Category Archives: Featured Fire News & Firefighter Stories

Stockton Firefighter Injured

A firefighter who had climbed into a north Stockton commercial building’s attic to quell a growing electrical fire Friday afternoon was injured when he stepped on an access panel and crashed through the ceiling, falling 14 feet to the floor below.

The firefighter, Ken Suzuki, 34, was taken to St. Joseph’s Medical Center, where he remained in stable condition Friday evening.

Fire Chief Ron Hittle was with Suzuki at the hospital on Friday afternoon.

“My firefighter’s going to be OK,” he said.

Suzuki suffered facial injuries; he hit a wall and some furniture as he fell, and landed face-down.

Hittle said Suzuki, who has been with the Fire Department nearly two years, might have sustained a broken arm, though an X-ray to determine that had yet to come back.

“He’s very lucky,” Hittle said. “Again, part of our gear – our helmet and everything that we wear – saved him.”

Suzuki, with Engine No. 13, was part of the Fire Department’s two-alarm response to a 2:30 p.m. fire at Mancini’s Sleepworld, at 702 W. Hammer Lane.

Mike Hughes, an employee of Mancini’s, said a passerby warned him the outside of the building was on fire.

There was no evidence of fire inside Mancini’s, Hughes said, but outside, smoke could be seen rising from the northwest corner of the building, shared with the adjacent Toys “R” Us store.

“We came outside, noticed it, and called the Fire Department,” Hughes said.

When firefighters arrived, they headed to the building’s roof and attic, where several small fires had started after an electrical overload.

West Coast 911 Firefighting News Source – The Record

Summer Season Brings Rash of Arsons

When it comes to fires in the city of Fresno, Investigator Gerry Rodriguez has a job to do.

“My job is to find out how it started,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez is part of the Fresno City Fire Department’s Arson Investigation Unit; a team that sees little downtime, especially here in the Valley.

“As you know, we’re 5th in the nation in the number of arson fires. So we have a significant problem. I’d say about half of our fires are arson related,” Fire Marshal Kerri Donis said.

Chief of Investigations Don MacAlpine says statistically juveniles make up the majority when it comes to those involved with fires, whether it’s because curiosity or less-than-smart choices.

But the recent rash of arsons goes way beyond childhood mischief.

“When it comes to downright arson, they’re being more than curious, they’re being downright malicious, they’re being willful,” MacAlpine said.

What they’re also being are criminals.

“We don’t take that lightly. We’re not quick to want to put a juvenile into custody. But we will and we do when appropriate,” MacAlpine said.

Like the case this week when police arrested a child believed to be responsible for six arsons.

And fire officials say kids make up a significant portion of their caseload right now; intentional and not.

“School’s out. For some reason, kids, juveniles are fascinated with fire. You’d be surprised how many we get that are juveniles and just out of curiosity,” Rodriguez said.

“I’ve had many people arrested for homicide, great bodily injury, major fire damage and their statements are, I never intended for it to do that. I just wanted to make a statement,” MacAlpine said.

It’s a statement fire officials want to prevent and they say parents have the power to do it by talking to their kids if they notice an unsettling sudden interest in fire.

“Certainly don’t want kids to continue down that course and then all of the sudden the house is now on the ground because they wish they would have said something earlier,” Donis said,

For Gerry Rodriguez and the rest of Fresno City’s Arson Team, as long as fires are set, the workload never ends.

“You have to document everything you did on scene.”

It’s a tedious task both in and out of the office.

Something a lot people might not realize is this rash of arsons can also affect them as homeowners or business owners.

The reason being, if you have a certain number of fires and/ or arson’s in your area, your insurance is likely to go up.

The Fresno Fire Department also has a Juvenile Fire Education Program where kids can learn early on about the dangers of fire.

Fire officials say they’re also continuing to look for the person or persons responsible for a rash of arson’s at Bullard High School over the last few months.

Anyone with information is asked to call the investigations unit at 621-4444.

Fresno Firefighter Honored for saving life

Fresno firefighter Steve McGary was honored in a ceremony at the Senior Citizens Village for rescuing resident Richard Parsley, 74, from a burning apartment. Fresno City Council member Mike Dages presented McGary with a proclamation for “Steve McGary Day”.

Parsley was asleep in his one-bedroom apartment May 5th when a lighted cigarette started a fire in a wastebasket that burned a desk and the carpet. Parsley was overcome by smoke but managed to set off an alarm. A neighbor who heard the alarm called 911.

When fire crews arrived, from a medical aid call in the complex, McGary rushed into the apartment without his breathing aparatus and carried Parsley to safety.

Announcing the 13th Annual Craig Alder Charity Golf Tournament

Announcing the 13th Annual Craig Alder Charity Golf Tournament! Craig Alder, the son of retired LAFD (Los Angeles City) Fire Captain Rich Alder and brother of SBFD (San Bernardino City) Battalion Chief Mike Alder, was an SBFD firefighter whose career was cut short when he suffered serious brain injuries after being struck by a car while crossing the street in his home town of Temecula. Family and friends have put together this annual golf tournament for Craig and his family, wife Buffy and two sons Jake and Wyatt, to help ease the financial burden of living expenses plus his continuing care and rehabilitation. Last year’s tournament was a huge success and we sincerely appreciate the support of the LAFD, SBFD and many other fire departments, friends and families.

 Craig Alder - 1995

This year’s tournament will be held Monday, September 14, 2009 at the Temecula Creek Inn Golf Club in Temecula, Calif. The tournament will be a four person scramble format with a 9:00 AM shotgun start. Men and ladies are welcome and you may enter as a foursome or as individuals. The entry fee is $125.00, which includes golf, cart, banquet lunch and T-shirt.

Hole sponsors and tee sponsors are also needed. Entry blanks will be sent to past participants and you may get further information by contacting Mike Alder at (951) 972-7878 or by clicking on the attached documents below.

Thank You in advance for your support,

Michael Alder

13th Annual CA Golf Cover

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 Mike & Craig Alder 1995

San Bernardino City Fire Responds to Fatal Traffic Collision

At 3:41 pm June 24, 2008 one unit from San Bernardino City Fire Department responded to reports of a vehicle crash into a tree with fire involved. Enroute to the call the initial engine responding called for an additional engine due to the large column of smoke.

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A truck with extrication equipment was also dispatched to the incident because of additional reports of a person trapped in the vehicle. There was heavy fire involvement to the vehicle as well as a tree and surrounding shrubbery upon arrival. Unfortunately the driver of the vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene due to his injuries.

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San Bernardino Firefighters Battle Motel Blaze

First-Hand Account

Submitted by Ben Alexander

Photo By Ben Alexander

On February 24th units from the San Bernardino City Fire Department responded to a multiple alarm fire located in a downtown motel. Initial arriving units encountered heavy smoke and fire conditions coming from two motel rooms located on the second floor of the 2 story motel. An aggressive interior attack was initiated simultaneously with vertical ventilation.

“We knocked the fire down very quickly and a search of the motel rooms was completed with no one found”. “This was our second working structure fire for the shift… It’s good to be back at station 222!”

San Bernardino City Firefighters Battle 2 Alarm Structure Fire

First-Hand Account 

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When the first SBFD unit arrived they saw heavy smoke and fire coming from the inside and 20 ft flames coming from the 2nd story windows of a vacant 3000 square foot two story home.  Firefighters made entry through the front door and extinguished the fire on the first floor while other crews simultaneously assisted them with extinguishing the 2 floor.  “Conditions were very hot… Continue reading San Bernardino City Firefighters Battle 2 Alarm Structure Fire

SBFD Confined Space Training Drill

First-Hand Account

SBFD Rescue 230 On the evening of February 12th, 15 members from SBFD specializing in Confined Space Ops simulated a ‘kid down in a storm drain’. Normally we run our drills during the day but we chose to do it at night this time to change it up a little. It added a little more work dealing with lighting and also vehicle and spectator traffic was a little higher making it even that much more realistic. We had an 8 foot drop into a small vault which had a horizontal pipe that went about 100 feet to another small vault/storm drain.
Continue reading SBFD Confined Space Training Drill

Pilot Makes Emergency Landing – San Bernardino

First-Hand Account

Submited by Engineer Yellen, San Bernardino City FD

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“Today, I was working my first shift back at our Central station with my new crew.  We ran a call for an in-flight emergency with malfunctioning landing gear.  Turns out that this gentleman had thousands of hours of flight time and was Bob Hope’s personal pilot.  I give him kudos for an incredible landing that we got to witness while doing the ARFF stand-by”.

Here is some additional info from the official press release:
Continue reading Pilot Makes Emergency Landing – San Bernardino