Archive for the ‘Fire’ Category

Contra Costa Fire seeks public’s help identifying Antioch arson suspect

Saturday, March 28th, 2020

Security camera screenshots of Antioch arson suspect. Photos: ConFire

By Steve Hill, Public Information Officer, ConFire

Contra Costa County Fire Protection District’s Fire Investigation Unit is seeking the public’s help in identifying a suspect in a recent Antioch arson fire.

Anyone with information about the pictured suspect is asked to call the Con Fire Arson. Tip Line at 1-866-50-ARSON (7766).

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ConFire crews battle fire at Dow Wetlands Tuesday evening

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

Screenshot of video by Ronn Carter on Tues., March 24 showing fire at Dow Wetlands on the west side of the Antioch Marina. All photos below by W. David Monterroza.

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D.A. charges ConFire EMS Chief with embezzlement and possession of controlled substances

Saturday, January 12th, 2019

Richard P. Stephenson

Due to the investigation by the Martinez Police Department, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office charged 50-year-old Martinez resident Richard P. Stephenson with two felonies for embezzlement and two misdemeanor charges of possessing a controlled substance. 

The embezzlement charges relate to Mr. Stephenson stealing controlled substances belonging to the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District in order to support his personal drug addiction. 

An arrest warrant in the amount of $50,000 was issued on January 9, 2019.  Stephenson was arraigned at the Contra Costa County Superior Courthouse on January 10, 2019, the next court date is February 26th.

The charges filed against Richard Stephenson include:

  • Count 1, Embezzlement by Public or Private Officer – Felony
  • Count 2, Embezzlement by Clerk, Agent or Servant – Felony
  • Count 3, Possession of Fentanyl – Misdemeanor
  • Count 4, Possession of Midazolam – Misdemeanor

Case information: People v. Richard Paul Stephenson, Docket Number 01-188454-3

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ConFire Chief Jeff Carman named state Fire Chief of the Year

Saturday, October 20th, 2018

Fire Chief Jeff Carmen (center) is joined by County Supervisors and members of ConFire staff on Oct. 9, 2018. Photo by Daniel Borsuk

Also honored by County Supervisors

Fire Chief Carman

By Daniel Borsuk

During their meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 9, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors honored Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Chief Jeff Carman for receiving the Ronny Jack Coleman Fire Chief of the Year Award from the California Fire Chiefs Association (CalChiefs).

Carman was presented the award at the association’s annual conference in Sacramento on Friday morning, Sept. 28.

The California Fire Chiefs Association established the award in 2000 to recognize an outstanding member of the state fire service leadership community. The award recognizes a single individual who is a role model for all fire chiefs in the state as demonstrated through leadership and management locally, regionally and statewide.

“The prestigious Ronny Jack Coleman Fire Chief of the Year Award recognizes our member who is a role model for all fire chiefs statewide,” said Jeffrey Meston, President Elect, CalChiefs and Chief, South Lake Tahoe Fire Department. “And, owing to his leadership, and the accomplishments of his district under that leadership, I am pleased to award Jeff Carman this year’s Fire Chief of the Year award on behalf of CalChiefs.”
Carman leads a 400-member ConFire in providing fire and emergency medical response to more than 1 million people in a 304-square-mile area in Contra Costa County.

During his nearly five-year tenure, the chief and his staff have reopened four stations that were closed during the recession, staffed the fire rescue boat, and improved overall fire response times. They also planned and executed implementation of the Offices of Emergency Services Type 2 Hazardous Materials Response team, and developed and expanded a joint venture with the Sheriff’s Office helicopter program for short-haul rescue and firefighting.

Chief Carman and his staff were also created a unique 911 emergency ambulance system called Alliance, a private-public partnership with AMR, which supervisors credited for saving tax dollars and providing improved response times.

“I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of the men and women of our district whose dedication, professionalism and selfless service have made all our accomplishments possible these last five years.,” said Jeff Carman, Fire Chief, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District. “I’m also thankful for the leadership and vision of our county administrator and his staff, and our incredibly supportive fire board members who have, together, created the collaborative environment essential to our success on behalf of the citizens of Contra Costa County.”

Supervisor Karen Mitchoff said Carman has been a “strong voice on statewide mutual aid” at a critical time of large, widespread fires.

“I really appreciate the leadership you have demonstrated, to bring ConFire out of a very challenging situation,” Supervisor Candace Andersen said.

