Breaking News – August 24, 2020 Firefighters helping Firefighters

Menlo Park Fire Protection District

Firefighters helping Firefighters

Local Fire Districts supporting each other as the CZU Lightening Complex Fire

nearly destroys their small communities

Still Standing! - Boulder Creek Volunteer Firefighters welcome supplies of firefighting foam, additional portable radios and other critical supplies from the Menlo Park Fire District – Credit Menlo Fire

The mostly volunteer Firefighters with the Ben Lomond and Boulder Creek Fire Districts know that help is in short supply all over the State. These small bands of dedicated volunteers mixed in with local professional firefighters who live in these tight knit communities, but often work elsewhere in the Bay Area, are used to being on their own and only having to rely on each other, their training and dedication to the communities they serve. The CZU Lightening Complex Fire has forever changed the landscape, their communities and their lives. Empty streets and homes resemble a ghost town as acrid smoke fills the air like a fog. For the last week they have attempted to prevent their neighbors homes from being snatched by the ever present fire, sometimes successful, sometimes not, including at the cost of their own homes.

The Menlo Park Fire Protection District, provides critical fire and emergency services to its areas in the Town of Atherton, Cities of East Palo Alto and Menlo Park, unincorporated San Mateo County and on contract to the SLAC National Accelerator and Laboratories. In total, the Fire District has 100 Firefighters and is also a sponsoring agency for the State and National Urban Search and Rescue Response System, where it is one of eight in California and one of 28 National Rescue Teams.

Most importantly, the Fire District has a multi-acre training center near the Dumbarton Bridge and a 28,000 square foot Special Operations warehouse in East Palo Alto. Fire Chief Schapelhouman said we specialize in rapid mobility for various actual emergencies with the potential for immediate deployment anywhere in the United States and its territories. Our mind set as first responders is adapt, improvise and overcome. The initial “ask” from Ben Lomond was for a loaner stripped down reserve training fire engine. But we quickly realized when we brought it up there that they and Boulder Creek, needed much, much more. Fire personnel were lying on the concrete floor of the apparatus room in their dirty gear just to get some sleep. Within hours we were back with a 6000 Gallon Water Tanker we occasionally use at our training center along with pallets of water and Gatorade. Within the next 24 hours, we delivered cots and sleeping bags, toiletries, spare radios and fire foam. Now each day we ask them what they need and serve as their logistical supply line so they can focus on the important task of saving their communities”.

Pictured above - Menlo Fire Mechanic Rudy Torres works late Monday night to repair a Boulder Creek Fire Response Vehicle after starting his day working on a similar Menlo Fire

Response Unit that needed repair due to use at the same CZU Fire – Credit Menlo Fire

Meanwhile, on the other side of the CZU Fire, another crew from Menlo Fire, along with Woodside, Redwood City and North County Fire, known as Task Force 2287, spend 24 hour shifts working below La Honda, in an area know as the Old Haul Trail, working as part of a quickly organized, first ever, specialized response Task Force of off road smaller 4x4 vehicles (pickup trucks) with light weight hoses, hand tools and smaller pumps and water tanks. They are actively engaging in both fire suppression and creating a fire line to prevent fire progression further into San Mateo County.

Pictured above – Task Force 2287 prepares to move deeper into the San Mateo County side of CZU Lighting Complex Fire – Credit Menlo Fire

Task Force 2287 is working along the old Haul Road below La Honda


Pictured above (left) – Menlo Firefighter/Paramedic Marcus Bejorquez holds the fire line as fire falls from the trees at night and Menlo Senior Engineer Mike Lemos (right)

declares victory at daybreak after an active night of fire suppression and extinguishment, where Task Force 2287 stopped the fire!

Fire Chief Schapelhouman said “we currently have a total of 13 firefighters and 2 Chief Officers deployed to not only the CZU Lightening Complex Fire, but also the River Fire in Monterey County, SCU Lightening Complex Fire in Contra Costa County,  LNU Lightening Complex Fire in Napa County and the Castle Complex Fire in Sequoia National Park. On Wednesday, our Drone Team will start flying over the Boulder Creek Fire Protection District conducting damage assessment and looking for hot spots with thermal imaging camera’s”.

For more information from the Fire District please go to our web-site at or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Next Door

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