Mon, 25 Aug 2014|
In an exclusive interview, FIre Engineering Editor in Chief Bobby Halton talks to Napa (CA) Battalion Chief Jarrett Anderson about the August 2014 earthquake and fires.
All right. Hi this is Bobby Halton and we're here with Jarrett Anderson and Jarrett is a BC in Napa Valley and Jarrett's on duty with us today so he only has a few minutes and he may get interrupted by another fire call or another emergency. Jarrett, you, you, you mentioned that you were home. You were not on duty the morning of the earthquake. What was it like. I [INAUDIBLE] Napa and I was joking and it [INAUDIBLE] it wasn't a clear path through the house, pretty much everything came down throughout the house, there was broken glass everywhere. it, it moved my wife's vehicle. I had to move her car to, just to be able to get the, the garage door open. It moved everything that was not bolted to the floor, it moved, it moved about a foot left. And I kinda had to dig my truck out of the garage to, to come in to work. Wow. So, so real quick. Were any firefighters, I mean, obviously you're all gonna have some minor damage to your homes and what not. But have any of your crews been displaced? Or any of the guys and gals that work for Napa, you know, homeless? Or, you know, [CROSSTALK] No, I, I haven't heard about anybody who has been displaced. I know that you know, everybody has. Damaged you know, glassware, stemware TVs. There's some, some minor structural damage, you know, cracks in that walls, that sort of things, but I never heard of anybody that you know, guys are still, there's some guys that just haven't even come home yet. So, we'll, we'll, we'll learn more about that as we get, kinda get into this. Wow, well how was it, how was it responding and, and I guess you're, you're all pretty much just still on duty now. the, is it a complete recall, the whole department? We did. We had C shift was on duty and they, they did a recall. And it was kinda bizarre, coming down the, the road at 4 a.m. that was almost like the town was bustling. There, there was people out, you know, the looky-loos were all out trying to see what was going on and But it, you know, we set this thing up and we had, had a big return activating firefighters and we had several mutual ways we had probably like 150 firefighters from mutual way departments in the surrounding communities. Wow. And, and news reports said that you had six major fires. But I'm, I imagined that were dozens of smaller fires that you, you were all trying to respond to as well. Yeah. And I was, the first, the first one that came in there were six mobile homes that. That actually burned, and, I'm still kind of, that was, before I got in, that was going on, and, there was a, a water main that had ruptured and so they had no pressure, they were dealing with just tank water, we had only an engine and a truck on that incident so they were able to hold that to six mobile homes. Then on top of that we had one, two, three, four, five, five other structure fires that happened, you know, in the morning as well. Wow, how do you, I mean, I guess you guys, because you're in California, and you're in the. A quick prone area, you drill and train and prepare how did, how did that, you know, did that pay off for you? Were there things that you know, that happen that you had obviously anticipated and things that, that you guys and gals didn't anticipate. I yeah, I think so. I think as far as, as a structural response goes, I, I had engines from you know, I was, I, turned me, they turned me kind of into the duty BC role and I was running around to these different fires and I would be running with you know,. Three or four single resources and maybe a strike team would be thrown into it. And, you know, these, these are guys that some of them had never been to Napa. I had some Charlie engines from Cal Fires that. You know, they, they maybe have never been to Napa before but they have our frequency. They just, they, they, that's the, that's the beauty of the the California patrol aid system is just, we just, we kind of integrate into each other's operation and, they, they rolled in and I gave them assignments and, it was almost like we trained together. It was, it was interesting. That's outstanding, and I, and, and it really, you know, it, it makes so much sense nowadays, that people train more together and share frequencies and protocols. Because when, when something like this happens, you know, it, it's not the time to, to educate folks on how we do business. It, you know, you just gotta, you just gotta get business done. [NOISE]. Right, right. So, how would that. Several of our people have been out on, you know, on these fires around California, and we had one of our guys was released from the white fire, to come back to Napa for the Earthquake, I had been released from that fire. A