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County Fire

Chimney fire displaces 12 people

countyfireFirefighters responded to a reported residential structure fire on Holly Dr. in Victorville at about 10:40 p.m. last night. Neighbors awoke the residents and alerted them smoke was coming from their home.

Eleven firefighters and a chief officer responded within minutes and immediately conducted an interior attack, containing the fire to the attic area of the kitchen and living room of the 2,500 square foot home.

Ten adults, two children and several animals escaped without injury. Damage to the home was estimated at $30,000. San Bernardino County Fire Investigators determined the fire was caused when the chimney flue breached into the chaseway, catching the framing on fire and ultimately burning into the attic. The American Red Cross assisted the displaced family.

This is the third chimney fire in recent days occurring in the High Desert. In this incident, there were no working smoke detectors in the home. Residents are reminded to check the batteries in their smoke detectors.

Zero clearance fireplaces are designed for ambiance and not for heating purposes. Finished lumber and large amounts of wood should not be burned in these types of fireplaces.

San Bernardino County Fire reminds you to have your chimneys inspected and cleaned by a professional before each heating season and have it cleaned regularly. Excessive build-up in flues can ignite or transfer heat into the walls with devastating results. Be sure that you have a fireplace screen in a place large enough to block flying embers and rolling logs from escaping onto your floor. Never burn trash, paper, or green wood in your fireplace. These materials cause a combustible build-up on the lining of your fireplace that may eventually catch fire, possibly damaging the chimney and threatening your home. Make sure that any fireplace fires are completely out before leaving the house or going to bed. For more information on chimney fires and holiday safety tips, please go to

County Fire urges citizens to stay warm and safe for winter

Christmas tree with presents and fireplace with stockingsCold weather from December through February brings the need for home heating, and sometimes for a little extra help from a fireplace or a space heater. Unfortunately, accidents involving fireplaces and heating equipment are a major cause of preventable home fires. County Fire urges county residents to keep safe while they keep warm.  Following are some winter safety tips to help you stay warm safely.

Fire Safety Tips for Fireplaces & Other Heating Devices

  • Before the cold weather arrives, change furnace filters to keep equipment running efficiently and safely.
  • Place all space heaters at least three feet away from furniture, walls, curtains, or anything that burns.  Make sure to turn them off when you leave home or go to bed.  Contact the Gas Company or a heating contractor if you suspect that your heater is not functioning properly.
  • Check thermostats to make sure the furnace doesn’t turn itself on before you’re ready for it, and give yourself time to check furnace vents, especially floor vents, to make sure they’re not blocked.  Furniture and drapes placed over heating vents can sometimes catch fire. Continue reading

Festive and safe holiday decorating

ChristmastreeWith the holiday season upon us, the San Bernardino County Fire Department would like to remind you of the following holiday decorating and natural Christmas tree safety tips.

Before you put up any electrically lighted decorations, you should check the equipment to make sure it will operate safely. Check for burned-out lights, empty sockets and broken bulbs. Inspect wires carefully for breaks, fraying and damaged connections before energizing your holiday decorations. Any damaged strands of lights should be thrown out.

Both can be enjoyed safely. If you use an artificial tree, make sure it is made of safe, fireproof materials. If your artificial tree is pre-lit, make sure you test the tree and check all electrical cords and connectors for damage, fraying or broken parts before using the tree. On a pre-lit tree, check carefully for burnt-out, broken or damaged light sockets. Damaged equipment should be replaced or repaired before using the tree.

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Mountain community has a new fire station

firestationMore than 100 community members and dignitaries attended the ribbon cutting and grand opening of the new San Bernardino County Fire Station 98 in Angelus Oaks. The ceremony kicked off with the County Fire Department Color Guard accompanied by Local 935 Pipes & Drum Band.

