Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Alpine Structure Fire Brings Multi-Agency Response


On the morning of December 24th, 2013 at 8:15 a.m., a commuter on the interstate noticed a large amount of smoke in the area of western Alpine. A call was made to 911 and an Alpine engine company was dispatched to find the source of the smoke. As crews accessed the area it was obvious this was a working structure fire in the 400 blk of Arnold Way. A request was made to upgrade the call which brought a response from Lakeside, Viejas, San Miguel, CalFire, and the USFS.

Alpine crews prepare to make entry into the structure.
A total five engine companies, one truck company, one ALS medic unit, and three chief officers were dispatched to the incident..

As Alpine crews pulled hose lines they were met with a well advancing interior fire that had already spread to the attic space. Lakeside crews went to the roof and performed ventilation, while other crews pulled additional line to back-up the Alpine crew.

Firefighter Brent Watte, and Fire Engineer Nate Fox cut back roofing material looking for hidden fire.
Crews conducted an immediate search and fortunately found no occupants in the structure. It was later learned that the occupant was not at home and was contacted at another location.

Fire Engineer Shaun McKenna coordinates with ground crews to make sure no material from the roof is dropped on interior crews.
Crews continued the task of salvage and overhaul well into the late morning hours. These fires are fine examples of the automatic aid agreements that bring the closest resources to the scene.

Submitted By: Fire Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire District

View 2013 Incident Map in a larger map

Friday, December 20, 2013

Smoke from the River Park

 Lakeside, CA -

The Lakeside Rive Park Conservancy has a permit to burn from the Air Pollution Control District which is issued by the Lakeside Fire Protection District. The issued permit is for fire hazard reduction.  This particular permit is for one or two large burn piles that are surrounded at least 100 feet of clearance.  Residents may see or smell smoke from over a mile away.  These fires are permitted, under the restrictions of the APCD and fire district.

Smoke rises from the San Diego River Bottom
River Park Conservancy personnel must stand by at these burns with hand tools and a water supply.  They must be attended during the entire permissive burn period. (8:15am until 3pm). CALFIRE firefighters may also be in attendance at these burns (under a contract between the Conservancy and CALFIRE) to add an additional level of safety on some days.

We appreciate the community’s interest in this program and for your good-intentioned reports of fires in the Lakeside River Park.

If you are interested in a permit to burn for your property, please contact the Lakeside Fire Protection District office at 619.390.2350 for information; or you can visit your local fire station (during normal business hours), and request a permit from the firefighters on duty.

Fire Chief Andy Parr, Lakeside Fire Protection District

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fire Crews Tackle Midnight River Bottom Fire


Fire crews from multiple agencies responded to a river bottom fire in the 13400 block of Highway 8 Business. The Heartland Communications Center started receiving multiple calls about a fire in the Los Coches Creek area that was quickly approaching structures in a nearby mobile home park. The Heartland Communications Center dispatched three structural engines, one brush engine, a water tender, ALS medic unit, and a chief officer to the 12:33 a.m. fire.

Lakeside Engine 3 working the fire.

Crews arriving from Fire Station #3 (Lake Jennings) reported flames as high as 50' burning in the dead vegetation. Crews took up positions to protect threatened structures while other crews worked to extinguish the fire. The fire was burning in deep layers of dead Arundo that tends to accumulate in waterways since it's introduction into the ecosystem.

It took crews 90 minutes to completely extinguish, and overhaul the fire.

A total of 12 Lakeside personnel responded to the fire, assisted by crews from Heartland Fire & Rescue. Cause of the fire is under investigation.

Submitted By: Fire Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire District
Photo By: Fire Engineer Rich Smith, Lakeside Fire District

View 2013 Incident Map in a larger map

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lakeside Fire to Launch "Lakeside Emergency Net"

After months of development the Lakeside Fire District will debut the "Lakeside Emergency Net" in January 2014. This net is driven towards developing a relationship between the amateur radio community (HAMS) and the Lakeside Fire Protection District. From this relationship it is hoped that this resource can be used to help mitigate future local, and regional, emergencies

The net will be conducted by members of the Communications Volunteer Group from the River Park Fire Station Complex. The first net will be held on January 19th, 2014 at 7:00 pm. The net will be conducted on the East County Repeater Association's Rattlesnake Mountain repeater. The repeater can be found on a frequency of 147.765 with a negative offset frequency. The P/L tone to access the repeater is 79.7

One of the major roadblocks to this net was finding a repeater site that would give good access to radio operators throughout the area. The East County Repeater Association   granted use of their Rattlesnake 2 Meter Repeater for the weekly net. This site is  ideal for the area as it has the ability to hear signals from stations tucked away in many of our remote canyon areas. The Lakeside Fire District would like to thank the members of ECRA for their generosity in allowing us to use the repeater.

