San Miguel Fire
December 25, 2013 (Spring Valley ) – In the early hours of Christmas morning at 12:32 a.m., Lemon Grove Sheriff Deputies responded to a radio call to help San Miguel Fire Department at a brush fire reported near homes on South Granada Avenue in Spring Valley. Upon arrival, deputies and firefighters found a residence on fire at the rear of the house.
Fortunately, residents had safely evacuated. Firefighters doused the blaze and asked Sheriff’’s Bomb-Arson unit to investigate. The fire’s cause was determined to be accidental.
By Miriam Raftery
November 20, 2013 (Spring Valley) – Growing marijuana indoors can prove hazardous to your health and wealth. No, we’re not talking about smoking pot—we’re talking about pot going up in smoke.
Firefighters found that a fire at a Spring Valley home on Campo Road this morning was caused by a marijuana grower’s illicit hookup to a nearby power pole. The blaze caused $40,000 in structural damage and burned up 40 to 50 mature marijuana plants ready for harvest. An average plant grown indoors yields 3.5 ounces of pot, with a street value of $200 to $1,000 an ounce. In addition, SDG&E could opt to hold the growers responsible for the cost of the stolen electricity.
October 18, 2013 (San Diego's East County ) -- San Miguel Fire District will hold two Open House events on Saturday October 19, 2013 in Spring Valley and El Cajon. The larger event will be at Station 15 in Spring Valley, a smaller event will be at station 18 for Crest and Bostonia Residents. Both events will run from 1 0 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Firefighters will interact with residents, provide station and Apparatus tours and provide tons of Safety information. Station 15 will include the use of a Children’s Fire Safety Trailer, for home safety and evacuation lessons, fire extinguisher training and much more.
The station locations are:
Photo courtesy San Miguel Fire District/Cal Fire
July 18, 2013 (Rancho San Diego )–Firefighters from Cal Fire/San Miguel Fire District responded to a six vehicle incident at Jamacha Road and Cuyamaca College Drive in the Rancho San Diego Area shortly after 11 a.m. today.
According to witnesses, the driver of a silver van was traveling eastbound on Jamacha Road when her vehicle sped up and hit five other vehicles, plunging over an embankment. The vehicle also knocked over a tree and continued through a Mobile gas station parking lot, then up a slight embankment, crashing into a light pole at Rancho San Diego Town Centre before bursting into flames.
April 23, 2013 (Spring Valley)—A 5-year-old girl was bitten on the foot by a snake yesterday while playing in a grassy common area of a condo complex at 8700 Spring Canyon Road in the La Presa area of Spring Valley. CAL FIRE/San Miguel Fire District firefighters responded to the call shortly before noon. With help from residents, firefighters from Station 16 located and confirmed it to be a rattlesnake.
The child was transported to Sharp Grossmont where she is receiving anti-venom. "She is doing well, according to the mother," Leonard Villareal with San Miguel Fire told ECM today.
San Diego County Animal Services indicated there was a huge jump in snake calls yesterday. As the weather warms up, the snakes become more active.
Animal Poison Control Center offers several tips to avoid chance encounters with snakes:
March 12, 2013 (Spring Valley)--San Miguel Fire District Firefighters responded to a fully engulfed mobile home fire tonight at Avalon Estates in the 1200 block of Grand Avenue, Spring Valley.
Two of the family’s four residents were home when the fire broke out. One resident, a female broke a bedroom window and escaped the flames, said Leonard Villareal, public information officer at San Miguel Fire Department. The other person home, a young man suffered severe to moderate burns over an estimated 25-percent of his body as he ran through the flames to escape from the front door. He was given stabilizing care on the scene and then rushed to the UCSD Burn Center.
January 10, 2013 (Casa de Oro) – A destroyed half of a resident in the 4100 block of Avoyer Place in Casa de Oro this morning. At first, residents thought smoke in the kitchen area was due to cooking, until one went outside and saw smoke coming from under the garage. Opening the door, he saw fire erupt into massive flames which quickly spread from the garage into the attic and home.
“With the screams of ‘fire’, family members began to evacuate,” said Leonard Villareal with San Miguel Fire District. “Residents inside the home had to carry the elderly female homeowner to safety. Another neighbor entered the home and carried a young woman who was asleep a back bedroom to safety. Another neighbor entered the home and carried a young woman who was asleep in a back bedroom to safety.”
July 8, 2012 (Rancho San Diego)-- Rancho San Diego- San Miguel firefighters along with Cal Fire held a wildland fire in Rancho San Diego today to half an acre.
The fire started in a gulley west of Campo Road at Jamacha Blvd., an area that contains several homeless camps. Discarded clothing and debris burned along with brush and grass, San Miguel Fire reports. Cal Fire is conducting an investigation into the cause.
