Long Beach Fire Department Becomes First on West Coast to Provide Recruits Mental Health Training
Newly recruited Long Beach firefighter-paramedics are now being sent into the field estith a few more items in their toolbox—training on how to help people suffering from mental illness.
In late February, the Long Beach Fire Department’s HEART team led the department’s 21 newest recruits on an 8-hour course that teaches a five-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to help those in crisis connect with professional, peer and self-help care.
Deadly mudslides in Southern California
Updated 7:00 PM ET, Thu January 11, 2018
January 9, 2018 – U.S. – Monteciti, California, U.S. – A woman is rescued from a collapsed house by Long Beach Fire Department firefighters on Hot Springs Road in Montecito. Areas that had been roadways, driveways, and homes, are now unrecognizable due to the large amount of mud and debris flows. At least 17 people died and 8 are still missing, as thousands fled their homes in Southern California as a powerful rainstorm triggered flash floods and mudslides on slopes where a series of intense wildfires had burned off protective vegetation last month.(Credit Image: ?? Santa Barbara News-Press via ZUMA Wire) (Newscom TagID: zumaamericasnineteen764901.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]
A member of the Long Beach Search and Rescue team looks for survivors in a car in Montecito, Calif. on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. Several homes were swept away before dawn Tuesday when mud and debris roared into neighborhoods in Montecito from hillsides stripped of vegetation during a recent wildfire.
This aerial photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department shows mudflow and damage to homes in Montecito, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. Anxious family members awaited word on loved ones Wednesday as
A damaged home is shown in Montecito, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. Dozens of homes were swept away or heavily damaged and several people were killed Tuesday as downpours sent mud and boulders roaring down hills stripped of vegetation by a gigantic wildfire that raged in Southern California last month. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
MONTECITO, CA – JANUARY 10: Part of structure sits in a tree after being knocked off its foundation by a mudslide on January 10, 2018 in Montecito, California. 15 people have died and hundreds are still stranded after massive mudslides crashed through Montecito, California early Tuesday morning. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Jan 9, 2018 – Montecito, Santa Barbara County, California, U.S. – KERRY MANN navigates the large boulders and mudflow that destroyed the home of her friend in Montecito. The woman who lives in the home has not been seen since the early hours of Tuesday. At least 15 people died and thousands fled their homes in Southern California as a powerful rainstorm triggered flash floods and mudslides on slopes where a series of intense wildfires had burned off protective vegetation last month. (Newscom TagID: zumaamericasnineteen760940.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]
MONTECITO, CA – JANUARY 9: A view of the 101 freeway from Olive Mill Road in Montecito after a major storm hit the burn area January 9, 2018 in Montecito, California. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Phillip Harnsberger crosses through mud from a flooded creek on Sheffield Drive in Montecito, Calif., following heavy rain, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. Multiple people were killed and homes were torn from their foundations Tuesday as downpours sent mud and boulders roaring down hills stripped of vegetation by a gigantic wildfire that raged in Southern California last month. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker)
Mud fills the interior of a car destroyed in a rain-driven mudslide in a neighborhood under mandatory evacuation in Burbank, California, January 9, 2018.
Mudslides unleashed by a ferocious storm demolished homes in southern California, authorities said Tuesday. Five people were reported killed. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn BeckROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images
In this photo provided by Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Santa Barbara County Fire Search Dog Reilly looks for victims in damaged and destroyed homes in Montecito, Calif. following deadly runoff of mud and debris from heavy rain on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. At least five people were killed and homes were swept from their foundations Tuesday as heavy rain sent mud and boulders sliding down hills stripped of vegetation by a gigantic wildfire that raged in Southern California last month. (Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP)
Mud flows leaves a van stuck in the mud along La Tuna Canyon road in the Sun Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles, on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. Homes were swept from their foundations as heavy rain sent mud and boulders sliding down hills stripped of vegetation by Southern California’s recent wildfires. (David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News via AP)
A police vehicle drives across a flooded side road off the US 101 freeway near the San Ysidro exit in Montecito, California on January 9, 2018.
