Posted By: SimonB

Reaper? - 10/23/07 09:20 PM

Just wondering if anyone has heard of how Rich is doing. I'm assuming he's wrapped up in the Cali fires.
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: Reaper? - 10/23/07 09:23 PM

I've seen him lurking on the board a little.

I am sure that he is doing his part. California looks like hell on earth at the moment.

Let's all give a big cheer to those brave men and women that are battling to control these blazes.

And a big prayer to keep everybody safe.

There are an awful lot of scared, possibly homeless folks that could use some good vibes right now.
Posted By: Chloe

Re: Reaper? - 10/23/07 09:38 PM

Ditto Amanda.

My thoughts and prayers are for all of them today.
Posted By: Islenutt

Re: Reaper? - 10/23/07 09:40 PM

This map gives you more of an idea how bad these fires are.

I have family waiting to be evacuated from Carlsbad. They are packed and ready but the evacuation is going street by street because of the congestion on the roadways.

Just when we thought the fire season was coming to an end.... frown
Posted By: Leah-Ann

Re: Reaper? - 10/23/07 09:40 PM

Didn't realize there was already a thread started on this, so moved mine here.

Talked to my parents this morning & sounds like San Diego and surrounding area is not doing well. Schools are all closed and being used to house evacuees. My sister and her family were evacuated & are staying w/ my parents. At least 16 firefighters and 25 others were reported injured since the blazes began Sunday, and one person was killed.

Reaper & others, our prayers are with you!
Posted By: travelqueen

Re: Reaper? - 10/23/07 09:51 PM

Isle, thank you for the link to the map. I've been loooking for something like this!! frown

Sad indeed! frown

Re: Reaper? - 10/23/07 10:00 PM

Stay safe Reaper. We need you to come back to the Island soon.
Posted By: SimonB

Re: Reaper? - 10/23/07 10:02 PM

Found a site with lots of maps:
Posted By: reaper

Re: Reaper? - 10/23/07 10:04 PM

hi guys! thanks for the thoughts and prayers.
It's hell here in SoCal at the moment.
i was oredered in to the FD early Monday morning. I watched many homes in the Rancho Bernardo/N.San Diego County burn to the ground on my way to my firehouse in Ontario. What a helpless feeling. I had to double back and go about 80 miles out of my way because the fire roared across the I-15 freeway at about 5AM.
I was at a 100 acre fire in our city all day yesterday. We are all oredered in to stay, but no one wants to go home and watch on TV anyway. We have guys in Malibu and Lake Arrowhead.
The fire in lake Arrowhead is growing rapidly. One of our guys lost his house this morning. The San Diego fires are raging out of control. The last report was over 1,000 homes destroyed in SD County.
I am on an engine company today, back to the ladder truck tomorrow and then who knows where? i won't be home for a week or so.
kristine and the kids are OK. Our house is in a very protected area. Our friends have been eveacuated and are at our house. He is an LA City fireman, so that's good to have him there, so we have 3 adults and 4 kids jammed in. the kids are having fun, no school all week.
I'll keep you guys posted, but we are running a LOT of calls covering for the units that are gone.
I'll post an update later.
Posted By: SimonB

Re: Reaper? - 10/23/07 10:07 PM

Glad to hear you're okay! Take care of yourself out there!
Posted By: Leah-Ann

Re: Reaper? - 10/23/07 10:09 PM

Stay safe, reaper!
Posted By: Bill Mc Ghee

Re: Reaper? - 10/23/07 10:11 PM

Stay Safe Buddy. Be careful. We have you in our thoughts every minute.
Posted By: Nova

Re: Reaper? - 10/23/07 10:15 PM

Stay safe Reaper and Family - our prayers are with you!
Posted By: divingcowgirl

Re: Reaper? - 10/23/07 10:30 PM

Reaper, prayers are headed your way for you and your fellow firemen. May you stay safe and hopefully this will come to an end soon. Such tragedy.
Posted By: Chloe

Re: Reaper? - 10/23/07 10:39 PM

Reaper my son, thanks for the update. Good to know your family is safe. Love you.
Posted By: reaper

Re: Reaper? - 10/23/07 10:41 PM

Thanks you guys!
I just wanted to let you guys know what it's like here. I cut that other post short because we had a call.

