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Budget cuts and fire engine brown-out significant factor in Oak Park blaze

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Sacramento, CA | When a fire truck crew arrived on scene of a house ablaze Thursday afternoon, they had to wait for an engine with water to arrive from a distance.

Thursday afternoon, Sacramento firefighters were called out to a blaze in the Oak Park area. When Truck 6 arrived in three minutes (trucks carry no water) the structure was fully involved with fire. The first engine, Engine 10 (carrying water), arrived in 6-8 minutes; Engine 6 (who likely would have arrived with Truck 6) was browned out due to budget cuts.

Fortunately this was an unoccupied home which had burned a couple of years ago but had not been torn down. Chief Chris Ortiz explained that fire grows exponentially and literally doubles itself every minute. Had this been an occupied home, given the brown-out delayed first in engine with water, the difference of minutes is very significant.

The fire was so burning so hot that surrounding homes, called exposures, had to be protected from radiant heat so they would not catch fire as well.

I asked Chief Ortiz about the City’s “Dangerous Building” organization that is supposed to tear down structures such as this when the fire occurred a couple of years ago. Ortiz stated that he called for “Dangerous Buildings” to respond; his dispatch advised him that “Dangerous Buildings” would not respond. Ortiz stated that he could not divulge the reason.

There were no injuries in this blaze and the cause remains under investigation.

Battalion Chief, Chris Ortiz, talks about the incident…

Defensive 2 Story Structure Fire, June 7, 2012 Oak Park, CA from SacMav Rapid Media on Vimeo.


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