Tag: Fire

Some LAFD firefighters have lengthy commutes – as far away as Florida

More than 100 Los Angeles city firefighters live out of state and make commutes from as far as Florida, Texas, and Tennessee, Los Angeles Fire Department officials said.

The long commute times may pose challenges for the department, especially in the event of a large-scale emergency where out-of-state firefighters may have a difficult time getting to the city quickly, said LAFD spokeswoman Cheryl Getuiza.

The city currently employs 110 firefighters who live in other states, about 3% of the department’s 3,350 sworn members, Getuiza said.

The 110 city firefighters, according to the department, live in 16 states: Washington, Idaho, Utah, Tennessee, Montana, Colorado, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Oregon, Georgia.

Most of the out-of-staters are tenured firefighters, which includes engineers, apparatus operators and captains, as well as two battalion chiefs, Getuiza said.

Although LAFD does recruit and hire firefighters who already live in other states, Getuiza said most of the 110 firefighters were hired first, then eventually moved elsewhere.

The department is considering a new policy that would require new firefighters to live within a certain distance from the city, Getuiza said. Tenured firefighters who already live out of state, she said, would be grandfathered into the possible policy, allowing them to remain in their homes.

Getuiza said the department does not track reasons for why their employees make such a drastic move. However, LAFD Capt. Christian Granucci, who commutes back-and-forth to Los Angeles, was quoted in a 2018 story, saying that he “moved to Texas … for the freedoms that it offers.”

The article said Granucci lived in Dripping Springs, Texas, more than 1,200 miles away from Los Angeles.

Granucci, who makes more than $200,000 a year, is famous for recording and sharing a video in which he called the city’s vaccination requirement for city workers “tyranny.” In the video, he said he and hundreds of other LAFD firefighters would fight the vaccine requirement. He is currently being investigated by the department’s Professional Standards Division for appearing to record the video while on duty and in department uniform.

For firefighters, or other first responders like police officers, to live outside the city or county they work in is not uncommon. For example, some firefighters who work in Los Angeles and Orange counties live in Inland Empire communities, such as Rancho Cucamonga.

A 2010 Orange County Register story on the topic showed that living just one county over can create long commutes for firefighters who must drive through about two hours of traffic just to get to their respective station.

That report also showed that some Orange County firefighters also lived out of state, calling places like Colorado, Utah, Texas, and Washington home.

Such out-of-state commutes require flights, trekking the more than 2,000 miles for some firefighters, particularly from places like the U.S. east coast or southern states.

So, how do firefighters manage their work shifts while make such lengthy commutes?

LAFD’s staffing model allows for firefighters to work 24-hour shifts and gives employees — from firefighters and paramedics all the way up to assistant chiefs —  the latitude to work overtime shifts or trade shifts.

Using this model, the department’s members who live out of state often try to work multiple days straight, Getuiza said. This way, the out-of-state firefighters have more off-duty time to be at home.

Also, for safety reasons, some firefighters decide to rest between shifts at a fire station while off duty, Getuiza said.

Leaders from the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, the union representing nearly all of LAFD’s sworn firefighters, did not respond to requests for comment.

Portion Of 5 Freeway In Castaic Still Closed As Crews Battle Route Fire

CASTAIC (CBSLA) – Hundreds of firefighters continue to battle the Route Fire burning along the 5 Freeway in Castaic Monday.

The Route Fire has scorched 462 acres and was 63% contained as of Sunday night.

Sept. 12, 2021. (CBSLA)

The blaze broke out just before 4 p.m. Saturday in the area of Templin Highway and the 5 Freeway. It is burning in brush and chaparral.

At one point over the weekend, the entire 5 Freeway was shut down. As of Monday morning, all northbound lanes of the 5 Freeway were closed, but the southbound side of the freeway had fully reopened.

The northbound closure was expected to last through at least 10 a.m., according to California Highway Patrol.

About 320 personnel with the U.S. Forest Service and Los Angeles County Fire Department were battling the blaze on the ground and in the air.

“When you couple the really aggressive and unusual fire behavior we’ve been experiencing this year, and then you tie in the relative low humidity with the high temperatures, it can be very strenuous on the firefighters, USFS spokesperson John Miller told CBSLA Sunday.

