By Terry Miller
Monrovia Fire Engine OES-341 recently arrived back in town at 1 a.m. after a 19-day deployment fighting the Carr Fire. As you may be aware, the Carr Fire (located near Redding) started on July 23 and has burned 229,651 acres. The conflagration has destroyed 1,079 residences, 22 commercial structures, and 503 outbuildings. Also, of particular note, three firefighters died fighting the Carr Fire.
In Oliver Chi’s weekly City Manager’s report, we learned Monrovia sent a crew which had the unique experience of being formed as a Task Force, rather than a Strike Team. A Strike Team consists of a grouping of similar personnel and apparatus, while a Task Force contains a mixture of different personnel and equipment. This unusual grouping was developed given the strain on resources with all of the fires that were burning throughout the state; and it provided Monrovia’s team with a unique experience. Led by Captain Morton, the team returned safe with no injuries or issues reported.
Sadly, we lost several brave souls during these fires and, again this summer, Long Beach firefighters encountered something extremely rare, gun shots. Captain David Rosa lost his life on June 25 as a result of trying to help someone during a call. Rosa and his crew were responding to an explosion in an apartment building and then the unthinkable happened. A resident fired shots at incoming first responders. Firefighters lost their lives. Police officers lost their lives; but this summer was nothing short of a nightmare for California firefighters.
The U. S. Fire Administration tracks and collects information on the causes of on-duty firefighter fatalities that occur in the United States. They conduct an annual analysis to identify specific problems so that they may direct efforts toward finding solutions that will reduce firefighter fatalities in the future. This information is also used to measure the effectiveness of programs directed toward firefighter health and safety. There have been 64 reported firefighter fatalities in 2018.
I am truly amazed by the courage and dedication of these men and women who protect us all with unparalleled mettle and dedication. Perhaps this summer will help people reflect on the enormous task firefighters face daily. So often we take these men and women for granted. Not anymore!
In a recent state reports from CalFire and other agencies, firefighters and paramedics respond to an overwhelming number of calls each year (and about 67 percent of those calls are medical in nature).
Recently, this reporter had to request emergency services for a serious medical situation for a family member. From the uneasy moments of dialing 9-1-1 to the calm dispatcher, I felt confident I had done the right thing. Monrovia Firefighters were on scene within less than three minutes of that call.
The calm demeanor of the firefighters who entered my home treated my wife with extraordinary dignity, kindness, and professionalism all the while reassuring her that she was okay while taking her vital signs
Monrovia Fire Department (MFD) led by Chief Brad Dover, deserves a huge “thank you” from this community. MFD is one of the foremost firefighting agencies in California and this reporter has nothing but the utmost respect for the men and women here in this historic city we call home.