Carman added, “I’m eager to continue our work here, and with my fellow fire chiefs, across the state, to challenge the status quo and continue to drive change in how we deliver better and more effective fire and EMS services to the citizens of our state.”

About Contra Costa County Fire Protection District

Contra Costa County Fire Protection District is a recognized fire service leader providing fire and emergency medical services to more than a million people across a 304 square-mile area, in and around the 20 cities of Contra Costa County, California. In 2017, the District responded to nearly 74,000 fire and EMS emergencies and provided expert medical care in the conduct of more than 75,000 ambulance transports. The District with 25 fire stations and nearly 400 employees is dedicated to the preservation of life, property and the environment.

About California Fire Chiefs Association (CalChiefs)

CalChiefs is a professional association whose vision is to be the voice of the California fire service covering the spectrum of fire and EMS delivery, actively engaging in legislation that affects service delivery throughout the state, including national issues. CalChiefs membership includes leaders at all levels from the more than 800 municipal fire service agencies and fire districts (paid, combination & volunteer), state and federal government agencies, and corporate fire brigades operating in the state of California and associated colleagues from fire service support organizations and vendors. 

Allen Payton and the Richmond Standard contributed to this report.


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County’s Community Warning System functioned properly during Richmond fire Tuesday night

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

A fire burns at Sims Metal Management in Richmond, CA Tuesday night, Jan. 30, 2017. Screenshot of video by ABC7 News.

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

The mission of the Community Warning System (CWS) is to ensure the public gets emergency alerts as quickly and completely as possible once we receive the proper information from the requesting agency. CWS is not an internal notification system for a city or affected jurisdictions.

In regards to yesterday’s fire at Sims Metal Management shop located at 604 S. 4th Street in Richmond, CWS received all of the necessary information from Richmond Fire for an alert at 5:55 PM. There was no request to activate the sirens. The first alert was sent at 6:08 PM through the Telephone Emergency Notification Sys-tem (TENS), which includes phone, text, and email alerts. It is also posted on social media and websites.

As the fire continued to burn and produce smoke, and due to a shift in winds, the shelter-in-place needed to be expanded. CWS worked to get updates to additional shelter-in-place areas as they were requested by Richmond Fire and Contra Costa Hazardous Materials Program.

The second alert went out at 6:44 PM, the third alert went out at 7:57 PM, and the last one went out at 8:50 PM. These alerts went to expanded areas at the request of Richmond Fire and the Contra Costa Hazardous Materials Program.

After the situation became somewhat stabilized and it was believed no additional shelter-in-place areas would be needed, a comprehensive map was created that included all affected are-as and was posted in on our website and Facebook page and sent directly to the media.

“In yesterday’s incident, the CWS worked as designed — alerts were sent once all the information was received from the requesting agency,” said Assistant Sheriff Mark Williams. “Mayor Butt’s statement that it took an hour to get out the first alert after receiving the necessary information from Richmond Fire is totally inaccurate, misleading, and presumptuous.”

CWS continually reviews it system and procedures in an effort to improve delivery of alerts. CWS encourages all county residents to receive alerts by registering at and to follow CWS on Twitter and Facebook at CoCoCWS.

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Supervisors increase fees by 150% for non-franchised solid waste haulers

Friday, January 26th, 2018

Approve purchase of five new fire trucks for Con-Fire

By Daniel Borsuk

Without a whimper of a protest from a non-franchised solid waste hauler, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to make it costly to operate a business in the county.

At the request of District 1 Supervisor John Gioia, supervisors agreed to raise the performance bond to $50,000 from $20,000 even though at one point the supervisor from Richmond attempted to press on the need to lift up the performance bond as much as $100,000.

In addition to paying for the annual performance bond, anyone conducting business as a non-franchise waste hauler in the county would have to pay $229 for an annual permit per vehicle and meet other rules the Contra Costa County Health Services Department has developed.

Independent trash hauling operators would also be subject to annual inspections and would have to adhere to other rules county supervisors established in an ordinance passed last November.

The non-franchised waste haulers ordinance is set to go be enforced in March.  County officials are uncertain how many non-franchise trash haulers there are in the county because they work undercover in warehouses and illegally dump loads usually under the cloak of darkness and in out-of-the-way unincorporated parts of the county.

“I’ve been working on this issue in North Richmond for 20 years, and if they (i.e. homeowners) can hire someone to haul their trash for $20 versus $70 they’ll do it for $20,” said Gioia.  “The question is whether we are setting the bar too low.”

The supervisor contends his District 1 in West county and District 5 in East County represented by supervisor Federal Glover tend to be hit the hardest by non-franchised solid waste haulers who illegally dump trash in unincorporated areas thereby forcing the county to spend thousands of dollars to clean up sites.

“If you make it too expensive, “warned Supervisor Candace Andersen, whose District 2 gets perhaps the least amount of trash illegally dumped by non-franchised haulers, “there will be more of a need for haulers to resort to the black market.”

District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis, who has observed hundreds of paint cans litter Marsh Creek Road, commented, “These people can do a lot of damage with one load.  Twenty thousand dollars for a performance bond is nothing.  I’d like to set it higher. “

At the suggestion of Board Chair and District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, Gioia and other supervisors agreed the $50,000 performance bond would be a good start to assess independent trash haulers not affiliated with either of the two major trash haulers, Republic Services and Mt. Diablo Resource Recovery.  Both companies played key roles in compelling the supervisors to approve the ordinance last year.

District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg said the problem of trash dumped by non-franchised haulers on vacant lots is a countywide problem, not mainly an East and West county issue.  While he supports raising the performance bond to $50,000, he said the board of supervisors needs to be proactive and needs to monitor how the non-franchised trash haulers respond to the new ordinance.

Board chairperson Mitchoff requested that Marilyn Underwood of the Contra Costa Health Services Department, the department enforcing the ordinance, to give the board a progress report in March once the ordinance becomes enforced.

Fire District to Acquire 5 New Trucks

The Contra Costa Fire Protection District will add sorely needed new fire equipment with the supervisors 5-0 consent action approval to buy five new fire engines from Golden State Fire Apparatus Inc. at a price tag not to exceed $4.6 million.  The new vehicles will be delivered to the CCFPD in January 2019.

Supervisors voted to acquire four Type I fire engines and one 100-foot aerial ladder truck from Golden State Fire Apparatus to help alleviate an aging fleet of 35 Type I engines with an average age of 9.3 years per vehicle.  All engines that are more than 10 years old, Fire Chief Jeff Carman reported, have more than 100,000 miles.  Four Type I engines targeted for replacement each have more than 125,000 miles.  One engine sustained a catastrophic motor failure while responding to a state mutual aid response in Southern California this fall.

The new aerial apparatus truck will be the fire district’s 10th ladder truck.

The county has arranged a 10-year lease agreement through PNC Equipment Financial LLC worth an amount not to exceed $4.6 million with annual payments of $460,000 at an annual interest rate of 3.5 percent.

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Transient suspected in Antioch arsons arrested, charged Wednesday with five counts

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

The damage to the interior of the building that housed Paula’s Family Florist on A Street in Antioch. Herald file photo

Contra Costa County Fire Investigators have made an arson arrest in Antioch for several recent fires.

37-year-old José Luis Gomes, a transient living in Antioch, was arrested on December 22, 2017, and was charged yesterday, December 27, 2017, with one count of attempted arson, and four counts of arson to a structure. He is suspected of starting a fire at Paula’s Family Florist shop, and three churches, all in a small geographic area around the A Street corridor.

Other similar fires in the area are still under investigation.

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Arson investigation follows multiple fires in Antioch Thursday night

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

A fire possibly started by an arson that burned the building at 1205 A Street was one of six fires in Antioch north of Highway 4, Thursday night, Dec. 21. Photo by ConFire.

By Allen Payton

A series of six fires on the north side of Antioch Thursday night are believed to be the acts of an arsonist, according to Antioch Police.

The public was alerted to the fires late Thursday night by the Public Information Officer for the Contra Costa Fire Protection District George Laing

Posted at 10:53 p.m. on the ConFire PIO Twitter account was the message, “Series of fire in #Antioch , 5 building on Madill st and 1 on A street. All fires now under control. All structures abandoned.”

Then at 11:00 p.m. Laing posted “#Antioch fires- A street (with photo)” and “All #Antioch fires under control.”

The photo provided shows the building at 1205 A Street on fire.

Asked if an arson investigation had begun, Antioch Police Corporal Shawn Morin said, “the arson investigators responded and took over the investigations. It will be arson investigations with the Contra Costa Fire Department that will be handling everything. We don’t have anything to do with it at this point. We don’t have any leads, we don’t have any type of information of who or what or how these things were started at all.”

A call to ConFire PIO Laing was not returned prior to publication.

Please check back later for details.

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