Mudslides unleashed by a ferocious storm demolished homes in southern California and killed at least 13 people, police said Tuesday. / AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWNFREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
Mud runs over a road on January 9, 2018, in Burbank, California.
Mudslides unleashed by a ferocious storm demolished homes in southern California, authorities said Tuesday. Five people were reported killed. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Mud washes away personal belongings along La Tuna Canyon road in the Sun Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. Homes were swept from their foundations as heavy rain sent mud and boulders sliding down hills stripped of vegetation by Southern California’s recent wildfires. (David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News via AP)
Rushing rainwater fills the Los Angeles river near downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2018. The first significant storm of the season walloped much of California with damaging winds and thunderstorms. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
Cal Fire battles 600-acre wildfire in Tuolumne County.
TUOLUMNE COUNTY, Calif. (KCRA) —
Multiple homes were evacuated as Cal Fire firefighters battle a 600-acre vegetation fire in Tuolumne County. Cal Fire officials said the fire has a “dangerous rate of spread.”
The fire has been 30 percent contained.
All mandatory evacuations have been lifted as of 7 p.m. Saturday.
The following roads are under an evacuation advisory:
+ Campbells Flat Road
+ Meadowlark Lane
+ Blackbird Lane
The following roads are closed:
+ Algerine at Wards Ferry
+ Lime Kiln at Wards Ferry
The wildfire began on the 15000 block of Jacksonville Road before 3 p.m. Saturday and was headed toward Algerine Road. Jacksonville Road at Highway 120 has reopened as of 9 p.m.
The fire, reported shortly after 6 p.m. Monday, raced up the hill around Teakwood Drive, Rosewood Drive and Peppertree Lane, threatening homes in those neighbors. Two outbuildings and fences were also destroyed, and decks and siding were damaged.
Entire neighborhoods stood outside of their homes, enduring the smokey conditions, to watch as firefighters battled the fire.
Redding resident Laura McDuffey took this photograph of the fire from her backyard. (Photo: Photo courtesy of Laura McDuffey)
A fire investigator, looking into what set the fire off, talked to witnesses. Late Monday night, fire crews continued to mop up, and Battalion chief Rob Pitt anticipated they would stay there through the morning to make sure to put out any spots.
The cause remains under investigation, though the initial reports were that some youths had been seen in the greenbelt, a Redding fire official said.
“That would not be abnormal. We have juveniles playing in the greenbelts all the time,” Battalion Chief Rob Pitt said. “Unknown if they are involved, but we do have an investigator on scene.”
Firefighters said Tuesday morning an Arbuckle Court resident heard around 6 p.m. what sounded like a girl screaming from the open space behind his home.
When that resident looked over a fence, he saw the fire burning in the dry grass and two juveniles running from the area, firefighters said.
One of them was described as a boy, about 15 to 18 years old and 5 feet 9 inches tall with blonde hair. He was wearing a turquoise tank top and gray shorts.
The other was a girl about 15 or 16 with brown hair and wearing a pink shirt.
Those with any information about their identities are asked to call 225-4141.
The fast-moving fire gave residents in the area a scare.
Bonnie Boyce, who lives at the corner of Teakwood and Rosewood, said she opened her sliding patio door so her dog, Buddy, could go outside. She smelled smoke, so she went to her front door to investigate.
When she opened the door, she saw the tall flames behind a home and police cars and fire engines rushing down Teakwood.
“I’ve got a bag packed,” she said, holding on to a cool, wet towel around her neck and glass of water in her other hand.
Over the years, firefighters have been called to numerous fires at the same canyon, Pitt said.
When firefighters arrived, it had grown to two acres and was being fanned by a south wind and extreme low humidity of 5 percent to 7 percent.