I'm in Ontario, CA, about 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles. there are fires burning to the East of us up in the Lake Arrowhead area. the header (smoke plume) is visible from about 150 miles away. It has burned over 200 homes and is moving rapidly. The Stevenson Ranch and Malibu fires are to the West. San Diego is to the south, with 4 major fires there raging. There is also a fire raging in Orange County just to the south of us. The air is tannish, yellow, orangish. It is thick with the smell of smoke that covers hundreds of square miles. It's 94 degrees here today. The wind is howling. The freeways are gridlock. We took the shoulder 4 miles to a traffic accident today. There are 6,000 firefighters and counting in the state now. Plus the day to day things we all handle in our own cities, heart attacks, traffic collisions, breathing ailments, shootings, stabbings, structure fires, grass fires, etc. are compunded because we have fewer units. We are still mopping up out large fire from Sunday and Monday.
We go through this every October, but this is one of the worst fire weeks I can remember, and I have been here since '83.
Yesterday after about 6 hours of pumping water on the fire my mind started drifting towards breakfast of eggs, fryjacks and a cold Belikin at Estel's!!
Gotta go, we're getting moved up to another location...
Posted By: travelqueen

Re: Reaper? - 10/23/07 11:24 PM

Manomanoman... hang in there reaper! Prayers for you and the others in Cali.

My girl friends parents live in Ontario!...
Posted By: tacogirl

Re: Reaper? - 10/23/07 11:49 PM

Peace Reaper and all who are experiencing the fires in one way or another.
Posted By: ScubaLdy

Re: Reaper? - 10/23/07 11:55 PM

Amazing how every thing is relevant isn’t it? I chatted on line yesterday with my daughter who lives in Orange County – as she is prone to say “Across the 5 from Irvine.” She told me she was fine – the fire was eight miles away. EIGHT MILES? I yelled.
That seems awfully close to me – but then where is there to go? She said you can not go outside because you can’t breathe the air.
I tried calling today and can’t get through.
Wild fires are an awful thing to watch and the smell last for a long long time.
Reaper – be careful – we need you back here in one piece.
Posted By: Dita

Re: Reaper? - 10/23/07 11:57 PM

Reaper - take care and be safe! We are all thinking of you and your family!
Posted By: LaurieMar

Re: Reaper? - 10/24/07 12:05 AM

I lived in Southern California for 25 years. They have fires every year, but this is the worse it has ever been. Stay safe.
Posted By: Bobber

Re: Reaper? - 10/24/07 12:19 AM

Prayers with you, Reaper, and all the others. Never doubt there are heroes among us. And, thank you all on behalf of those of us who don't say it often enough.
Posted By: Otteralum

Re: Reaper? - 10/24/07 12:50 AM

Reaper - you're in our thoughts and prayer my man -- when it's all said and done, can I get you back to Buckeye country?? The only thing that burns here are dumpsters and our couches on front porches after a Buckeye loss.

Seriously -- stay safe.

Posted By: seashell

Re: Reaper? - 10/24/07 08:33 AM

Reaper, my thoughts are with you and yours. A friend of mine lives near Ontario . . he says the sky from his house is like perpetual dawn.
Posted By: JeanH

Re: Reaper? - 10/24/07 02:41 PM

Reaper, please do stay safe. Our thoughts are with you. Also thinking of Kristine and the kids. It has to be scary for them.

Jean & Bruce
Posted By: HavinFun

Re: Reaper? - 10/24/07 05:01 PM

You, your family, and all of those suffering the fires have been in my prayers for days. My heart goes out to everyone in California. Keep safe. May God send lots of angels to watch over you and all of the firemen who are laying their lives on the line to fight the flames to save lives and homes.
Thank you to all of the firefighters!
Posted By: reaper

Re: Reaper? - 10/24/07 07:57 PM

Hi guys,
Things here are still hectic. We sent 22 guys and 5 fire engines up to Lake Arrowhead yesterday. We have no spare equipment left. The wind has really died down, making for much more favorable conditions. The helicopters are flying and doing a good job.
San Diego is still burning, but many folks have been let back into their homes. The main suburbs that haven't burned yet are safe so far. We have fires surrounding our area, but at least 10 miles away. The outlying areas are still in danger. The fire in Fallbrook is getting bigger. Palomar mountain is on fire.
There are 20,000 people at Qualcomm Stadium, the home of the NFL Chargers. It's calm and not chaotic there. Everyone seems to be handling it well.
I think we will have fires for about 2 more weeks. The wind will kick back up at some point, like every October. Some of the fires are arson. The highway patrol and other police depts. are putting undercover guys around the roads to watch for the fire bugs. Disgusting....
It looks like I'll get home for a day on Saturday. Then it will be off to a fire somewhere for a week to relieve the guys.
The devastation is incredible, San Diego is the hardest hit. Arnold and Chertoff are in town taking some heat for not complying with recommendations from the fires a few years ago.
The smoke is still thick and the air smells like a campfire. Ash is falling everywhere like big slow snowflakes.
There are thousands of families homeless and still more threatened. The I-5 is closed at Camp Pendelton.
The utilities, freeways, schools...what a mess...
Our call volume has finally gone down. I think people realize to only call us in case of a REAL emergency.
I'll keep you guys posted...thanks for the kind words.
Posted By: Leah-Ann