couple days prior, and we've, we've had, strikes teams. A lot of us had been out for three prior to this even happening. > Wow. So, the fires are in Northern California. Wow. So, we heard that there were some hydrant issues that, were, was that kind of sporadic, or was it widespread? Yeah, the [INAUDIBLE] probably talked to talk that, or address that a bit more. That's cool. I believe there were 16 [INAUDIBLE] none of them were critical, major [INAUDIBLE] stuff. Now we heard that the [UNKNOWN] guys and gals came in and. What we're helping out, were there any collapses where you had to, you know, do extrications? Or was it all just, collapse injuries but basically surface rescue stuff? Yeah, there was mainly surface rescue, there wasn't anything where we hed [UNKNOWN]. Start swearing. [INAUDIBLE] using cameras to fight the blaze. So far everything's been accounted for. So we did, we had [INAUDIBLE] almost got there [INAUDIBLE] Marin County back there. [UNKNOWN] team, and we have a OES [UNKNOWN] trailer and [UNKNOWN] as well. Wow, wow, wow. And we had Napa county had [UNKNOWN] and rescue [INAUDIBLE] Well it, it, this is the largest quake that you guys have had like in 25 years in, in Gals, so I guess most of the folks who are working for this particular event, this was like the first major earthquake you all have been responding to as as a department, and,. All the [INAUDIBLE] That was back in' 99, which [INAUDIBLE] Yeah, but this was a big one. My wife was a wine person, she was in tears. [LAUGH] Not Napa. Anyplace but Napa. [LAUGH] Yeah. I don't drink so for me I was going okay I get it I guess but you know, you, you, you think about Napa and I was unaware unfortunately I've never been to your town. But it, it, it had a lot of architecture that looked, from, like, the '30s and stuff that looked really substantial. But even that really substantial architecture took a hit, huh? [INAUDIBLE] [INAUDIBLE] was established in, 1849 [INAUDIBLE]. So it's, it's got a lot of [INAUDIBLE]. You know, right up the road from [UNKNOWN] which was the original state capital, so [UNKNOWN] So at, at this point, how, how, how are you all doing? I mean, is there anything. You know that you all need or is are things returning to normal. Have you been able to, you know, let any resources go or are you still kind of full bore? [INAUDIBLE] We have all of our recall resources so and currently we're still. We lot all of our reserves [INAUDIBLE] and [INAUDIBLE] Is there anything that fire, is there anything. Do you know any funds have been set up for the area, or anything that fire fighters, cuz just really wanna help and we've all learned not to self deploy, which is good. But we all, we all wanna help. Is there any thing we can do to the help? Your fellow fire fighters to help, help, help you out- So, I haven't know, I don't know [INAUDIBLE]. For, New York, our firefighters, but I know that there's a lot of, people that were displaced in the community, and I know that Red Cross is helping with that, so, [INAUDIBLE] you know, they're getting in contact with those agencies, and, that'll be good. Well, because I'm a shameless huckster, I will ask you, we're hoping you'll write this up for us with some lessons learned when you get a chance, and, and, can run it through your system, so. You can share with everybody what it was like to go through, you know, such a significant event. And, and handle it so well. I mean, the fire service was just really, really impressed by how, you know, professional and. Every time there was a news piece of a television piece. You know, I, my friends would be calling me, saying. Man these guys are, even the press releases, your chief did an outstanding job. Just such a pro and, and everybody was so composed you, you guys really set a high standard for incident management and, and information sharing for the fire service, and really to be complimented. So we, we would hope you'd be willing to. Write it up for fire engineering, and fire rescue. And and perhaps, you know? When, when the, when the boss says it's okay. Even maybe present a talk about it at FDIC. [INAUDIBLE] well, well, thank you. That's [INAUDIBLE]. Well, is there anything you'd like to share before we let you go? I know you've got to get back to work, but, is there anything we can do for you at this point? Well, I really appreciate you guys giving us a call and checking on us and the, the compliments that, it's very highly and, especially the [INAUDIBLE]. Well if there's anything we can do for you Jarrett you've got my number. Feel free to give us a call anytime and when things calm down and you have some time we'd like to do a more in depth talk with you and perhaps take a visit out there and sit down with you and the boss and, and talk about the event. [UNKNOWN]. Thank you buddy. Be safe, now. OK. Bye bye. I am, thank you. Bye.