It pushed the incident from a second-alarm fire, which prompts all eight city engines and available resources to respond, to a third-alarm fire. A third alarm brings out five additional engines from Shasta County fire and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, aircraft and hand crews.
Laura McDuffey, who lives two doors from the house that sustained significant damage, said she went to her neighbors’ homes to alert them about the fire. She and family members grabbed garden hoses in hopes of keeping the fire back.
Wildfire burning near Big Bear Lake grows to 950 acres amid sweltering California heat wave.
A wildfire in the San Bernardino Mountains continued to grow overnight as warm temperatures and low humidity helped push flames over a ridge top and deeper into rugged terrain, authorities said Tuesday. “Compared to fire behavior during the day, the fire did lay down a bit. But the fire did remain active,” said U.S. Forest Service Battalion Chief Chon Bribiescas. The flames chewed through dry chaparral and timber as it moved closer to Highway 18, which is closed between Baldwin Lake and Mitsubishi Plant roads, Bribiescas said. The fire was 950 acres and 10% contained Tuesday morning, officials said. An estimated 450 firefighters are battling the flames. The blaze, dubbed the Holcomb fire, began about 3 p.m. Monday near Holcomb Valley Road and North Shore Drive, the Big Bear Fire Department said. In what was the hottest day of the year so far in the mountains, two firefighters suffered heat-related injuries as the blaze spread across an estimated 850 acres in its first few hours, officials said. Temperatures reached 89 degrees in the mountain area on Monday, and were forecast to be just under that on Tuesday. “Having no cloud cover, high temperatures and those relative low humidities, it’s going to burn pretty good,” National Weather Service meteorologist Jimmy Taeger said. Conditions are expected to improve slightly in the coming days as the heat wave subsides, he said. The flames generated large plumes of smoke that were visible across the region. The smoke and wind prompted the South Coast Air Quality Management District to issue a smoke advisory, warning of unhealthy air in the eastern San Bernardino Mountains. The wildfire was not posing a threat to homes, but the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said the Tanglewood Campground, the Doble Trail campground, the Baldwin Lake area and a nearby waste dump were closed as a precaution.
The blaze, dubbed the Holcomb fire, began about 3 p.m. Monday near Holcomb Valley Road and North Shore Drive, the Big Bear Fire Department said. In what was the hottest day of the year so far in the mountains, two firefighters suffered heat-related injuries as the blaze spread across an estimated 850 acres in its first few hours, officials said. Temperatures reached 89 degrees in the mountain area on Monday, and were forecast to be just under that on Tuesday. “Having no cloud cover, high temperatures and those relative low humidities, it’s going to burn pretty good,” National Weather Service meteorologist Jimmy Taeger said. Conditions are expected to improve slightly in the coming days as the heat wave subsides, he said. The flames generated large plumes of smoke that were visible across the region. The smoke and wind prompted the South Coast Air Quality Management District to issue a smoke advisory, warning of unhealthy air in the eastern San Bernardino Mountains. The wildfire was not posing a threat to homes, but the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said the Tanglewood Campground, the Doble Trail campground, the Baldwin Lake area and a nearby waste dump were closed as a precaution.
Long Beach has a HEART.
The Homelessness Education and Response Team (HEART Unit) went into service on November 15, 2016. Staffed with two Firefighter/Paramedics, the HEART Unit works throughout the city connecting individuals experiencing homelessness with resources provided by the City of Long Beach Homeless Outreach Network. The HEART unit may assist units on scene of emergency responses to free up fire resources, thereby decreasing response times and improving service to the community.
1 KILLED, 6 INJURED IN LONG BEACH APARTMENT FIRE
One person was killed and six others were injured during an apartment fire in Long Beach on New Year’s Day, according to officials.
The Long Beach Fire Department said the blaze happened in the 5500 block of Dairy Avenue before 7:30 p.m.
When crews arrived to the two-story apartment complex they found fire and heavy smoke billowing from the first floor.
