City, prison firefighting efforts shared

By Jessica Cejnar, The Triplicate June 22, 2013 01:30 pm

 

The Crescent City Council discussed the following issues Monday:

• A mutual aid agreement with Pelican Bay. The Council voted 4-0, with Councilwoman Kathryn Murray absent, in favor of an agreement between the Crescent City Volunteer Fire Department and Pelican Bay State Prison Fire Department.

The prison’s fire department is staffed with Level 1 inmates who have earned the right to be there and typically have their sentence reduced by working as firefighters, Crescent City Fire Chief Steve Wakefield said. A single engine typically consists of a fire captain and four inmates, he said.

“They’ve been a tremendous resource,” Wakefield said. “They’re physically fit and well trained.”

Pelican Bay has been called to assist Crescent City firefighters in nearly all major blazes in the city, according to a city staff report. Wakefield said he hasn’t heard of an incident where the volunteer fire department provided aid to Pelican Bay, but under an agreement with the prison Crescent City would try to send a first engine staffed with firefighters who are also correctional officers.

Because of the prison’s construction, which primarily consists of steel and concrete buildings, the likelihood of Pelican Bay calling on Crescent City for aid is low, Wakefield said. He added that the likelihood of Pelican Bay firefighters assisting in medical calls is low except in a major emergency such as a large traffic accident.

“It’s rare that they would ever go into somebody’s house and treat somebody inside their home,” Wakefield said, adding that the firefighters from both departments, including the inmates, work in groups and are always supervised. “It’s never happened yet. They’re very sensitive to those kinds of things too, they understand the issue.”

 

• Seafood processing plant and block grant funds. The Council authorized city staff to hire an economic development consultant to provide underwriting services in connection with upgrades to a seafood processing plant at the Crescent City Harbor.

Community Development Services, which has offices in Glenhaven and Colusa, will help the city complete tasks that were required when it was awarded a Community Development Block Grant Program Planning and Technical Assistance grant in 2011. One of those tasks includes completing an Over the Counter Economic Development application in connection with the seafood processing plant upgrades, according to the city’s staff report.

The city had initially hired an underwriter to complete the work, but the contract expires June 30 and the application has not been completed, according to the staff report. The grant expires in December.

The city issued a request for proposals to seven economic development consultants listed on the California Department of Housing and Community Development and the California Association for Local Economic Development websites. Community Development Services was the only firm that responded, according to the city’s staff report.

The grant funding obtained by the city will result in a loan to the harbor, which would return to the city under the CDBG Program Income program, according to the staff report.

• Every 15 Minutes. Brandy Gonzalez of the California Highway Patrol showed Council members a video presentation from the Every 15 Minutes event at Del Norte High School.

Del Norte juniors and seniors saw firsthand last month what could happen if someone gets behind the wheel after drinking. The students who participated as actors in the simulation created a movie of their experience.

Gonzalez thanked the Crescent City Police Department, the Del Norte County sheriff, Sutter Coast Hospital and other agencies and businesses who participated in the event, which is held every two years.

The movie can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoMk-VFC53M.

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