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Laguna Crews Battle Springs Blaze

Firefighter Chris Ornelas comes up to the ridgeline on the Springe fire after putting out a hot spot.

Firefighter Chris Ornelas comes up to the ridgeline on the Springe fire after putting out a hot spot.

Laguna Beach’s fire department deployed two engine crews for several days to join hundreds of firefighters to battle the huge Springs fire in Ventura County, according to local firefighters.

The blaze swept from Camarillo Springs to the Pacific Ocean, scorching 28,000 acres, burning almost 25 buildings and threatening 4,000 homes since it started Thursday and was mostly contained by Monday.

Division Chief Dan Stefano said he served as the strike team leader for wildland engine companies dispatched last Thursday from Laguna, Anaheim, Brea, Fullerton and Montebello.

Laguna engine personnel included Captain Gary Ganger, engineer Jeff Priest, and firefighter Chris Ornelas.

“Upon our arrival, we immediately were assigned and went to work fighting fire, cutting fire breaks, and protecting large agricultural ranches,” Stefano said. “All of our crews worked extremely hard through the night and the next morning; in one instance, Captain Ganger and his crew did an outstanding job of leading the way on a 1,500 foot progressive hoselay, up a steep ridgeline to successfully catch a portion of the fire that had escaped the bulldozers.”

Laguna Engine 302 as part of a strike team on the Springs fire.

Laguna Engine 302 as part of a strike team on the Springs fire.

Additional Orange County strike teams joined the mutual aid effort, including another Laguna engine manned by Captain Andrew Hill, Engineer Tony Carlson, and firefighter Kurt Bladergroen, Stefano said.

As a reflection of how fire resources are reshuffled in a major blaze,  Division Chief Tom Christopher was also dispatched with another Laguna engine to a separate Glendale incident on Friday, but returned soon thereafter, as that fire was quickly extinguished, Stefano said.

Hill’s engine returned Saturday, while Stefano and Ganger’s crew returned Sunday, he said.

 

Photos courtesy LB Fire Department

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