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Newport-Mesa firefighters join battle against killer blaze

October 27, 2006|By Amanda Pennington

A strike team including 10 men from Costa Mesa and Newport Beach fire departments headed toward the San Jacinto Mountains early Friday morning to help battle a deadly wildfire believed to be set by an arsonist.

The firefighters left just after 3 a.m. Friday to go to the Esperanza Fire, which triggered a smoke advisory in Orange and Riverside counties. Air quality in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa remains at good to moderate levels, like most other areas, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Monitor the smells in the area, and if you’re going to exercise outside pay special attention to the way your body reacts, said Costa Mesa Battalion Chief Fred Seguin. He said it might be a good idea to exercise indoors or put it off.

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"You will smell it, sometimes ashes will rain this far down from 70 or 80 miles away," he said.

The fire in the San Jacinto Mountains killed four firefighters and critically injured one other Thursday as they were protecting someone’s home.

Costa Mesa and Newport Beach firefighters were assigned to structure protection and to assist hand crews to try to create a break line in the fire, said Newport Beach Battalion Chief Ralph Restadius.

The departments are sent out on wildland fires as part of the Orange County’s strike team rotation. Local firefighters knew it was their turn this time, said Costa Mesa Battalion Chief Fred Seguin.

"We’re trained for this stuff," Seguin said. "Every year we train for the wildland stuff, go over all the safety aspects

The fire has reportedly engulfed about 24,000 acres and was only about 5% contained as of Friday at noon. Costa Mesa and Newport Beach firefighters join about 1,750 others battling the blaze. Ten structures were destroyed, but no additional injuries have been reported, Riverside County Fire spokesman Gene Ostrandersaid.

Costa Mesa Fire sent Capt. Kirk Dominic, along with Capt. Lenny Goodsir, engineer Anthony Mancillas, firefighters Mark Martinezand Mike Krezafrom Station Four on Placentia Avenue.

Newport Beach Fire sent a team from its Newport Coast station including Capt. Mike Ybarra, engineer Richard Ruffini, paramedic-firefighter Chris Brownand firefighter Grant Parsons.

so when it comes time to be out there, you’re ready."

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