Archive for the ‘Fire’ Category

Firefighter, paramedic injured in drive-by shooting in Antioch Saturday night, suspect from Stockton caught in Richmond

Sunday, February 21st, 2021

Both first responders in stable condition with non-life-threatening wounds; ambulance and police car also struck by gunfire; incident under investigation

By Lt. John Fortner, Investigations Bureau, Antioch Police Department & Steve Hill, Public Information Officer, ConFire

On Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, at approximately 8:51 PM, Antioch police officers were called to the 1900 block of Auto Center Drive on the report of a citizen requiring emergency medical attention. A fire engine from Contra Costa County Consolidated Fire Protection District (Con Fire), and an ambulance from Contra Costa American Medical Response (AMR) also responded to the medical call.

While tending to the patient in the parking lot near Auto Center Drive, a suspect in a silver SUV drove by the team of first responders and began shooting at the group. Afterwards, the suspect turned around and drove past the group again firing a second series of shots. A 31-year-old male Con Fire firefighter and a 58-year-old male AMR ambulance transport Alliance paramedic were caught in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting while responding to a serious medical emergency in Antioch Saturday night.

Shots were reported at 9:08 p.m. shortly after firefighters and paramedics arrived on scene. Both first responders and the original medical call patient were transported to local area hospitals at approximately 9:30 p.m.  The firefighter was shot in the foot and the paramedic was shot in the leg and their injuries were determined to be non-life threatening. An ambulance and a police car were also struck by gunfire.

Several Antioch officers gave chase onto Highway 4 as the suspect vehicle fled westbound towards the City of Pittsburg. The vehicle pursuit traveled through Contra Costa and Alameda Counties and ended in the City of Richmond after the suspect vehicle collided with a parked vehicle. The suspect attempted to flee from the scene of the collision, but he was quickly taken into custody by officers from Richmond PD and the California Highway Patrol. The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Air Support Unit also provided critical assistance. A firearm was collected at the scene.

“Tonight’s senseless shootings are a vivid reminder of the very real dangers our first responders face, often side-by-side with our law enforcement partners, as they work to save lives across our communities,” said Lewis T. Broschard III, fire chief, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District. “We are grateful for the public outpouring of support for our wounded firefighter and AMR paramedic and for the work of law enforcement across the Bay Area to bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice.”

“As representatives of our firefighters, and in support of the police and EMS personnel we respond with on a daily basis, we are grateful to report both first responders injured in tonight’s shooting incident are expected to make full recoveries,” said Vince Wells, president, United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County. “I would like to thank the members of the community of Antioch and beyond for your words of concern and support regarding those injured in tonight’s incident. We expect to learn more as the investigation uncovers more details regarding this incident.”

Antioch Police Department detectives with the Violent Crimes and Special Operations Units responded to the scene, along with crime scene investigators, and took over the investigation. The investigation is still active, and evidence is being collected and evaluated.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441, or Detective Brogdon at (925) 779-6895. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Con Fire investigators arrest 7 arson suspects in busy start to new year

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

First 30+ days sees arrests in 8 separate incidents in Antioch, Concord, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, and Walnut Creek

By Steve Hill, PIO, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District

Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (Con Fire) announced today, the arrests of seven arson suspects, in eight separate cases, in just more than 30 days in January and early February.

Working with law enforcement partners in Antioch, Concord, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek, investigators from Con Fire’s Fire Investigation Unit (FIU) investigated and arrested alleged perpetrators of eight separate, intentionally set fires that occurred in and around the county in January and early February.

“Quick work of our investigators in close coordination with law enforcement partners resulted in the identification of seven arsonists threatening our communities in January and February,” said Captain Ryan Graham, Supervisor, Con Fire’s Fire Investigation Unit. “Community involvement is critical to solving cases of arson and the residents of Contra Costa County can help protect us all by confidentially providing arson-related information to the Arson Tip line at 1-866-50-ARSON.”

Investigations continue in some of these cases with further charges expected to be filed. All the cases will be forwarded to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office requesting prosecution for arson charges.

Summaries of each of the 30-plus-day-period’s arson arrests follow in the attached fact sheet.

Con Fire’s FIU urges residents to help them fight the crime of arson across the county by calling the Arson Tip line at 1-866-50-ARSON. They caution residents not to hesitate on information that seems too little or unimportant to matter, adding some of the most valuable tips come from residents who were not aware what they saw was very important to the investigation of an incident.