July 8, 2012 (Spring Valley)—San Miguel Fire District’s Board of Directors will consider the possible appointment of Gary Croucher to become the District’s new Fire Chief. Croucher, a 26 year district veteran, has been serving as Interim Chief since Chief August Ghio suffered serious injuries in a mid-May motorcycle accident, just four days before Ghio’s announced retirement. Read Croucher's full bio.
The Board will also discuss two retired annuitant temporary employment contracts, one for Ghio as a special projects consultant, the other for Amy Wrightson as an administrative specialist.
July 3, 2012 (Mt. Helix) -- As crews from the San Miguel Fire District responded to a 9-1-1 call late last night, flames were already shooting through the roof of the single family home located on the 9800 block of Ogram Drive. Once on scene, San Miguel Firefighters discovered the fire was running the attic of the 4200 square foot, single level home and called in a second alarm.
Update May 6: Staff has now recommended that Chief Ghio be kept on at up to 40-hours a week (maximum of 960 hours through Dec. 31), which the District refers to as "part-time." Under the plan he would be paid his existing hourly contract rate as an annuitant in addition to his pensions. The Board next meets on Wednesday, May 9 with public session at 6:30 p.m.
By Miriam Raftery
May 5, 2012 (Spring Valley) – In a letter submitted to the San Miguel Consolidated Fire District board, Fire Chief August”Augie” Ghio has announced he will retire May 16th. His letter leaves open the possibility of being rehired as Interim Fire Chief while the District weighs whether or not to outsource its fire services to the state through Cal-Fire.
The prospect has led to some heated commentary.
"What they did tonight is unconscionable." --Board member Criss Brainard
"We have to fix this now." --Board President Chris Winters
By Miriam Raftery
April 25, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Despite unanimous testimony by the public and firefighters in opposition, the San Miguel Consolidated Fire District board voted 4-3 tonight to enter into negotiations with Cal-Fire and with labor to turn firefighting services over to the state agency.
READERS EDITORIAL: SAN MIGUEL FIRE BOARD PREPARES FOR RESIDENT BACKLASH AS CAL FIRE RFP IS VOTED ON AT TONIGHT’S BOARD MEETING
By Mary Moran
April 25, 2012 (Spring Valley)—Tonight at 6 p.m. the Board of Directors of the San Miguel Consolidated Fire District will vote on a Request for Proposal (RFP) for Cal-Fire to operate the fire district, which includes the communities of Rancho San Diego, Spring Valley, Jamul, Crest and parts of unincorporated La Mesa and El Cajon.
Fired-up San Miguel Fire District residents are urging the fire district to remain independent. Cal Fire is operated by the State of California. Residents have expressed deep concern over the nearly bankrupt State of California operating its fire district with its purported poor quality and lack of modern technology.
Family vehicle breaks down on way to hospital; officials offer tips for what to do if bitten
April 21, 2012 (Deerhorn Valley) –San Miguel Fire has issued a reminder to the public about the importance of calling 9-1-1 if you or a family member is bitten by a rattlesnake. The warning comes after a two-year-old boy was struck by a rattler while playing in the yard at his Deerhorn Valley home today.
His parents put the boy in their car and his mother dialed 9-1-1 on her cell phone while heading to a hospital. But a flat tire en route could have ended in tragedy.
March 6, 2012 (El Cajon)—Smoke from an attic fire filled Kelley’s Pub on East Bradley Avenue this evening, but no one was injured thanks to the swift response from San Miguel Fire. Firefighters evacuated about 20 patrons safely, then attacked the fire by removing ceiling tiles, eliminating the need to cut large holes in the roof to vent the fire.
By Miriam Raftery
February 23, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Facing a $1.3 million budget deficit, San Miguel Fire District has announced it will accept request for proposals (RFPs) to potentially outsource services including firefighting and fire prevention—core operations for the beleaguered district.
The news ires some district residents, who contend that taxpayers are getting burned.
Story and photos by Russ Lindquist
“…SDG&E told [residents]that a small gas leak had been going on for a month or more.” Chief Andy Menshek, San Miguel Fire Department
October 29, 2011 (Mount Helix)--Safety officials evacuated two homes and ordered six others "sheltered in place" with windows and doors closed on Pandora drive on Mount Helix in La Mesa yesterday beginning at approximately 9:15 a.m. The evacuation and sheltering lasted about two hours, according to Chief Andy Menshek of the San Miguel Fire Department (SMFD) who was the "incident commander" of the event.
The Chief said that the operator of a front-end excavator had broken a gas line, a pipe approximately three-quarters of an inch in diameter. The operator works for a private contractor for San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E).
Sycuan may offer hope for restoring service in Dehesa; Mount Helix could be next to lose fire services
By Miriam Raftery
October 29, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Dehesa residents are losing staffing for their fire engine and being left with only a bare-bones medical crew starting in November. Moreover, a District representative told ECM, Mount Helix could be the next community to lose fire protection if the San Miguel Fire District’s financial situation does not improve.
