Firefighters Return, Defeat Local Blaze
Ten members of the Alameda Fire Department spent weeks on the fire lines in both Northern and Southern California. Their colleagues recently welcomed them home.
On Thursday, Nov. 8, two Alameda fire engine companies — Engine 501 and Office of Emergency Services (OES) Engine 296 — responded to the Camp Fire in Butte County as part of Strike Team OES 2870C. The following day, Alameda firefighters headed to Southern California aboard AFD’s Water Tender 2 as part of XAL Task Force 2014 to assist in fighting the Woolsey Fire that burned in both Ventura and Los Angeles counties.
The Camp Fire sprang to life on Nov. 8 near the intersections of Pulga and Camp Creek roads, not far from Jarbo Gap in Butte County. Firefighters announced full containment of the blaze on Sunday, Nov. 25. In its Monday, Nov. 26, report — the latest available at press time — the Butte County Sheriff’s Department pegged the Camp Fire’s death toll at 88, with 203 people still missing.
The fire burned for 17 days, charring more than 153,300 acre. Authorities are still investigating the cause of the Camp Fire. The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. informed state regulators the two equipment malfunctions in the area, one shortly before the fire started and another shortly after, has fueled speculation that authorities will ultimately blame the utility for causing the blaze.
The Woolsey Fire was reported at 2:24 p.m. on Nov. 8. It began burning along Woolsey Canyon Road some 33 miles northwest of Los Angeles. By the time firefighters could contain the Santa Ana winds-fueled blaze on Nov. 21, it had destroyed some 1,600 buildings spread over 96,949 acres, about 151 square miles. The blaze forced 295,000 people to flee their homes. Three people lost their lives.
A pair of roads near these fires’ flashpoints lent their names to the blazes. The Camp Fire got its name from Camp Creek Road and the Woolsey fire was named for Woolsey Canyon Road.
On Nov. 10, President Donald Trump pointed to poor forest management as the cause of both the Camp and Woolsey fires. Firefighters’ unions across the state disagreed. Brian Rice, president of the California Professional Firefighters, described Trump’s statement about California’s forest management practices as “dangerously wrong.”
Jeff DelBono, president the Alameda City Firefighters Local 689, voiced his disappointment with the president’s comments. “It is unacceptable and disgusting for our commander-in-chief to respond this way to these tragic events. We should all expect more from the leadership of this country,” he stated.
Lincoln Avenue Fourplex Burns
Sun Staff Reports
At 11:22 a.m., Monday, Nov. 26, 22 firefighters from the Alameda Fire Department (AFD) responded to the report of a fire at a four-unit apartment building on the 700 block of Lincoln Avenue. When they arrived, AFD crewmembers found fire burning inside a second-floor apartment. Firefighters were able to confine the fire to that apartment and fully extinguished the blaze in about 20 minutes.
Fire and smoke damaged much of the apartment. The damage displaced the apartment’s four occupants. There were no reports of injuries. An AFD fire investigator is working to determine the fire’s cause and its exact origin.
Members of the Oakland Fire Department provided mutual aid, covering Fire Stations No. 1 and 2. The Alameda Police Department, Alameda Municipal Power, the Alameda Building Department, the Alameda Housing Authority and Pacific Gas & Electric Company were all on scene to assist AFD.