Fire Station 98 serves over 400 residents of Angelus Oaks, Barton Flats, and Seven Oaks, along with State Highway 38 from Valley of the Falls Drive to Onyx Summit.  On average, Station 98 firefighters respond to 175 calls a year, mainly medical calls and traffic collisions. They actively assist the Sheriff’s Department with search and rescues, as well as the U.S. Forest Service.
Funding for this $2,275,000 project came from the County general fund.  “When the Board of Supervisors is able to support the building of much needed fire stations, it shows that the economy in our County is rebounding,” stated 3rd District County Supervisor James Ramos. “Public safety remains a priority for me and the Board.  A fire station in Spring Valley Lake in the High Desert is also being built and will be completed next month.”
Pesavento Construction of Las Vegas, Nevada started construction on the 5,570 square foot facility in October of 2012.  The station includes an apparatus bay, a community/training room; living quarters, and an approximate 1,200 square foot mezzanine area that can be used for storage and other future needs. Station 98 houses a fire engine, a brush engine, a brush patrol, a snow cat and a skid steer.

“This is a great day for the community of Angelus Oaks. This is really the community fire station,” stated County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig. “This tight knit community first gained fire service in the early 1970’s when the town’s people felt the need and build an apparatus bay. This is their house and I am proud to serve as their Fire Chief.”

County Fire previously served the Angelus Oaks area out of an aged and substandard fire station that was constructed over 40 years ago as a storage facility for fire apparatus.  An office and training room was added to the station 25 years ago. That building has since been demolished to make way for this functional station.
More photos of the event are posted at under latest news.

Fire burns in river bottom during high wind event

riverbottomfireFirefighters responded to a vegetation fire in the river bottom near Cottonwood and “E” St. in the City of Victorville. Due to a Santa Ana wind event that the High Desert was under, three brush engines, one water tender, one hand crew and two Chief Officers were dispatched.

Initial units arrived within five minutes after dispatched and worked their way into the river bottom to find a large area of vegetation and trees on fire being pushed by erratic winds. With a quick attack, firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to surrounding vegetation near the original fire.

With thick and heavy vegetation found in the river bottom, engine firefighters were assisted by Glen Helen I, an inmate hand crew out of Glen Helen Detention Center. These inmates are an integral part of the firefighting capabilities in the wildland fire arena as they use hand tools and chain saws to overhaul the fire and allow engine crews to get water into deep seated areas that may still be burning below ground.

Due to the predicted Santa Ana Wind event, the San Bernardino County Fire Department had up-staffed the wind prone areas, to include the high desert communities it serves. This up-staffing allowed a swift response from personnel who were staged and ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.

Several homeless individuals were seen in the area prior to fire department arrival, with one individual being detained for questioning. San Bernardino County Fire Investigators determined the fire started from an open campfire which appeared to be actively being used to cook food.

Office of Emergency Services honored for mass care and shelter program

CESA AwardToday the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors recognized the San Bernardino County Fire Department Office of Emergency Services for recently being awarded the California Emergency Services Association (CESA) Public Safety Gold Award for its Mass Care and Shelter, Shelter Operations Compound (SHOC) Program.  The CESA Public Safety Gold Award is the top award for public safety emergency management programs in the State of California.

On Thursday, October 17, 2013, Mike Antonucci, OES Emergency Services Manager and Zack Mullennix, OES Emergency Services Officer, were on hand at this year’s CESA Conference in Santa Rosa to receive the award.  The CESA State Awards Committee was greatly impressed by the program and called it “an innovative and ground breaking approach to sheltering large groups”. 

San Bernardino County’s SHOC Program is a collaborative effort between County Fire, multiple County departments, cities within the Operational Area, the American Red Cross and other partner agencies.

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ShakeOut a success in San Bernardino County


The October 17, 2013 Great ShakeOut was a success in San Bernardino County with 620,412 participants from all sectors including government, school districts, healthcare facilities, nonprofit organizations and local families.

The Great ShakeOut is a worldwide drill performed to increase awareness of earthquakes and help prepare in the event of a disaster.

All San Bernardino County departments participated in the drop, cover and hold on exercise. Some departments followed that exercise with a fire following an earthquake drill and evacuation.

The County Museum held special events the day of the ShakeOut with hundreds of adults and children from nearby schools learning about the impact of earthquakes. The 2014 Great California ShakeOut is scheduled for 10:16 a.m. on October 16, 2014.


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