There was no word on a cause. Two firefighters suffered burn injuries, but no structures were damaged.

Brush fire burns 4 acres in Angeles National Forest

A brush fire burned four acres in the Angeles National Forest on Monday, Sept. 6, but firefighters stopped it from spreading further.

No one was injured, according to John Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service. He said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

He said a U.S. Forest Service employee patrolling the East Fork area saw fire at 7:53 a.m. one mile north of East Fork Road and Glendora Mountain Road. The fire was one or two acres in size by the time it was discovered, he added.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department assisted the U.S. Forest Service. Three helicopters and two air tankers were used.


Small Brush Fire Breaks Out In Angeles National Forest

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Firefighters battled a small brush fire which sparked in the Angeles National Forest Monday morning.

Sept. 6, 2021. (CBSLA)

The East Fire was reported in dense brush and rugged terrain sometime before 8:15 a.m. on East Fork Road, about a mile north of Glendora Mountain Road, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The area is located about 20 miles north of La Verne.

L.A. County Fire Department sent about 110 personnel to assist USFS crews in the firefight, along with water dropping helicopters.

By 9 a.m. forward progress on the fire had been halted after it had burned about four acres. There was no word on a cause.

All national forests in California were closed to visitors last week because of the wildfire concerns brought on by the hot and dry conditions. The Angeles National Forest will remain closed through at least Sept. 17.

Scorching hot temperatures coupled with low humidity levels have elevated the wildfire risk throughout the Southland region over Labor Day weekend.

South fire evacuations in Lytle Creek lifted; firefighters shore up containment around Roadside fire

Some evacuations near the South fire are being lifted Sunday, as the blaze continues to smolder north of Fontana on the edge of the San Bernardino National Forest.

County Supervisor Janice Rutherford said on Twitter that evacuations for Lytle Creek would lift at around noon, with residents just needing to show proof that they live there to be allowed back in. The area would still be barred to anyone not living in the area.

Evacuations were being lifted despite there being no increase in containment of the fire, which remained at 30% from the night before. But firefighters had appeared to halt the fire’s advance, with the area burned remaining at 819 acres.

Scorching temperatures in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains continued to hamper firefighting efforts, as crews climbing into steep terrain to scratch out containment lines sweltered in temperatures in the mid 90s.

National forest officials said they expected no relief from the weather until at least Monday. They said wind gusts of 20 miles per hour could be expected later Sunday and into Monday.

At least 17 structures have been destroyed in the South fire, including nine homes. Four homes and eight other structures were damaged.

The fire started at around 1:30 p.m. in the 4400 block of Lytle Creek Road on Wednesday.

To the north, firefighters battling the Roadside fire just east of the Cajon Pass were dealing with similar conditions Sunday.

Containment of that blaze stayed at 30%, the same as the day before. But Behrens said firefighters there were working on building up the containment lines they already had around the fire.

That fire was much smaller at just 50 acres, but the blaze complicated efforts for firefighters on the South fire. The Roadside fire is also close to important infrastructure, like the 15 freeway and several rail lines, said Zach Behrens, a San Bernardino National Forest spokesman.

Officials have not determined what caused either fire.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

Mandatory Evacuations Issued As Roadside Fire Scorches San Bernardino

SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA) – Firefighters have issued mandatory evacuations in San Bernardino for a wildfire they are calling an immediate threat to life and property.

The San Bernardino National Forest Service said the Roadside Fire is at 50 acres with no containment as of 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Mandatory evacuations are in effect for all homes and businesses off Cajon Boulevard, between Keenbrook Road and Swarthout Canyon Road, firefighters said.

Firefighters with the National Forest teamed up with the San Bernardino County Fire Department to fight the flames.

No injuries have been reported.

The cause of the fire has not yet been released.

(This is a developing story. Check back for updates.) 

Firefighter Injured While Battling Pallet Fire In Downtown Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Firefighters Saturday battled an intense blaze consisting of wooden pallets in downtown Los Angeles.

Fire crews responded at 3:15 a.m. to 1220 S. Mateo St. where they encountered a 100-foot x 100-foot outside area of stored wooden pallets on fire, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey.

It took 81 firefighters to extinguish the fire in 55 minutes, Humphrey said.

A fire captain suffered an ankle injury during the firefight and was taken to a local hospital in fair condition, Humphrey said.