At 1-866-50-ARSON, residents can leave a recorded message about fire-related criminal activity in English or Spanish. Tips can be anonymous, but all tips are treated confidentially. Fire investigators sometimes need additional information, so inclusion of name and phone number is encouraged.

 

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Contra Costa fire agencies join forces with county Health Service to host vaccination clinics

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

Along with other agencies gear up for ongoing series of weekly East, South and West County vaccination clinics; Week One sees 1,000 vaccinated at first two clinics

By Steve Hill, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District

Fire agencies across Contra Costa County are collaborating to host the first of many new appointment-only public vaccination clinics for eligible county residents. The combined, multi-agency effort leverages fire EMS and support personnel, along with law enforcement and other agencies, to make a positive contribution to vaccine distribution across the county.

The first of the new fire-service-hosted clinics took place in the City of Hercules Feb. 1 and 2. The Hercules clinics will continue to be operated Mondays and Tuesdays, dependent on vaccine availability. Additional clinics will also be hosted weekly in both east and south county locations.

Current plans, which are subject to change, call for vaccine clinics to be held in east county on select Fridays and Saturdays at Los Medanos College in Brentwood. In south county, clinics are currently planned for select Wednesdays and Thursdays at Bishop Ranch in San Ramon.

The initial goal of the fire-hosted clinics is delivery of 500 vaccinations per day, with each designed to be scalable to 1,000 or more doses based on vaccine availability and Contra Costa County Health Services (CCHS) guidance.

Regardless of location, all vaccination clinics across the county are by appointment only; walk-up or drop-in vaccinations are not available. Eligibility is determined by CCHS and criteria can be reviewed, and appointments made on their vaccine website.

“As providers of emergency medical services across the county, our fire agencies are proud to be able to increase vaccine distribution in order to help further protect the communities we serve,” said Deputy Chief Aaron McAlister, fire rescue mutual aid coordinator for the operational area. “This multi-agency collaboration includes fire and law enforcement agencies, Contra Costa Health Services, community organizations and many volunteers.”

For more on eligibility, and to make an appointment online, visit www.coronavirus.cchealth.org/vaccine. For residents without internet access, the Contra Costa Health Services vaccination call center is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at 1-833-829-2626. Additional COVID-19 information is available at the CCHS multilingual call center at 1-844-729-8410.

Residents are urged not to call 911 or non-emergency dispatch numbers for vaccine clinic information and not to show up without an appointment as this will interfere with the vaccination process and potentially delay immunizations for the entire community.

Participating fire agencies include: Contra Costa County Fire, Crockett-Carquinez Fire, East Contra Costa Fire, El Cerrito Fire, Moraga-Orinda Fire, Pinole Fire, Richmond Fire, Rodeo- Hercules Fire, and San Ramon Valley Fire.

Law enforcement participants include the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services and local police departments in Brentwood, Hercules and San Ramon.

In addition to fire and law agencies, Con Fire county ambulance transport Alliance partner AMR is supporting these clinics as are many volunteer organizations. Supporting volunteer groups include Contra Costa County Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) and the Contra Costa County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).

In Hercules, Valley Bible Church is making its facilities available as the clinic site there. Los Medanos College is making space available in Brentwood as is Bishop Ranch in San Ramon. These vaccination clinic locations, as well as many others, are listed and selectable in the Contra Costa Health Services online appointment-setting process or by calling the vaccination call center.

About Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (Con Fire) — A recognized fire service leader — Con Fire provides fire and emergency medical services to more than a million people across its 304 square-mile District area, and through mutual aid, in and around the 20 cities and unincorporated communities of Contra Costa County, California. With few exceptions, county emergency ambulance transport services are provided by Con Fire through its unique sub-contractor Alliance model. In 2019, the District responded to nearly 78,000 fire and EMS emergencies and dispatched some 95,000 ambulances, providing expert medical care on more than 74,000 ambulance transports. The District, with 26 fire stations and more than 400 employees, is dedicated to preserving life, property and the environment.

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ConFire to hold Virtual Fire Prevention Open House this weekend

Friday, October 30th, 2020

Fun, Educational Annual Event Taken Off Concord Training Grounds and Into Residents Homes to Ensure COVID-19 Safety

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 31, beginning at 8 a.m.

