finding myself at a loss, I'll defer to the practical wisdom of Marge Gunderson, the fictional heroine and moral compass of the Coen Brothers' Fargo:

    And for what? For a little bit of money. There's more to life than a little money, you know. Don'tcha know that? And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day. Well. I just don't understand it.

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    HIGH WIND WARNING SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS RECREATIONAL AREA

    NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LOS ANGELES/OXNARD HAS ISSUED A HIGH WIND WARNING. FOR SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS RECREATIONAL AREA INCLUDING THE CITY OF TOPANGA.
    WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM FRIDAY TO 3 PM PST SATURDAY. 

    WINDS AND TIMING: STRONG NORTHEAST WINDS WILL DEVELOP THROUGH PASSES AND CANYONS BY EARLY FRIDAY MORNING AND PERSIST THROUGH EARLY SATURDAY AFTERNOON. THE WINDS WILL BE STRONGEST FRIDAY AND SATURDAY MORNINGS. WINDS SPEEDS WILL RANGE FROM 25 T0 40 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 60 MPH.
    IMPACTS: WINDS MAY KNOCK DOWN TREES AND POWER LINES AND CAUSE UNSECURED OBJECTS TO BE BLOWN AROUND.
    PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS: A HIGH WIND WARNING MEANS A HAZARDOUS HIGH WIND EVENT IS EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SUSTAINED WIND SPEEDS OF AT LEAST 40 MPH OR GUSTS OF 58 MPH OR MORE CAN LEAD TO PROPERTY DAMAGE.

    AREA: SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS RECREATIONAL AREA-INCLUDING THE CITY OF TOPANGA
    Affected Counties or parts of: Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles
    Sent: 2011-12-15T02:52:49-08:00

    California Fire News 2011 

    Tanker explosion could bring days of freeway traffic gridlock

    60-Freeway
    As workers Thursday began tearing down a portion of a bridge damaged by a spectacular tanker explosion, officials said the 60 Freeway could be closed for days.

    The closure made for a miserable morning commute, with the 10, 210 and 5 freeways seeing extra traffic along with major surface streets flowing into downtown L.A. from the east.

    The 60 Freeway is closed in both directions between the 605 and the 710 freeways through the weekend, said Officer Ed Jacobs, a public information officer at the California Highway Patrol.

    PHOTOS: Fiery crash on the 60 Freeway

    Elijah Quesada, 25, left his Hacienda Heights home earlier than usual to make the 30-minute commute to Vernon. Using GPS and "knowledge of the streets," Quesada said it only took him 45 minutes to get to work after leaving home at 6 a.m.

    The X-ray technician expressed patience even after experiencing some delays.

    "We live in L.A.," he said. "We live in traffic. You have to learn to work around it."

    FULL COVERAGE: 60 Freeway

    Caltrans spokesman Patrick Chandler said it is unclear how long the demolition will take and more tests are being conducted to determine whether the westbound side also will be torn down.

    Crews had already begun pressure-spraying the westbound side of the bridge to dislodge material damaged in Wednesday’s spectacular fuel-tanker fire.

    Chandler said the bridge would be demolished from the abutment to the columns in the center divider.

    Beneath the bridge lay a foot of sand and gravel to cushion falling debris.

    The fire was so intense that "the flames caused the cement above to pop and become brittle and fall to the roadway," Chandler said.

    The heat was so intense that hours after the crash and long after the fire had been put out, Chandler said he could feel the temperature difference as he walked near the bridge.

    "It was still warm," Chandler said. "Concrete retains for a long time. You could walk under the bridge and it was 15 degrees warmer."

    As Chandler spoke, the freeway was silent, except for structural engineers and work crews conferring, amid the backhoes and cherry pickers and klieg lights they had brought to the scene. A helicopter hovered far in the distance.

    The massive work facing these crews, and the hellish drive times awaiting commuters, all came down to a matter of a few feet. The truck driver, with his cargo of 8,800 gallons of gasoline ablaze, kept driving on the freeway, not stopping until he was near the bridge. An investigation into the incident is underway to determine the cause of the blaze.

    Had he stopped well before the bridge, "it'd be a whole different thing,” Chandler said. Caltrans work crews could have replaced a slab of freeway in a night.

    Authorities on Wednesday said they believed the heat and fire were so intense that the driver had no time to even pull to the side of the freeway. He and his passenger abandoned the big rig safely.

    The miles-long freeway closure was necessary to allow crews to get heavy machinery to the scene, Chandler said.

    "We need the space to come in and out," he said. "Time is money. The quicker we get this done, the quicker we can get the freeway opened."

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    LTBMU: Lake Tahoe Prescribed fire operations begin West Shore

     
    U.S. Forest Service
    Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU)

    Prescribed Fire Information
    Please Distribute Widely


    Date Sent:   Dec. 12, 2011


    Prescribed fire operations begin on West Shore
     
    South Lake Tahoe, Calif. --U.S. Forest Service fuels management crews are scheduled to begin prescribed fire operations in the Tahoe City area tomorrow December 13, 2011.  Operations may continue through the week.
     Residents and visitors can expect to see smoke from the prescribed fire project area.  Smoke-sensitive residents should consider staying indoors and keeping doors, windows and outside vents closed.  To directly receive prescribed fire updates, send an email to pa_ltbmu@fs.fed.us.  Forest Service staff will post road signs around areas affected by prescribed fire, and update the local fire information line at (530) 543-2600, #6.  Other federal, state and local fire management agencies may also be conducting prescribed fire work during this period.
     For more information, visit our website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ltbmu/RxFireOps. To learn more about the efforts to reduce high-intensity wildfire risks in the Tahoe Basin, read the Lake Tahoe Basin Multi-Jurisdictional Fuel Reduction Plan found at http://fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fsm9_045864.pdf. Take a few moments to visit an excellent web site and learn about Prescribed Fire vs. Wildfire at: http://www.smokeybear.com/prescribed-fires.asp

     
    Lisa Herron
    Public Affairs Specialist
    U.S. Forest Service
    Lake Tahoe Basin Mgt Unit
    35 College Drive
    South Lake Tahoe CA 96150


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      ****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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