Re: Reaper? - 10/24/07 08:00 PM

reaper, thank you for the update from the front lines.
continued prayers from this direction of the state...
Posted By: Chloe

Re: Reaper? - 10/24/07 08:07 PM

Reaper, stay strong man....thanks for the you.
Posted By: gailtor

Re: Reaper? - 10/25/07 12:58 AM

Reaper, Islenutt, Leah-Ann
Thoughts are with all of you who impacted by the Cali fires. It sure is a scary thing and not something I would wish on anyone.

Reaper, thanks for keeping us updated and for all that you are doing to fight the fires and protect lives.

Take care, Gail
Posted By: LaurieMar

Re: Reaper? - 10/25/07 05:22 AM

Reaper: All you guys rock - although I am 500 miles away in No. Calif, the news is dominated with our state's devastating fires. It brings back memories of watching a wildfire on the ridge of the next canyon over from our home while living in Laguna Beach years ago. Such a scary and unsettling experience.

My best buddy lives in South Lake Tahoe and was very close to that fire, mandatory evacuation. She has a friend whose parents lost everything a few months ago. Although there was no loss of lives, everyone can imagine the emotional impact, sense of loss and grief caused by losing your home - the place we can definitely chill, that gives us the most comfort and security. After all of that, every neighbor, friend, etc. who lost their home, all said this: how grateful and thankful they were to all the firefighters in their brave efforts to save their property and later, how it all made them feel a sense of comfort in the major disruption of their lives.

That is pretty cool and a great compliment.

When I was in Bocas Town, Panama 2 years ago, the town had a major celebration, parade, the whole works, honoring Panamanian firefighters. I was lucky enough to watch the procession, closing down the main drag in the small town. They are quite an honored group there as well.
Posted By: travelqueen

Re: Reaper? - 10/25/07 03:46 PM

Reaper thanks so much for the update. We're all praying for you and the other S. Californians. Stay safe!
Posted By: Scuba do

Re: Reaper? - 10/25/07 11:45 PM

Great to see the board members joining in prayer over the situation in SoCal.We join with everyone else speaking to the winds to die down and that reaper and all the emergency workers are protected by the hand of God.We ask for provision for those who have lost homes and belongings---- Preacher Man
Posted By: Sun&sand

Re: Reaper? - 10/25/07 11:51 PM

Posted By: Mikeywaz

Re: Reaper? - 10/26/07 05:55 AM

I can attest to the fantastic job the firefighters are doing. I live in Poway - one of the most devastated areas. Luckily, the fires were turned back about 2 miles from my house. This is the second fire to come this close in the past 4 years. I saw some of the devastation when I drove to a friend's house today. She told me I wouldn't have to deal with firestorms if I moved to Belize. But then there ARE hurricanes...
Posted By: ScubaLdy

Re: Reaper? - 10/26/07 05:11 PM

Mike - hurricanes do not do the damage that a fire storm does. And it doesn't smell bad for months to come. LOL So, come on down and build a cement house.
Posted By: DitchDocDiver

Re: Reaper? - 10/26/07 05:12 PM

Seems like cement might be a good option anyplace!
Posted By: sweetjane

Re: Reaper? - 10/26/07 08:52 PM

my sister (in malibu) and my mom's cousins (SD) have been evacuated too. keep those good thoughts coming...

sis has been evacuated 4 times now. at times like this, PA doesn't look so bad.
Posted By: Otteralum

Re: Reaper? - 10/26/07 09:03 PM

I have staff en route to San Diego tonight. We are doing some triage claims training for new streamlined processes to help our policyholders. I'm proud of my company right now -- hope we can add a little comfort during this very trying time.
Posted By: reaper

