Alhambra firefighters save homes in Woolsey fire

By Glenn Barnett

From left: Capt. Randy Miranda, Firefighter Ruben Vasquez, Firefighter/Paramedic Timothy Paulson, and Firefighter/Paramedic Josh Novella at the Woolsey Fire.

 On Thursday, Nov. 8, at 2:30 p.m. Alhambra Fire Engine 71 pulled out of Station 71 and headed for Agoura where the Woolsey fire had just broken out. The four men aboard, Capt. Randy Miranda, Engineer Josh Novella, Firefighter/Paramedic Ruben Vasquez, and Firefighter/Paramedic Timothy Paulson, would serve on the front lines of the fire for the next 50 hours without being relieved. They were on the line or at rest and on call for the next nine days.

There have been three massive fires in California within a year: the Thomas fire in Santa Barbara and northern Ventura counties in December 2017, the Mendocino Complex fire in the summer of 2018, and the Woolsey fire in November 2018. Alhambra firefighters responded to all three fires. For the Woolsey fire, it was Captain Miranda and his crew’s turn.

After their long stint on duty, the Alhambra firefighters were finally relieved and headed to the base camp for all the firefighters at Camarillo Airport near Oxnard. There they could wash, eat, sleep, and relax a little for 24 hours before heading back for a 24-hour shift on the fire line.

After arriving in the Agoura/Calabasas area on Nov. 8, they were transferred to Malibu the next day and spent the rest of their time there. They were first assigned to the Paradise Cove Trailer Park and then were assigned to one hot spot after another along Pacific Coast Highway.

They were not alone. Individual fire companies formed strike teams totaling five engines and a battalion chief in charge. The Alhambra firefighters were teamed with other four-man crews from Monterey Park, San Gabriel, Arcadia, and South Pasadena. Their battalion chief was from Glendale. Together they became Strike Team 1205A. They traveled and worked together for the duration.

Capt. Miranda is proud that their combined efforts helped to save several homes even when the neighboring structures were fully engulfed in flames. He also is thankful for the residents of the area for their kindness. They offered the firefighters food, water, and Gatorade and allowed them to use their restrooms. They were a great support to all the first responders even when their homes were in the path of the oncoming flames.

The Alhambra crew returned home on the afternoon of Nov. 16 exhausted but proud that when duty called they rose to the occasion. We all offer our thanks to Alhambra’s finest who serve as first responders whenever emergencies arise.


Alhambra Fire DepartmentWoolsey firefirefightersAlhambra Fire Engine 71

Jun 2019


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