No other injuries were reported.

A section of Caltrans railing serving the nearby westbound Santa Monica (10) Freeway was disfigured by the fire but no other structures were damaged, authorities said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Small Fire at Good Goose Cafe Leaves Restaurant Closed This Morning

  A small but smoky fire was reported at Good Goose Cafe (5210 Beverly Blvd., just around the corner to the west of Larchmont Blvd.) [more...]

The post Small Fire at Good Goose Cafe Leaves Restaurant Closed This Morning appeared first on Larchmont Buzz - Hancock Park News.

Target evacuated after fire set in dressing room

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has detained the person suspected of arson after a fire was set in the dressing rooms of the West Hollywood Target on Santa Monica Blvd. and La Brea. The store was evacuated at approximately 10:40 a.m. Tuesday as alarms and sprinklers were going off. The L.A. Fire Department responded […]

The post Target evacuated after fire set in dressing room appeared first on WEHOville.

La Verne names new fire chief

After more than two years of revolving interim leadership, the La Verne Fire Department has a new chief.

The City Council on Monday, Aug. 16, unanimously approved hiring Christopher Nigg, a 20-year veteran of fire and emergency medical services, to lead the department. Nigg, currently fire marshal for the cities of Fullerton and Brea, is expected to step into his new role on Aug. 30.

“I am honored to have been selected as La Verne’s incoming Fire Chief,” Nigg said in a news release Wednesday. “I intend to deliver steadfast and inclusive leadership to this great Fire Department. The collaborative efforts ahead will work to best position the Department so that its proud Firefighters can provide a sustainable, yet innovative service model for the community’s needs.”

Nigg’s background includes experience in fire department operations and administration, fire prevention, community risk reduction and emergency management. He has also served as president of the Orange County Fire Marshals and president of Fullerton Fire Management Association, among other positions.

At the La Verne council meeting Monday, Mayor Tim Hepburn said hiring Nigg will begin to stabilize the embattled Fire Department, which has seen years of constant turnover. In June, fire personnel within the department departed for other opportunities after the council rejected Hepburn’s proposal to take $1.5 million from reserve funds to boost staffing.

“This is way overdue, our community has been torn apart for many years now with the Fire Department. It’s time to rebuild and put someone in those shoes that can do that,” Hepburn said. “Our community deserves a fully functioning Fire Department.”

“About time,” Councilman Rick Crosby added. “The city has spent way too long on interim fire chiefs.”

The department’s leadership has turned over five times since 2019, when former Chief Pete Jankowski went on medical leave before retiring. Since then, police Chief Nick Paz and others served stints of various lengths as interim fire chief. In May 2020, the city began looking for a permanent fire chief.

Meanwhile, the Fire Department has battled through internal issues, including recruitment and retention of staff. These concerns, paired with “unforeseen challenges from COVID-19,” delayed the hiring of a permanent chief, the city said Wednesday.

Andy Glaze, president of La Verne Firefighters’ Association, said Nigg’s appointment is a welcome sign of progress but that it doesn’t solve other issues such as staff shortages.

“It’s good to finally see some permanent leadership but he’s not a miracle worker, there are still problems here,” Glaze said by phone Tuesday.

La Verne leaders in July voted to move forward with an analysis of the city’s fire and emergency medical services. The comprehensive review will look at all aspects of Fire Department operations and is expected to result in recommendations about how to best utilize city resources to meet community needs.

Talks are ongoing with the Los Angeles County Fire Department on a possible contract to put the city’s fire and emergency medical services under county supervision. Residents will have the final say on a contract. However, that vote won’t take place until June 2022.

“The new Fire Chief will continue its discussions with the City on establishing a collaborative path forward while discussions with L.A. County Fire continues,” the city said. “If the County terms are favorable, they will be put on the June 2022 ballot for La Verne voters to ratify before being finalized.”

Related links

Part of Nigg’s contract includes one-year of fully compensated severance if the city contracts fire and EMS operations with an outside party, like L.A. County. If Nigg stays through a possible conversion of services, at that point, he would be entitled to severance, City Manager Bob Russi confirmed at the meeting Monday.

Nigg is expected to be sworn in as fire chief during a badge pinning ceremony before the Sept. 6 council meeting.