At a community meeting of concerned Dehesa residents Thursday night, participants put forth a variety of concerns—but also constructive suggestions for pitching in to help the district raise funds.
SCORCHED: SAN MIGUEL FIRE BOARD VOTES TO ELIMINATE FIRE PROTECTION AT DEHESA STATION, IMPOSE STEEP CUTS TO FIREFIGHTERS’ BENEFITS
By Miriam Raftery
“This is a shame and an embarrassment.” – La Mesa Councilman David Allen, former San Miguel Firefighter
“These are wickedly difficult decisions…decisions no fire chief wants to have to make.” – Chief August Ghio
Updated October 28, 2011; originally published October 27, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Over objections of an overflow crowd of more than 100 community members and firefighters, the San Miguel Fire (SMF) District board voted last night to leave only a two-man medical crew at its rural Dehesa station.
October 14, 2011 (San Diego's East County) -- The San Miguel Fire District's Fire Expo has been cancelled due to a labor dispute, district spokesman Leonard Villareal informed ECM this morning. The event was set for tomorrow at the Rancho San Diego Towne Center.
Sheriff and Hazmat team called to scene
By Miriam Raftery
Update October 19, 2011: The San Diego Medical Examiner reports the body was a 65-year old man who died of smoke inhalation. His identity has not yet been released.
October 14, 2011 (Spring Valley) – A fire that engulfed an apartment complex at 3536 Sweetwater Springs Boulevard early this morning was initially suspected of being set to cover up a murder. However, authorities now say that they have ruled out foul play.
“The Sheriff has been called because several persons reported hearing gunshots,” said Leonard Villareal at San Miguel Fire Department. He confirmed that a body was found in a second-story apartment and approximately seven people suffered injuries.
UPDATE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO A LABOR DISPUTE.
San Miguel Fire seeks sponsors and door prize donors for event
October 8, 2011 (Rancho San Diego) – Bring the family for fun and free activities at the 5th annual Fire Expo at the Rancho San Diego Towne Center on Saturday, October 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event features a children’s zone, rescue demonstrations, fire and rescue vehicles, fire safety and health information, law enforcement demonstrations, music, free food and free prize drawings.
“When the flag came down dozens of people volunteered to help catch and fold it. Some were moved to tears.” – Leonard Villareal, San Miguel Fire Department
September 7, 2011 (Rancho San Diego)--On September 11, 2011 the 30 x 56 foot Patriot Flag will fly in New York as a tribute to the Armed Forces, first responders, second responders, families of the 9/11 victims and those who lost their lives in the worst terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil ten years ago.
Yesterday, the 75-pound flag flew over Rancho San Diego, ending a 223,000 mile trek across the United States. The Patriot Flag flew in 50 states in 50 weeks, and was displayed 225 times.
September 6, 2011 (Spring Valley)—Two fires briefly threatened homes this evening in Spring Valley. A careless cigarette has been blamed for one blaze, while the other appears to be natural in cause, according to Leonard Villareal, spokesman for the San Miguel Fire District.
July 19, 2011 (San Diego's East County) -- San Miguel Fire District invites you to join the San Miguel Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).
Free training includes search and rescue, earthquake preparedness, fire extinguishers, medical aid for disaster victims, and disaster psychology. The next free course starts July 23 and continues each Saturday through August 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
June 30, 2011 (Spring Valley) -- The Mount Miguel Covenant Village has come to the rescue, helping to save the San Miguel Fire District's Tactical Paramedic program. The continuing budget crisis has impacted District funding for this critical program.
Victim found with no pulse, not breathing, and without identification -- hospital traced identity through running shoes and IPOD
June 8, 2011 (Spring Valley ) – “There was no warning. I was just running—and then I woke up in the hospital,” says Grant Fleener, 60, who collapsed from a heart attack suddenly while on his morning run on Sweetwater Springs Blvd. on April 29. Yesterday, he returned to San Miguel Fire Station to thank a passerby, firefighters and paramedics who all helped saved his life.
May 15, 2011 (Spring Valley) – A fire at the McGrath rock quarry resulted in a multi-agency response hindered by explosions from combustibles and ammunition in storage on the site, which had no water access.
“Had this been three weeks later with the brush drying out, we would have also had a wildland fire,” said Battalion Chief Andrew Menshek with San Miguel Fire Department.
One spends more than twice as much on employee health insurance--almost one million dollars more
By R. Perry
March 5, 2011 (San Diego's East County) -- The San Miguel Fire Protection District spends more than twice as much on health benefits for its 96 employees than does the neighboring fire department in El Cajon.
In 2009 San Miguel Fire asked voters for a 1.5 million dollar benefit fee. The voters turned them down. The result was the closure of an entire engine company reducing response capability by eleven percent.