SAFER Monthly Meeting Minutes - December 2015

SAFER Meeting Minutes

December 18, 2015

SAFER Board Attendees:   President Fortman,  Seely, Lloyd , Quinn, Gurrola, Hudson, Past President’s Dolan, Duran and Newman.

Hosted by: Santa Fe Springs Fire Department

Mike Crook  – Fire Chief

1000    Meeting called to order – President Fortman – (B/C LAFD) Introduced D/C Hayward who welcomed SAFER and opened the meeting, led the flag salute and moment of silence to remember our fallen brothers and sisters in the fire, police and military.

Thanks to Ruth and staff for outstanding  hospitality and breakfast.

SAFER email :, twitter, facebook etc.



“Mission Incident” – Ventura County Fire Department

Capt. Weisenberg & Eng. Bill Taylor

Background: (KTLA News Report)

More than three dozen people were injured Tuesday morning after a vacuum truck exploded at a wastewater disposal facility in the Santa Paula area, prompting evacuations and road closures in the surrounding area.The explosion occurred about 3:46 a.m. in the 800 block of Mission Rock Road (map), about half a mile southeast of the 126 Freeway, officials from the Ventura County Sheriff's Office and Fire Department said."It sounded like a car was coming through my house," said Mike Morin, who cares for dogs at a nearby animal rescue. The truck had been spraying a combustible white liquid at the time of the incident, fire Capt. Mike Lindbery confirmed to KTLA. The explosion spread the hazardous material around in a 300-foot radius, he said. Two workers at the scene, three firefighters and an ambulance driver were hospitalized with unknown injuries, according to Sheila Murphy, a county spokeswoman. Twelve others were being held for observation, she said.

The three firefighters' boots had "spontaneously combusted" when they came in contact with the white liquid from the vacuum truck, said Rick Macklin of the Ventura County Fire Department. The compounds appeared to be sulfuric acid and an organic peroxide, according to Dr. Robert Levin, Ventura County Public Health's medical director.

The owner of Santa Clara Waste Water Co., where the explosion occurred, said the business was established in 1959 and never had a major problem such as Tuesday's. The plant only takes nonhazardous waste, owner Doug Edwards said."This is unheard of, that's why we're so taken aback," Edwards said. The truck that blew up was delivering industrial waste, he said. Aerial footage showed firefighters working to extinguish several small spot fires that were still burning at the facility as of 10 a.m. The blaze was being allowed to burn out on its own into the night. Authorities hoped to begin an investigation into the cause of the explosion by 8 p.m. Fire officials did not want to spray water on the blaze because they were afraid chemicals would run into the nearby Santa Clara River. Mandatory evacuations were ordered for all residents within 1 mile of 815 Mission Rock Road, authorities said. A shelter-in-place order was issued for residents within 2 to 3 miles of that location. A Red Cross shelter was open at 530 West Main Street (map).Mission Rock Road was closed to all traffic until further notice. For several hours, a 6-mile stretch of Highway 126 was closed in both directions between Wells and Peck roads (map). Briggs and Olivelands elementary school were closed as a result of the incident.

The cause of the explosion, which occurred about 50 miles west-northwest of downtown Los Angeles, was not immediately known. Updates on road closures, evacuation orders and shelters were available online at


“Training” Presentation: (Accompanying PowerPoint with embedded video and incident audio)

 November 18, 2014 –0356 hours Incident# 14-0075269 – Santa Clara Waste Water Treatment Facility.

Units responded to reported explosion and fire that became a major HazMat incident with civilian and fire fighter injuries. Ultimately four fire personnel have been retired due to exposure to chemicals and Ventura County Engine 26 had to be salvaged. 

