Thursday, February 28, 2013

Vehicle Fire Closes Highway 67

Moreno Valley-

On Thursday, February 28th 2013 at 6:44 PM, the Lakeside Fire District received multiple calls from motorist about a vehicle fire near Highway 67 and Johnson Lake Road. Two structural engines and a duty chief were dispatched to the incident.

Crew members from Engine One attack the fire.
Firefighter-Paramedic Chris Williams gets a knockdown on the fire.
While traveling north on Highway 67 approaching fire units could see a column of smoke with an obvious red glow in the sky. Engine 1 (Riverview Station) arrived and found a fully involved vehicle in the southbound lanes of Highway 67. Crew members pulled attack lines and started the process of knocking down the fire. CHP closed Highway 67 due to the on-going operations and the proximity of the fire to passing vehicles.

The vehicle was being towed behind an RV at the time of the fire. The owner disconnected the car from the RV in time to prevent the fire from consuming both vehicles.

Cause of the fire is undetermined. The roadway was re-opened after a short closure.A total of 7 Lakeside personnel responded to the incident. Units dispatched:

Engine 1

Engine 3

Lakeside Duty Chief

4105 (Tockstein)

Submitted By: Fire Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire District
Photos By: Fire Engineer Robert Williams, Lakeside Fire District

Monday, February 25, 2013

Firefighters Battle Blaze in Wrecking Yard

Lakeside: Firefighters were called today, February 25, 2013, to the 15200 block of Olde Hwy 80 for reports of several cars on fire in a wrecking yard.  As units left their stations there were several reports of a large column of smoke being visible from far away.  E26 was the first arriving unit, reporting there was a large area of fire and heavy smoke coming from the center of the wrecking yard.  E26 did a "driveway lay" into the yard and advanced into the property to investigate what exactly was on fire.  E2, which was the next unit to arrive, attached to E26's hose lay and advanced it to a hydrant 500 feet up the road.  This would ultimately be one of the 3 supply lines that were deployed on the fire.


E26 made their way into the middle of the property and found a large pile of wrecked vehicles that were engulfed in flame.   Adjacent the pile of vehicles there was a large container, roughly the size of a semi truck trailer, filled with used tires that were also on fire.  The fire load was extremely large so there was a great deal of smoke being produced when crews arrived.
As engines began arriving it was clear that this would be an operation that would require a tremendous quantity of water to suppress the fire.  Flowing simultaneously on this fire were two deck guns (capable of over 1,000 gpm each), the aerial from Santee Truck 4,  two 2.5” hoselines and two 1.75” line.  This collection of attack lines and devices were putting over 3,000 gallons of water per minute onto the fire, and it was still not going out quickly.
Once much of the fire had been knocked down it was decided that the best way to get at the remaining fire was to use tractors to pluck the cars off the pile, putting them down somewhere crews could extinguish them.  This went on for several hours as the fire slowly went out. This fire shows how effective the automatic aid agreements we have in place are.

The agencies involved were: Lakeside Fire, El Cajon Fire, Santee Fire, Alpine Fire, Cal Fire, San Diego County HazMat, San Diego City Fire HazMat the CHP and SDSO.  Some of these agencies were involved because of their proximity at the time of dispatch, others were involved because of their specialized training.  Working together with several agencies seamlessly is something fire agencies in San Diego County do better than almost anywhere else in the world.

This fire did not result in any injuries to civilians or firefighters.  It was determined that the areas immediately surrounding the fire should be evacuated to ensure the public’s safety.  Once the fire was extinguished all of the employees at the surrounding companies were able to return.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Story and Video by Captain Bernie Molloy
Photos By Engineer Shawn McKenna

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Early Morning Fire Displaces Family


On February 22, 2013, firefighters responded to an early morning report of a residential structure fire in the 10000 block of River Street in Lakeside. Lakeside Engine 2, which was the closest unit to the fire, reported smoke showing from their station as they were responding to the incident. Firefighters immediately knew there would be a substantial fire given that smoke was visible from this far away. When E2 arrived a few minutes later they reported they were on scene at a single family occupancy with heavy smoke and fire showing from the front of the building.
The structure after the main fire had been contained
Lakeside E1 and M2 arrived just behind E2 and assisted pulling off hoselines to begin a rapid attack on the fire. Additional resources begin arriving at the scene to assist in the fire attack, including El Cajon Battalion 3, Santee Engine 4, Santee Truck 4 and Lakeside Engine 3 and Lakeside Battalion 1.  This incident, like all other incidents in east county, received the closest units to the address at the time of the fire.  

