Fire Chief Praises Local Firefighters

Carmichael, CA  |  By Susan Maxwell Skinner
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Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Chief Todd Harms (second from left) spoke recently to Carmichael Chamber of Commerce members. He was joined by Community Relations officer Chris Dargan (left), Captain Christ Vestal and Chamber CEO Virginia Stone. Photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - “I couldn’t be prouder of our guys,” Sacramento Metro Fire Chief told Carmichael Chamber of Commerce members last week. Harms praised the part local firefighters played during recent wild fires in Butte County.

Sac Metro provided a helicopter, 10 engines, strike team leaders and 53 firefighters. This contribution swelled a force of 5,600 fire professionals that headed to Butte County from western US states. “When our guys began their shift that morning in Sacramento,” said Harms,” they were probably wondering how many calls they’d get and what they’d eat for lunch. They had no idea they’d be called away for 12 to 16 days and working 40-hour shifts. In the beginning, their job wasn’t about putting out fires; it was about getting people out. News media couldn’t show what complete devastation confronted them.”

Firefighters are used to evacuating neighborhoods, Harms explained. The need to simultaneously evacuate entire towns was horrific even for trained professionals. “Because most of the cell services were down, these guys couldn’t even call their wives to let them know they were safe. If was hard on their families. Our members did a great job.”

Known as the Camp Fire, the blaze that began on November 8 is counted at the most deadly in United States history.  Fire destroyed the town of Paradise and scorched more than 153,000 acres of Butte County. Eighty-five people died. Two hundred more remain unaccounted for at this time.