WHERE: Online at www.cccfpd.org/annual-open-house

WHAT: Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (Con Fire) hosts its Annual Fire Prevention Open House Saturday with a wide array of educational and potentially lifesaving presentations for every member of the family.

This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking our normally live and all-day event off the Concord Training Grounds and into resident’s homes using a variety of information-packed videos.

Virtual open house content is available to media for reporting purposes ahead of public release. All open house content will be posted to the Con Fire website beginning at 6 a.m. Saturday.

We’ll appreciate media sharing this unique, COVID-19 inspired virtual event with Bay Area audiences using the attached flyer and linked video content.

ADDITIONAL INFO: Open house video here: http://bit.ly/2020OpenHouseWelcomeVideo

Images of past years’ attendees available here: http://bit.ly/2019OpenHousePics

CONTACT: Steve Hill, PIO, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, (925) 532-6512

About Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (Con Fire) — A recognized fire service leader — Con Fire provides fire and emergency medical services to more than a million people across its 304 square-mile District area, and through mutual aid, in and around the 20 cities and unincorporated communities of Contra Costa County, California. With few exceptions, county emergency ambulance transport services are provided by Con Fire through its unique sub-contractor Alliance model. In 2019, the District responded to nearly 78,000 fire and EMS emergencies and dispatched some 95,000 ambulances, providing expert medical care on more than 74,000 ambulance transports. The District, with 26 fire stations and more than 400 employees, is dedicated to preserving life, property and the environment.

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President Trump approves major disaster declaration for California to help wildfire victims

Friday, October 16th, 2020

Includes grants for temporary housing, home repairs, low-cost loans for uninsured property losses, more

WASHINGTON – Oct. 16, 2020 – 9:20 PM EST – FEMA announced that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the state of California to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by wildfires from Sept. 4 and continuing.

The President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Fresno, Los Angeles, Madera, Mendocino, San Bernardino, San Diego and Siskiyou counties.  Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Federal funding is also available to the state, tribal and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures in Fresno, Los Angeles, Madera, Mendocino, San Bernardino, San Diego and Siskiyou counties.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Willie G. Nunn has been named the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Additional designations may be made at a later date if warranted by the results of damage assessments.

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621- 3362 or 1-800-462-7585 TTY

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News photographer, videographer shares heartbreaking story of young homeless woman living in tunnel below Highway 4 in Pittsburg

Monday, October 12th, 2020

Homeless woman walking barefoot, with firefighters who were there to extinguish the fire in the tunnel beneath Hwy 4. Photos by Art Ray.

Firefighters extinguish fire in tunnel where she’s been living.

By Art Ray

It’s starting to get cooler at night if you have a place to sleep, you can thank God.

I responded to. a working fire in the underpass beneath Highway 4 at Century Blvd. in Pittsburg. When I got there I saw a young, homeless woman, and I do mean young. She was lying down on a nasty mattress behind some metal bars. The arriving firemen grabbed a saw and cut the gate open so they could put a hose on the fire.

What got me was that the young woman remained on the mattress with smoke pouring out of the tunnel. She didn’t have the capacity to get away from the smoke or fire. Finally, she walked out of the tunnel bare foot stepping on glass, rocks and all kinds of dangerous things. As she passed by me, I asked “where are your shoes?” to which she replied she didn’t have any.

The point of this story is not that I went and got her a pair of shoes from the store but that she has some demons that has her early, 20-year-old self, homeless and living under a highway. She didn’t even have the mental capacity to follow my directions and to walk the one block down to the store to meet me to get the new shoes.

Homeless woman painting her lighter with nail polish, the mattress where she slept surrounded by garbage in the tunnel, and a firefighter at the gated entrance to one side of the tunnel below Hwy 4. Photos by Art Ray.

I had to go driving around to find her. When I did find her, she was sitting on the ground painting a cigarette lighter with fingernail polish. When I walked up to her with the shoe bag she never even looked up to me when I gave her the new blue shoes she was fixated on the nail polish and lighter. That’s when I realized that’s there are bigger issues than being homeless. There are thousands of homeless people that are not thinking straight.

After dropping off the shoes I went to meet with the county’s homeless advocate to see if they could help the young sister. He told me he would leave his office and go find her as soon as he got done checking in another homeless person into the newly opened homeless residence the state just bought from Motel 6.