Hoselines entering through the window
When a fire is dispatched at this time of the morning fire crews primary concern is that there maybe occupants in in the home.  Overnight fires tend to catch residents asleep in their beds so their reaction is slower to the fire, especially if there are no smoke detectors in the home.  When crews arrived at this fire  the first priority was rescuing any occupation that may be home. At this fire, however, there was so much fire coming from the building that it had to be knocked down before crews could make entry.  Once inside the structure teams were able to conduct a primary search for people in the building. The SDSO was  on scene by this point and had tied-in with the Incident commander to confirm that the family had been accounted for and was out of the structure. Unfortunately, a family pet did succumb to the fire.

The extent of the burning can be seen in this picture
The progress of the fire was stopped quickly after the engine companies arrived on scene but there was extensive damage done to the structure. Due to the lath and plaster construction of this occupancy there was expensive overhaul involved in making sure that all of the hidden fires within the structure were put out.  

The cause of the fire, as reported by several media outlets, was a space heater in one of the front bedroom of the home.  This fire displaced one family and a family pet died in the blaze.  One of the residents of the home was transported to an area hospital for assessment.

The structure after all overhaul was completed

Photos and Story By: Captain Bernie Molloy

Media coverage of the incident with fire footage:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Remembering Haiti

Carrefour, Haiti-

On January 12th, 2010 a magnitude 7.0 earthquake rattled the island nation of Haiti. In the subsequent days the island continued to shake with 52 aftershocks of 4.5 (or greater). All essential services were immediately lost and an estimated 3 million people found themselves in the dark without medical services to treat the sick and injured.

Lance with some of the local Haitian children.
Immediately after the quake Fire Engineer-Paramedic Lance Buford knew he wanted to help, so he made contact with an organization UM/Medishare that was providing continued medical assistance near the epicenter in Carrefour, Haiti. But Lance faced a very expensive trip to the island as all costs came out of his pocket, and he would need to arrange for time off to make the trip.

Lance holds one of Haiti's smallest victims.
Fortunately the Lakeside Firefighters Association stepped in with a monetary donation to get him on his way. So some three months after the initial disaster Lance found himself on a Delta jet winging his way to an environment that would prove emotionally, and physically trying.

Assigned to a field hospital Lance would be working with a team of two doctors and four nurses (Lance would be the sole paramedic). The hospital continued to treat those hurt in the initial quake, but additionally they would treat those suffering from ailments and everyday medical needs. About 250 patients would make the trip to the hospital each day for treatment of everything from child birth to those struck by lightning. But the vast majority were suffering from profound dehydration. This overwhelming case load would continue throughout his 17 day deployment to the island.

Upon returning to the states Lance set out on a effort to return to Haiti, but it was not to be. With teams returning, and the expenses related to the first trip, he never made the return visit. But as Lance looks back he continues to have a great deal of pride from the team's accomplishments.

Estimates of the death toll range from 46,000 to 85,000 victims. It's estimated that today a half million Haitians still have no permanent residence.  

Story By: Fire Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire Protection District
Photos By: Fire Engineer/Paramedic Lance Buford, Lakeside Fire Protection District

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Tuesday February 12, 2013 units from the Lakeside Fire Protection District assisted the Santee Fire department with a garage fire in a condominium complex at the north end of the city.  The dispatch was shortly before 7am and Lakeside Division Chief 4106 was on scene first and reported a well involved garage fire.  Santee Truck 4 was the next unit on scene followed closely by Lakeside Engine Company #2.  By the time Truck 4 made access to the garage to start the fire attack, Engine 2 had secured a water source and stretched attack lines to the front of the garage and were able to knock down the fire before it extend into any of the homes.  No one was injured and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Units on scene: Santee Truck 4, Engine 5, Rescue 5, Medic 5, 4201, 4202, and 4203.  Lakeside units at scene were Engine 2, Engine 1, and 4106.