Re: Reaper? - 10/27/07 06:41 AM

Thanks for the kind words everyone.
It is still smokey as hell, there are fires burning, and it is still hot, but not like the past few days. The wind has died down and helped out the firefighting efforts. We still have about 30 guys out at the Lake Arrowhead blaze.
One of our guys lost his entire home to the fire in Running Springs, by Lake Arrowhead. Some of our San Diego friends have lost everything.
Maybe if I get energetic I'll do a blog about what a firestorm is like. I still can't understand why people stay behind to save their house. It's just a house unless they stay alive to make it a home...
GWB and Arnold were in San Diego back slapping and posing for photo ops. As a firefighter it makes me sick to my stomach to see them using politics during a disaster. They are comparing it to Katrina. The two of them haven't made a bit of difference in this disaster, we go through this every year, not to this magnitude though. The California fire service is very efficient at getting things handled. We have been perfecting it for years. In New Orleans and the Gulf coast area it was way overwelming of a disaster for the locals to handle. They needed lots more than an Air Force One flyover down there.
After 9-11, GWB realized that the fire service in America is the first line of defense against a terror attack. We were promised billions to upgrade equipment and training. Iraq got 90 new fire engines right after "Mission Accomplished". They weren't even purchased from a US manufacturer. We got squat. The air attack planes we have are from the Orville and Wilbur era, federal firefighters work a 72 hour work week and get very low pay. In San Diego, the fire chief quit after the Cedar fire killed 22 people, including a firefighter. He requested some new stations, equipment and firefighters for the RANCHO BERNARDO area. He retired when the mayor and Governator turned him down. This was unfortunately predicted to happen, a massive firestorm racing through the North County area. Ahnold has been screwing with the fire service since he was elected, trying to lay off manpower, raid the pension fund to balance the budget and doing away with political action funds to help save our benefits. And then whenever a photo opportunity to pose with us he gushes how great we are to the world. It's time for him to put his money where his mouth is.
OK, I just fell of of my soapbox! Enough of that!

So yeah, I'm a little worn out after five days on duty and 68 calls later, but I get to go home in the morning, see the family and give big hugs, and then go help some friends dig through the rubble.

Thanks for all of the positive vibes! I shared this with a few of the guys and they crack up that a bunch of folks around the globe with Belize in common all care about each other so much!
You guys are the BEST!

I was talking with Kristine tonight about writing a book. We talk about it once in a while after I tell her some of the funny or horrible things I witness. When I got on the fire dept. in 1979 I figured I would just get a few cats out of trees and run into a burning building once in a while.
Who knew it would involve firestorms, water rescues, riots, floods, earthquakes, 100 car pileups, delivering babies and patching up gang bangers...

He TacoGirl, can you show me how to blog next time I'm down??????:)

Posted By: DitchDocDiver

Re: Reaper? - 10/27/07 07:23 AM

Just to let you know, we have the same problems, here...

everyone can show up for a photo op, but give us some $$, or get the pay where it should be and it is always budget cut.

We don't have the wildfires (and all the arson) but have to deal with the Tornadoes..

Public safety any place is something everybody wants, but nobody wants to support.

Glad you pulled thru my bro.. hope it continues!
Posted By: Otteralum

Re: Reaper? - 10/27/07 06:10 PM

be proud Reaper -- I know you understand that YOU are making a difference.
Posted By: reaper

Re: Reaper? - 10/28/07 01:05 AM

Not much, but it's a start!
Posted By: reaper

Re: Reaper? - 10/29/07 02:18 AM

Well kids, we made it through the hard part. The weather has cooled down and it has been sprinkling. Most of the major fires have been reduced to hot spots and minor flare ups. The Chargers kicked butt today, giving the crowd a much needed lift!
I drove through Rancho Bernardo yesterday on my way home. It is a surreal view, some homes standing with just smoke spots on them next to burned out homes in a row.
The fire I watched just starting last week in Fallbrook really burned the brush, trees and hillside homes. It grew quite large, but is just hot spots also.
Our 25 guys have returned. They fought a lot of fire and saved about 20 homes from burning down. It was a time warp for me, watching the grins of excitement on the new guys faces that went on a strike team for the first time. It reminded me of a skinny kid I used to be...
I laughed as I read through my previous post I was ranting on. I have to step away from the computer after 120 hours on duty in a row!!
So thank you guys once again for the thoughts and prayers. We have on hell of a good dysfunctional family here!!!!!
Otter, Ohio State is kicking some butt! All is good in the Buckey State!!!
Posted By: Chloe

Re: Reaper? - 10/29/07 02:33 AM

Reaper you and your guys are awesome.

You know we love a good rant here, so rant all you want.
Posted By: Bill Mc Ghee

Re: Reaper? - 10/29/07 02:41 AM

Rant away Pal. We are all just happy to hear that ya'll are ok and you have a handle on the situation.
Buy the Guys and Gal's a beer for me and I'll reimburse you in S.P. in February.
Posted By: KC Jayhawk

Re: Reaper? - 10/29/07 02:44 AM

Reaper, you da man!! You and your compatriots are what it means to be heroes!

Oh, and Otter, my Jayhawks are 8-0. Be afraid!!
Posted By: Otteralum

Re: Reaper? - 10/29/07 03:27 AM

Good to see the weather helping. Hopefully you guys are getting a little more rest now Reaper.

KC -- I'm afraid you Kansans have your seasons mixed up -- basketball hasn't started yet. wink
Posted By: travelqueen

Re: Reaper? - 10/29/07 08:24 PM

reaper, you are the best! We appreciate our very favorite SAN firefighter keeping us informed on the "read deal"! You are awesome and we commend you, our hero! Hey, and just what is a "gang banger"? :P

Oh, we let y'all win that game yesterday. It won't happen again though. wink
Posted By: ScubaLdy

Re: Reaper? - 10/29/07 09:18 PM

What is a SAN firefighter?
Posted By: travelqueen

Re: Reaper? - 10/30/07 12:46 AM

I always talk in "aiport city code" talk. It's San Diego, sorry.
Posted By: seashell

Re: Reaper? - 10/31/07 08:08 AM

at 1:52 on October 31, 2007, EDT.

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. - Authorities say a boy playing with matches started a fire in northern Los Angeles County that consumed more than 150 square kilometres and destroyed 21 homes last week.

Sheriff's Sgt. Diane Hecht says the boy, whose name and age were not released, was interviewed a day after the Buckweed Fire was sparked October 21. Hecht says the boy was released to his parents and the case will be presented to the district attorney's office.

The 155-square-kilometre fire began in an area near Agua Dulce and quickly spread by fierce desert winds.

It was among more than a dozen major wildfires that killed 14 people, destroyed some 2,100 homes and blackened 2,095 square kilometres from Los Angeles to the Mexican border.

Authorities arrested five people for arson during that period but none has been linked to any of the major blazes.

They said an arsonist also set a destructive wildfire in Orange County that blackened 115 square kilometres and destroyed 16 homes. Investigators believe the blaze was deliberately set because they found two ignition points within a short distance - a common sign of arson.

Authorities were seeking the driver of a white Ford F-150 pickup truck spotted in a canyon area around the time the fire broke out. They said they wanted to talk with the driver but stopped short of calling the person a suspect.

Officials offered a $285,000 reward to anyone with information that will lead to an arrest and conviction.

Firefighters had surrounded all but four of the blazes late Tuesday and the remaining ones were more than 90-per-cent contained.

Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Reaper? - 10/31/07 02:18 PM

Now we know why reaper goes skydiving - a bit of safe and gentle relaxation!

Reaper - I was reading that there are lots of C130s and other fire fighting aircraft which can't be deployed because no-one got around to inspecting and licencing new water storage tanks on board. So all through this nightmare they've been sitting on the ground. Is that true?
Posted By: travelqueen

Re: Reaper? - 10/31/07 03:21 PM

Originally Posted by seashell

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. - Authorities say a boy playing with matches started a fire in northern Los Angeles County that consumed more than 150 square kilometres and destroyed 21 homes last week.

Sheriff's Sgt. Diane Hecht says the boy, whose name and age were not released, was interviewed a day after the Buckweed Fire was sparked October 21. Hecht says the boy was released to his parents and the case will be presented to the district attorney's office.

LA, this boy will need you!!!
Posted By: reaper

Re: Reaper? - 10/31/07 05:39 PM

P2, Yes, there is a lot of finger pointing going on right now by a lot of really pissed off people.
The air attack needs a trained "crew chief" from the forest service or cal fire to be on board, and the aircraft needed inspected.
This has all become a political football, as usual.
The bottom line is...
In Rancho Bernardo, the northern most part of San Diego,It was recommended 4 years ago to build 22 new fire stations. DENIED

In the mountains, Running Springs, Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead, etc. they predicted a mega-storm of fire, due to the bark beetle infestation that killed millions of trees. Not much water and fire protection up there either.

In LA County, as the rest of SoCal, there are so many dry, fuel laden areas with homes built next to them it's almost impossible to stop a fire in 80 mph winds.

This may all happen again this weekend again, as the Santa Ana winds are returning on Friday...stay tuned.
Posted By: Leah-Ann

Re: Reaper? - 10/31/07 06:59 PM

TQ - sad, but true...

reaper, all I can hear is Steely Dan.... Here come those Santa Ana winds again.....
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Reaper? - 10/31/07 09:35 PM

And what about;jsessionid=THH0M3MF2TDZZQFIQMGCFF4AVCBQUIV0?xml=/news/2007/10/31/wfires131.xml

One of the major blazes was started deliberately by a kid!
Posted By: reaper

Re: Reaper? - 11/01/07 12:11 AM

And some others by adults, they even caught a guy in the mountains trying to burn down his own house to collect. That kid had no clue what was to happen, and I'm sure many of us lit stuff on fire when we were that age...
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