Firefighters were able to knock the fire down at about 7:40 p.m. A body was discovered in a first-floor unit where the fire was believed to have originated.
During the blaze, officials said a family of five living in the unit above the apartment where the fire sparked had to flee to safety.
A 28-year-old man who jumped from the second floor balcony was taken to the hospital, according to the fire department. Officials didn’t disclose the extent of his injuries.
The fire department said a 26-year-old woman, two boys, ages 9 and 7, and a 4-year-old girl were treated and released at the scene.
A 24-year-old woman who cut her leg on glass was also treated and released at the scene.
Officials said out of six apartment units, two sustained damage. The blaze remained under investigation.
Death Toll in Oakland Warehouse Fire Rises to 36 as Search Continues
Nikki Kelber and Carmen Brito describe seeing entire walls and a hallway engulfed in flames before escaping from the burning warehouse.
By ELSA BUTLER and THOMAS FULLER on Publish DateDecember 5, 2016. Photo by Jim Wilson/The New York Times. Watch in Times Video »
OAKLAND, Calif. — Carmen Brito was asleep on Friday night when she suddenly woke up gasping for breath. Outside her small studio, one floor down from where a raging concert was taking place, she saw her neighbor’s wall on fire.
“I’m pretty sure I was the first person to see the fire, and when I saw it, it was bigger than I was,” said Ms. Brito, 28. The inferno killed at least 36 people and is regarded as one of the worst structure fires in the United States in over a decade.
On Sunday, firefighters were digging through the ruins of the warehouse, where people had gathered for an electronic dance show on Friday when flames ripped through the building, collapsing the floors. The search of the building, which had only two exits, could continue for days, officials said at a news conference, warning that the death toll could climb considerably higher.
The authorities said on Monday that 11 victims have been positively identified. One victim was the son of a local law enforcement officer, said Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County sheriff’s office. “This tragedy has hit very close to home for our agency,” he said. Other victims were from countries in Europe and Asia. The officials were in the process of contacting agencies abroad.
More than 35 people were killed on Friday night in a warehouse fire in Oakland, Calif. The authorities expect the death toll to rise.
Ms. Brito was just one member of a community of roughly 25 artists who inhabited the building illegally — but in plain sight of Oakland city officials. The building, which was known as the Ghost Ship and has been under investigation for code violations, had a permit to function as a warehouse, but not as a residence or for a party. A criminal investigation began on Sunday.
Ms. Brito said the fire started at the very back of the building, in a studio next to hers, when the couple who occupied the room were gone. She said a firefighter investigating the blaze had asked her whether the couple had recently installed a refrigerator, which they had, raising the possibility that the building’s electrical system played a role. The officials said on Monday that they believed they had identified the section of the building where the fire started, but cautioned that they were no closer to finding a cause.
Ms. Brito and another survivor, Nikki Kelber, 44, said the building’s renters had repeatedly asked its owner to upgrade the electrical system, which failed often enough that residents had flashlights in their studios.
Ms. Kelber and Ms. Brito said that the building had many fire extinguishers and that one of the residents, Max Ohr, tried to use one on the flames but soon gave up.
“It was like trying to put out a bonfire with a squirt gun,” Ms. Brito said.
The residents of the building said they had been priced out of parts of the San Francisco Bay Area that have become increasingly unaffordable. They called themselves refugees and were happy to be living among a community of like-minded artists paying an affordable rent.
Oakland itself has seen rents and home prices skyrocket with the technology boom. The high cost of living has led to alternative housing arrangements across the region, from a community of homes made of shipping containers to lines of recreational vehicles on Silicon Valley side streets.
But these spaces, while often illegal, are subject to the same market forces rippling through the broader market. That has given outsize power to the so-called master tenants who control the lease of a building and, at least in some cases, can make money by subletting to struggling artists willing to live in substandard conditions.
The Ghost Ship was one of these illegal living spaces. Residents and visitors described it as both a haven for artists and a fire trap, with a warren of trailers, broken pianos and stacks of wood and a complex network of electrical cords and generators.
It was home for jewelers, metalworkers, dancers, musicians and others, and parties that brought hundreds to its labyrinthine corridors. But it was also plagued by discord and the whims of its two master tenants, Derick Ion Almena and Micah Allison, who lived there with their three children, ages 13, 7 and 6.
Several residents said they were lured in by the promise of cheap rent and a creative community, only to find that their new home had no heat, sporadic electricity and a master tenant — Mr. Almena — who would bring in homeless people to harass residents who crossed him. Mr. Almena was serving a sentence of three years’ probation, having pleaded no contest in January to a felony charge of receiving stolen property. Mr. Almena and Ms. Allison could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
“A lot of people were his friend because they believed in the miracle,” said Shelley Mack, 58, who moved into the space in October 2014, paying $700 to live in a mobile home inside the warehouse. “But it was a sick place.”
Ms. Mack left after several frightening episodes, she said. In one, she said, a friend of Mr. Almena’s pulled a gun on several residents.
In March 2015, the Alameda County Social Services Agency removed Mr. Almena and Ms. Allison’s children from their custody after relatives expressed concerns about safety. The agency returned the children this past June.
People familiar with the space questioned why the police did not do anything to shut down the Ghost Ship.
“That place was a tinderbox,” said Danielle Boudreaux, 40, who had visited the warehouse. “Anybody who went in there who had any kind of authority should have not allowed it to continue.”
Mr. Ohr, who took on a supervisory role among tenants, said they told the landlord that the electrical system needed upgrading. “We reached out on multiple occasions, complaining that the power wasn’t working,” Mr. Ohr said. “They made no attempt to make it right.”
The area where the fire had started had been closed off to the partygoers and was “unmonitored,” Mr. Ohr said. “There are plenty of signs that point to it being an electrical fire.”
Ms. Kelber’s studio was near one of the building’s exits, and when she spotted a “ball of fire” coming down the hallway she had only seconds to react. “After 15 seconds, the power went out, and another 30 seconds later it was completely engulfed. It went so fast.”
Ms. Kelber and Ms. Brito described confusion in the seconds after the fire was discovered because the urgent and panicked cries of residents were drowned out by a D.J.’s music in the building’s mezzanine, where the concert was underway.
The wooden statues, exposed beams and countless other objects made of timber on the ground floor of the building helped fuel a fire that raged for hours and gutted the entire structure.
Oakland Warehouse Was Used Illegally for Performances and Residences
The fire that killed more than 30 people on Friday in Oakland occurred in a warehouse that was being used as an artistic and performance venue.
The building, known as the Ghost Ship, also housed a community of roughly 25 artists who lived in the building even though it should not have had residents.
Carmen Brito, who lived in an apartment at the back of the first floor, said she thought the fire started in a studio next to hers.
The warehouse had two floors and two entrances, and it was filled with vintage furniture, rugs and other objects, as well as musical instruments.
Besides the front entrance on 31st Avenue, there was a side entrance that had been cut into the south wall that opened onto a vacant lot. There was also an opening in the north wall on the second floor that provided access to a bathroom in the adjacent building, according to Omar Vega, the owner of Custom O’s, an automotive shop on the first floor.
Inside the front entrance was a stairway that had been added to the original warehouse space, Mr. Vega said. The stairway wound to the left up to the second floor, where a performance of electronic music had drawn several dozen people on Friday night.
The authorities said the evacuation of the building may have been complicated by those stairs, which were at least partly constructed of pallet wood.
Residents and visitors described the building as both a haven for artists and a fire trap, with a warren of trailers, broken pianos and stacks of wood and a complex network of electrical cords and generators.
HESPERIA, Calif:(VVNG.com)- Firefighters made significant progress over the last 24 hours and the Pilot Fire is now at 64% containment and 7,861 acres.
A total of 1,746 personnel are assigned to the Pilot Fire including, 105 engines, 14 water tenders, 12 helicopters, 1 air tanker, 46 hand crews, and 18 dozerz.
Today’s temperature is expected to be warmer with a high near 90 degrees, humidity is expected to remain in the low teens. Winds will continue out of the south-west from 10-15 mph with gust as high as 30 mph.
Inmate Fire Crews were deployed to the Pilot Fire on August 7th & 8th with a 20 man team. On August 9th & 10th a 10 man team responded to the fire. The Inmate Fire Crews have worked tirelessly alongside firefighters digging trenches and clearing brush.
Inmate Crews (photo courtesy of SBSD Headquaters)
A wildfire that has scorched more than 5,200 acres in the San Gabriel Mountains above Duarte and Azusa was 62% contained as of early Sunday morning, according to the U.S. Forest Service.The San Gabriel Complex fire is actually two fires that started on Monday — the Reservoir fire and the Fish fire — that forced hundreds of residents to evacuate over the last week as high temperatures baked Southern California.
By Saturday, firefighters appeared to be gaining the upper hand. Evacuation orders were lifted and an American Red Cross evacuation center was closed. The forest service also reopened the Chantry Flats Recreation Area. Fire officials complained, however, that several drones had been spotted over the fire this weekend, forcing them to temporarily halt air operations. Some firefighters have been airlifted by helicopter to remote stretches of the fire.
2 FIRES CHAR 4,400 ACRES WITH NO CONTAINMENT IN ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST ABOVE AZUSA, DUARTE
By Leo Stallworth and ABC7.com staff
Fire boats respond to a fire on the Seal Beach Pier on May 20, 2016. (Credit: KTLA)
The old Ruby’s Diner building at the end of the Seal Beach Pier was gutted by a spectacular fire that sent smoke towering over the coastline Friday morning.
The fire was first reported about 7:45 a.m., Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Larry Kurtz said.
The building that burned was once home to a Ruby’s Diner, which closed in 2013. Smoke was still coming out of the gutted structure more than 7 hours after the fire broke out, and firefighter expected it would be smoking for hours to come.
Aerial video from Sky5 showed three boats initially surrounding the old restaurant, using water cannons to douse the flames.
“A fire on a building at the end of a pier is definitely a challenge,” Kurtz said.
Firefighters ran hose for hundreds of feet down the course of the pier, and boats from the Long Beach Fire Department were helping, he said. Dozens of fire engines could also be seen parked near the pier.
Crews tried to keep the flames from burning too much of the actual pier, Kurtz said.
A fourth boat, described as the largest fire boat on the West Coast in a tweet by the Long Beach Fire Department, later joined the fight and put two more large streams of water onto the flames.
The intense streams of water coming from the Long Beach boat was so strong it stripped roofing off the burning building, video showed.
The roof appeared to have collapsed once the flames were largely extinguished. It was not clear how much damaged was done to the pier itself.
Kurtz said he did not know when fire inspectors had last visited the building.
The restaurant’s closure prompted a fence to be erected to keep people from going into the abandoned structure, Seal Beach Police Department Lt. Michael Henderson said.
The fence has been a sore spot in the community, where some have called for the business to be torn down so access to the end of the pier could be restored.
Friday’s fire was not the first incident to leave the pier in need of repair.
A storm in 1983 tore more than a thousand feet of deck off the pier’s pilings, the Los Angeles Times reported.
It was damaged again when fires struck in 1992 and 1994, according to the Times.
And just last year, powerful winds and surf from Hurricane Marie caused some structural damage, the Orange County Register reported.
The cause of Friday’s fire was under investigation and firefighters continued to overhaul the scene in the afternoon hours.
Investigators from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were aiding in the case, Kurtz said.
“We’re going to be here for probably a few more hours. It’s dirty work; it’s very long work. But we are going to find out what caused this fire,” Kurtz said.
The pier will likely remain closed until the fire’s cause has been determined.