Gas Leak Closes Blossom Valley Road

Blossom Valley-

On Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 at 8:47 AM, the Lakeside Fire Protection District received a call about a ruptured natural gas line in the 10000 blk of Blossom Valley Road. The reporting party stated that the service line to the residence had been ruptured and was leaking gas.

Crews staff a charged hose line in anticipation of SDG&E crews working in close proximity.
On the arrival of Engine 26 (Blossom Valley Station) they determined a gas line had been ruptured during the installation of a fence and the leak was deep inside of a post hole. Because of the vicinity of the leak next to the roadway the decision was made to close Blossom Valley Road. On the arrival of 4103 (Laff) he assumed command of the incident and assigned 4702 (Rushing, Alpine FD) to a safety position.

A firefighter stands at the ready with a charged hose line while a SDG&E crew works near the leak.
A clamp was applied till a permanent repair can be made.
SDG&E arrived and was able to access, and secure the leak. As a reminder, homeowners can call SDG&E prior to a project and they will locate your gas line free of charge.

Units Assigned to Incident:




4103 (Laff)

4702 (Rushing)

Submitted By: Fire Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire Protection District
Photos By: Fire Captain Chuck Palmore, Lakeside Fire Protection District

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Saturday February 9, 2013 was another wood chipping event put on by the Eucalyptus Hills Fire Safe Council.  The event was located at the old Eucalyptus Hills Elementary School (now the East County Charter School) and went from 8am until noon.  Residents of the community could come with as many loads of wood and trimmings as they wanted and have them run through the wood chipper for free during that time.  Lakeside Fire Dept. Engine Company #2 was present to answer any questions about brush clearing around residence, defensible paces, and to help out with loading the wood chipper up.  Many of the residents that came out today made multiple trips keeping everyone busy the entire time.

The Lakeside Fire Department LVG's (Logistical Volunteer Group) were also on hand to assist with traffic and recording information.  For more information on the next wood chipping day contact the Eucalyptus Hills Fire Safe Council.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Station Two Visitor

The crew at Station #2 accept the Lego Fire House from Zack Morris. (Left to Right) Fire Engineer Joe Vasquez, Zack Morris, Fire Captain John Hisaw, Firefighter-Paramedic Danny Leetch, and Firefighter Paramedic Jose Corona.
On February 7, 2013 Zack Morris and his mother Tiffany came by for dinner and a tour of Lakeside Fire Station #2.  A few weeks earlier Zack was kind enough to build a fire station out of Lego blocks and donate it to the fire station.  He was able to see our facilities, look at some of our equipment, and talk about what he has to do to become a fireman.  This has been a goal of his for a while now and was apparent due to his knowledge of the fire service and our equipment. 

From all the firefighters at Lakeside, Thank You Zack. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Lakeside Fire at the Lakeview Elementary School "Bike Rodeo"

Lakeview Elementary-

It's not often that we get to go out and meet the next generation of firefighters, but on February 2nd, 2013, the crew from Station #3 got that opportunity when we were invited to the Lakeview Elementary School "Bike Rodeo." This awesome program is centered around bike safety, but the firefighters and law enforcement also had the opportunity to talk about other safety topics.

Probationary Firefighter Brent Watte talks to the crowd about fire safety.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department were also in attendance to talk with the kids, and the Optimist Club of Lakeside was there cooking some great food.. Of course the firefighters always view this as a recruitment tool as we all knew we wanted to be firefighters in grade school, and given the interest, I think Lakeside will be in good hands for generations to come.

Kids get the opportunity to demonstrate their bike handling skills.
A future Lakeside Firefighter tries on his gear.
A special treat for the crew came when we put our "Probationary Firefighter" in a public speaking role. Asked to give a ten minute talk about fire safety, we think he did a good job for his first time. As you might guess this won't be the last time he's asked to talk in front of a crowd.

Kids get a look a Engine Company 3

Thank You Lakeview Elementary School for inviting us to such a fun event.

 Submitted By: Fire Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire Protection District