Arcata Fire personnel responded to a report of smoke in a house on 14th Street in Arcata at 4:50 p.m. Monday, March 4. The first engine, responding out of the recently-staffed Arcata station, arrived within 2 minutes of the alarm and found smoke in the house.
While they were investigating to find the source of the smoke, a television set that was on top of a floor heater began to burn. Additional personnel responded to assist and control the fire.
The resident reported that he didn't know the heater was still usable and he had placed the large television over the floor heater some time ago. He left the house but returned about 10 minutes later to retrieve a cell phone. That's when he noticed the smell of burning plastic in the house.
According to Battalion Chief Sean Campbell, "The fast engine response made the real difference in this fire. If the engine had come from the Mad River area, the fire would have had time to build and involve the whole room and threaten the entire house."
The value of the home and property saved is estimated at $178,000. Damage was limited to about $1,000.
As a result of increased staffing made possible by a recent grant, the Arcata Fire Station at 631 9th Street has been staffed on a full-time (24/7) basis by a minimum of two career firefighters since Thanksgiving Day.
Interim Chief Justin McDonald noted that the faster response is a key component in protecting lives and property. "Minutes really do make a difference when you're dealing with a fire. On-duty staffing in strategically located stations allow us to provide the fastest response to any emergency."
The improvement in staffing and response times is a critical factor in providing responses to the southern portion of the fire district and in the core of Arcata where a majority of emergency responses occur.
The Arcata Fire Protection District exists to protect the lives, environment, and property of the communities of McKinleyville, Arcata, Sunnybrae, Manila and surrounding areas. The District uses a blend of volunteer and career personnel to provide emergency services and is always looking for volunteer personnel. Anyone interested in volunteering is encouraged to visit the website at www.arcatafire.org.