They responded to a mass shooting, then fought wildfires hours later

Last week, firefighters in southern California raced to save the lives of victims of a mass shooting. Just h...

Posted: Nov 13, 2018 5:08 AM
Updated: Nov 13, 2018 5:08 AM

Last week, firefighters in southern California raced to save the lives of victims of a mass shooting. Just hours later, they sped off to battle two wildfires, several miles apart.

They're still on duty four days later, fighting the Woolsey fire in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, and the Hill fire in Ventura County, said Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Frank Lima, a union leader.

2018 California Thousand Oaks bar shooting

Accidents, disasters and safety

California

California wildfires

Continents and regions

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal offenses

Firefighters and firefighting

Fires

Homicide

Labor and employment

Latin America

Lima

Mass murder

Murder

Natural disasters

North America

Peru

Shootings

South America

Southwestern United States

The Americas

United States

Wildfires

Workers and professionals

"Those are two national news stories just on their own, let alone back to back right in the same footprint of ... 20 miles," Lima, a vice-president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, said in an interview on Monday. "That's tough, it takes a big emotional toll on you."

"And as you're processing it and you haven't come down, then you throw another brick on there. ... It gets a little bit heavier."

About 20 firefighters from two Ventura County fire stations spent hours triaging victims of the shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks late Wednesday.

Ian David Long, a US Marine veteran, opened fire there and killed 12 people, including Ventura County Sheriff Sgt. Ron Helus, before taking his own life.

Helus had been near the bar when the call came in, authorities said. He had been talking to his wife on the phone.

"Our members worked tirelessly on him to do everything they could to make sure he survived," Lima said.

By 6 a.m. Thursday, the Ventura County firefighters, who were among a battalion of firefighters who responded to the shooting, returned to their fire stations.

Hours later, Lima said he looked up from the parking lot of the Borderline bar and saw "the whole sky was loaded with smoke."

"And everybody just went," he said of the Ventura fire fighters.

The Woosley fire doubled in size in a 90-minute period Friday morning to 8,000 acres. By Monday, it was up to more than 91,500 acres, and was about 20% contained.

The Hill fire in Ventura County had torched about 4,531 acres, and was 75% contained Monday.

The Ventura firefighters haven't yet been able to turn their attention to their own homes, Lima said.

Lima, who has responded major national disasters such as September 11 and Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, said the union offers offers counseling for the firefighters. Everyone process the stress of a crisis in different ways, he said.

"It's like grieving. Everybody has family members, and some are quiet and some cry. Some don't cry. Some want to be by themselves," Lima said.

A third fire in Northern California also continues to burn. At its fastest, the Camp Creek fire, which started early Thursday, spread at more than a football field per second, or 80 football fields per minute. By Monday, it had torched more than 113,000 acres, killed 29 people and virtually destroyed the town of Paradise. It was about 25% contained by Monday morning, according to the state firefighting agency Cal Fire.

Lima said he has talked to the firefighters who responded the shooting and the wildfires. They're tired, he said, but running on adrenalin.

"They've got a fire raging down their back," he said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15229

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds99925
Lauderdale73561
Madison72023
Scott65012
Neshoba63038
Jones59825
Forrest55338
DeSoto5337
Rankin4217
Leake42112
Holmes39728
Copiah3104
Jackson30513
Attala29216
Yazoo2734
Newton2714
Leflore25831
Harrison2577
Lincoln25628
Monroe25525
Lamar2355
Oktibbeha23512
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Pike20211
Adams19615
Noxubee1856
Wayne1771
Warren1719
Washington1687
Covington1652
Bolivar16011
Jasper1574
Smith15011
Lee1496
Kemper14411
Clarke14318
Chickasaw13312
Lafayette1314
Coahoma1214
Carroll11711
Marion1159
Clay1124
Winston1121
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Yalobusha905
Hancock9011
Tate891
Grenada893
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Union835
Marshall833
Montgomery831
Sunflower813
Jefferson Davis772
Tippah7311
Panola703
Webster691
Calhoun644
Humphreys607
Amite601
Walthall550
Tunica543
Prentiss523
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Tishomingo320
Pontotoc323
Stone300
Franklin282
Tallahatchie271
Quitman260
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene121
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 61°
Columbus
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 60°
Oxford
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 55°
Starkville
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 55°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather