California firefighter loses home while fighting another fire


By Ben Aguirre Jr.
The Argus

FREMONT — One of Fremont’s firefighters lost his Santa Cruz County home to a wildfire last weekend as he was battling another blaze in Monterey County, fire officials said.

Richard Simon, a 25-year veteran of the fire department, was fighting fires in King City when he got word of the Trabing Fire, which started Friday afternoon and destroyed 630 acres and several homes, including Simon’s, near Highway 1 north of Watsonville, said Fremont Fire Division Chief Geoff LaTendresse

Simon’s family, including his wife and sons, were home at the time, but they escaped unharmed.

Fremont Fire Capt. Gerry Fogel said the family was able to round up most of the livestock, including horses, but the family lost three goats during the fire on their 3-acre property.

“It just shows that it can happen to anyone, even us,” Fogel said.

Simon has fire insurance. He and his family are staying with a friend for the time being, the officials said.

Firefighters have held an internal fundraiser and a clothing drive for the family, but no public fundraising efforts have been organized, the officials said.

Send Barack Your Baby

There is a hilarious web site, that you will find useful if you’d like Obama to kiss your baby but find it too inconvenient to go to a rally and stand in line. The concept is, you ship your baby to Obama, being sure to complete the “Baby’s Packing Slip”, he kisses it according to your instructions (Kiss, Hug, Give Hope, or Other ___), then ships the baby back to you.

Be sure and check out the Shipping Instructions and the Frequently Asked Questions pages. For example:

How will you return my baby?

Most babies are back home within 14 business days. We send them via insured UPS Ground in a specially designed box, and to avoid mixups, we require that somebody sign for the delivery. Shipping to addresses outside the continental United States can take up to two additional weeks.

Incident logbooks

I recently learned about a new company, InciDocs Publications, that is producing logbooks for Incident Command System positions. They are all 5.5″ x 8.5″ and fit into the cargo pocket of your Nomex pants.

All versions have sections for travel information, in-briefing notes, contacts, web sites, ICS-214 Unit Logs, and a fillable calendar. They have a heavy-duty front and back cover and holders for business cards and receipts.

Logbooks are then customized to distinct ICS positions by inserting a 14-day daily log section that collects information specific to that job function. They can even be further customized by printing the graphic of your agency or incident management team on the cover. They have dozens of logos on file already.

From the web site:

Carrie Dennett, owner of InciDocs Publications, spent 13 years in fire and resource management for the National Park Service. She was the Fire Management Officer for two national parks for the last 6 years and a Fire Ecologist for the previous 7 years at three national parks in Arizona. Though retired from the National Park Service, Carrie still holds a position on a federal type 1 incident management team as a Situation Unit Leader and has responded to many wildland fires and hurricanes with type 1 and 2 teams in the last 7 years.

Thanks, Dean, for the tip.

Fire captain and 15 inmate firefighters injured in crew carrier crash

From the Press-Enterprise:

10:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Press-Enterprise

A bus filled with Riverside County firefighter inmates toppled in Aguanga on Monday night, injuring all 16 on board, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The Riverside County Fire Department bus was leaving the scene of a 20-acre blaze about 7:30 p.m. near Highway 371 and Wilson Valley Road. The Oak Glen Conservation Fire Camp inmate crew was brought in during cleanup efforts to assist firefighters, Riverside County fire officials said.

The driver, fire Capt. Steve Knutson, was headed west on Wilson Valley Road when he began driving down a speed grade, CHP Officer Ron Thatcher said.

He was going too fast and tried unsuccessfully to shift gears, Thatcher said. The bus ran up a dirt embankment and flipped on its right side.

The fire captain suffered moderate injuries and was taken by ambulance to Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar, Thatcher said.

Two inmates were critically injured and one was airlifted to Riverside County Regional Medical Center in Moreno Valley.

Another inmate was reported with moderate injuries and 12 other inmates who suffered minor injuries were treated at the scene, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.