Repeater Site
ECRA Rattlesnake Mountain Repeater

So please mark your calendars for the first net on January 19th, and we look forward to amateur radio operators from throughout the area to participate on this new net. If you have any questions (or suggestions) please send them to: radionet@lakesidefire.com 

Submitted: Fire Captain Mark Grow, Communications Volunteer Coordinator

Division Chief Ron Laff Retires from the Lakeside Fire District


Division Chief Ron Laff will celebrate his last day with the Lakeside Fire Protection District on December 15th, 2013. Ron has had a long productive career with the Lakeside Fire District, which included command assignments on the Cedar and Harris Ranch Fires.

Division Chief Ron Laff receives his retirement badge from Lakeside Fire Chief Andy Parr.
Ron's entry into the fire service began as a reserve firefighter with San Diego Rural Fire District out of their Descanso station. His interest in the fire service continued to grow when he was hired by the United States Forest Service in 1978 to serve as a wildland firefighter on an engine crew. In 1983 he was moved from an engine company to serve on a Hot Shot crew cutting hand line in remote locations.

In that same year Ron got hired on at his first municipal fire agency. He would serve a three year stint with the El Centro Fire Department as an engine company firefighter. In 1986 he received word that he would return to San Diego County with a job offer from the Lakeside Fire Protection District. During his time as a firefighter he would receive his paramedic accreditation with UCSD Paramedic Training Class #38.

Ron receives an appreciation plaque from Eric Stamm of the Lakeside Firefighters Association
In 1995 Ron would put his time on the ambulance behind him with a promotion to Engine Company Captain. During this time he would be assigned to various stations throughout the Lakeside area till his promotion to Division Chief in 2001. During his time as a chief officer Ron would serve in management positions on fires throughout the western United States. These assignments would include action on the Cedar Fire in 2003, and the Harris Ranch Fire in 2007.

Ron is looking forward to spending time with his family. But somehow we think Ron will continue to have influence in the fire service for years to come. Enjoy your retirement....!   

Submitted By: Fire Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire District

Sunday, December 8, 2013


 Lakeside, CA -

The winter storm that passed through San Diego County on Saturday, December 7, 2013, brought with it wet weather and hazardous conditions on our roadways.  Firefighters from the Lakeside Fire Protection District and surrounding agencies spent several hours dealing with multiple traffic accidents on the Highway 67 grade just north of Slaughterhouse Canyon Road throughout the day and into the evening.  At one point, there were four accidents at the same time and all were within a half mile of the top of the grade requiring multiple units for each scene.

This is a reminder how dangerous the highways can be in rainy conditions and the importance of slowing down.  This isn't only for driver's safety but also for the safety of the CHP and first responders working on the roadway to mitigate these incidents.

Pictures and Story by: Engineer Matt Buzzell

Friday, December 6, 2013

Smoke Alarms Prevent Kitchen Fire

Winter Gardens, CA - 

Alerted by the sound of smoke alarms and a barking dog, neighbors called 911 and requested the fire department to a home in the Winter Gardens area of Lakeside on the evening of December 6, 2013. Firefighters from Lakeside's Riverview fire station (fs1) arrived in six minutes to discover a downstairs duplex filled with smoke from unattended food burning on the stovetop.

The quick actions of the neighbors coupled with a rapid fire department response averted a possibly devastating fire in this occupied dwelling. This incident also serves as a stark reminder of the value of properly functioning smoke alarms to provide a timely warning of an incipient fire.

In the U.S., a cooking fire occurs approximately every 3 minutes and is, by far, the leading cause of all residential building fires and injuries.

The firefighters serving the Lakeside Fire District strongly encourage all of our residents to ensure that they have properly functioning smoke alarms on every level of their home. We know that working smoke alarms save lives.

Post by: Captain Scott Culkin, Lakeside Fire District