I’m saying all of this to encourage everyone to find a way they can help another human being instead of just complaining about the homeless problem.

Most police departments and counties have resources you can plug into. Maybe you have a warm coat or shoes you don’t wear anymore. Be a part of the homeless solution not a person that finds pleasure in complaining about the homeless. Trust this. Many of the homeless have issues they are battling in their heads. It’s getting cold out. Are you willing to find a way to get involved? Perhaps it’s through your church. Like they say, it takes a village. We are all our brother’s, or in this case, our sister’s keeper.

This is a story that I needed to photograph and tell. I included a picture of the nasty mattress in the filth someone’s daughter or sister was laying on when I arrived. Notice I didn’t include her face so she could retain some kind of dignity.

Art Ray is owner of Bay News Video providing video footage to Bay Area news stations and online media.

video footage to Bay Area news stations and online media.

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Bay Area church with Antioch members sends thank you messages to firefighters, encourages others to do the same

Monday, October 5th, 2020

Photos courtesy of San Francisco Zion Church.

By Greg Bernard

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak that has devastated communities around the world, churches and religious institutions have had to shut their doors and services for several months. Congregants have been unable to gather together to fellowship or worship, leaving members feeling isolated and disconnected from their community.

But one church has found that the best way to re-engage members is to get them involved in giving back. San Francisco Zion Church, a Christian church that serves the Bay Area, held a letter-writing campaign for the firefighters of the Greater San Francisco Bay Area this past weekend. Members who participated in the letter-writing campaign hailed from cities and counties across the Bay Area and Northern California: from Contra Costa, Solano, Alameda, San Francisco, and as far as Sacramento.

Local church members and their children wrote cards for the brave men and women who have been fighting the State’s worst wildfires in over a century. Some of these heartwarming letters found their way to Contra Costa’s Fire Departments. The words of encouragement were warmly received, with some firefighters commenting that it was the first public appreciation they’ve gotten for their service in the fires.

Their next major volunteer campaign will be in collaboration with the Red Cross. According to the World Health Organization, blood donations have been in short supply since the beginning of the pandemic. As a result, San Francisco Zion Church resolved to partner with the Red Cross to host a series of blood drives. The first of these drives will begin in November.

 

“We’ve received over 30 recognitions from local businesses and neighboring cities in the Bay Area in the past few years for our volunteering,” says Adam, a resident of Antioch and member of San Francisco Zion Church. “Next week, we’re raising support for the families affected by the fires and reaching out to the elderly who suffer the most when they are socially isolated from their family members. With everything that’s going on right now, there’s so much need for volunteers.”
For the past five years, San Francisco Zion Church has been active in volunteering and helping people throughout the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Members of the church hope that their volunteerism and donation drives will encourage other churches and organizations in the area to gather together and contribute.

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Frazier to introduce bill to combat major cause of greenhouse gas emissions in California – wildfires

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

Challenges CA Air Resources Board to “pause and think” about effectiveness of Cap and Trade program

Jim Frazier

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Fairfield) announced today that he plans to introduce legislation in the upcoming session to fundamentally change the way California reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

  “While I believe the work the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has been doing is laudable, we need to shift gears and address the main cause of carbon emissions in California, and right now, that is unquestionably wildfires,” said Frazier. “The data is undeniable and staggering.”

  According the U.S. Geological Survey, in 2018 alone, the wildfires in California were estimated to have released emissions equivalent to roughly 68 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. By contrast, after seven years of reduction efforts from Cap and Trade funded projects to date, is estimated to be 45 million metric tons – at the cost of billions of dollars.

  Frazier went on to say that he believes CARB needs to “pause and think” carefully about their programs and overall efficacy of the resources devoted to them, and reprioritize Cap and Trade dollars to address the immediate threat and environmental devastation that wildfires are causing. In addition to the further advancement of global warming, these fires result in property damage, loss of life, economic peril, and long-term health issues.

  “The science and statistics of the devastation that wildfires are causing are not just limited to the land. These fires are pumping more pollution – far more toxic – than the burning of fossil fuels, and we must take a critical look at how we dedicate our precious financial resources to their reduction.  As we know, wildfires are a major contributor to the advancement of global warming.”

  Frazier will introduce a bill this December.

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