Location was only permitted to receive waste water (sewage). Incident was located in Santa Paula. Patients transported to VCMC and “walk-ins” needed decontamination but accurate ID of materials was not initially available. ER was ultimately shut down due to contamination by an “unknown contaminate” from patients.  A total of three area hospitals were impacted by the incident. Speaker related he should have requested additional SAFETY OFFICERS to make notifications to all impacted agencies / institutions. As “unknown” liquid dried into a crystalline form, it became “shock sensitive” which resulted in an explosion when the rig was moved and when crews walked on material. Ultimately agents from ATF took the material to a lab for analysis (outside their vehicle) as no other labs wanted the “unknown” in their laboratory. The material was thrown over all area, where it dried and became “shock sensitive”.  Todd Road Jail (a nearby facility), Animal Compound (pit bull rescue), and Santa Paula Carwash has oxidizer spread to those locations.  One entire Fed Typed HazMat Team was pulled off the incident to conduct / support decontamination at the Hospital. Incident Safety Officer related they needed their agency helicopter to provide an area view of the incident. 37 people were treated for exposure to the chemical.  70+ dogs removed by volunteers under direction of Sheriff and Incident Safety Officer. LACoFD HazMat 150 responded under Mutual Aid to assist and handled the Todd Jail portion of the incident. They were later replaced with Federal HazMat Team 72. As fire consumed plastic totes and adjacent storage containers, numerous chemicals were mixing and reacting issuing toxic clouds. The HazMat crew(s) worked with DA’s Environmental Crimes Section to sample all totes and other storage containers on site and at an additional storage site used for truck / trailer storage.

The Incident follow-up investigations have resulted in 180 indictments issued to business principles so far.

Lessons Learned:

  • Establish strong control measures at the FRO level.

  • S.I.N. (Safety, Isolate / Deny Entry, Notifications)

  • Deny EXIT as well as entry of personnel until decon has been addressed

  • Coordinate early with Law Enforcement for strong site access control.

  • If you are challenged with containing possible contaminated individuals – contact the surrounding hospitals and neighboring jurisdictions ASAP.  

  • Attempt to verify what RP has told you about the product:

  • Review intel

  • CERS (California Environmental Reporting System)

  • Inventories reviewed may not always be accurate.

  • More Safety Officers early in the incident

  • Focus on AREA Control

  • Notify poson control safety as quickly as possible.

  • Establish relationships with outside resources that will support your operations. (ie local, area, regional or national laboratories)




Steve Cooley – MES, Wished everyone in SAFER a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Eric l. Higgins - Bestway Laundry systems, Manufacturer rep and sales / service for extractors.

Tom Ramstead and Tracy Rabe- Line Gear Fire Rescue Equipment, Representing several product lines.

Jim Evans – Wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Lazaro Martinez – AllStar Fire Equipment, Thanks first responders for service.

Mike Scheldge – Rescue Litter, A new SAFER vender: Has designed a “Rescue Litter” with unique design features allowing exceptional maneuverability for fire / rescue as well as Law incidents.

Frank Uram –Qual-Com Communications – Handling DRONES from Northrop-Grumman that have IR camera as well as remote camera functions.

Eric Fullerton Fire (Retired)

Louie Rodreguez – CSFA – Happy Holidays, gave a gift to Steve Lloyd – retiring SAFER Treasurer.

Scott Marsahll L.N. Curtis – Has Smith detection equipment, rain gear for up-coming El Nino rainy season.

 Keith Gurrola – Santa Paula Fire Department (Ventura County Fire Department retired): Now working for Santa Paula FD.

  • 1200 Meeting Adjourned , next meeting January 15 th , 2016 at 0930 hours, Los Angeles County Camp 2 in La Canada. Program: “Blue Card” Program” – Alan and Nick Brunacini.


    Los Angeles County Fire Department – Camp 2, 4810 North Oak Drive, La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011-3759. Contact: Capt. Dick Weise (951) 808-1914 Cell /



Vender’s, Manufacture’s and Consultants represented at this meeting:

Jennifer Wise – Associate -  W.L. Gore & Associates

105 Vieve’s Way

Elkton, MD 21921

(410) 392-3600 Plant

(410) 506-5490


Tom Ramstead – Line Gear Fire and Rescue Equipment

Tracy Rabe – LineGear Fire and Rescue Equipment


23121 Antonio Parkway #125

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688

(800) 466-7574


Louie Rodriguez – Long Beach Fire Department / CSFA Member Benefits Specialist

1232 Q Street, Second floor

Sacramento, CA 95811

(800) 451-2732 Office

(714) 580-9338 Cell


Allen A. Rom – Metro Account Manager

Fire-Dex, LLC

780 South Progress Drive

Medina, OH 44256

(330) 242-1923 Mobile

(330) 723-0000 Ext 312


Michael Schlags – Cobra Rescue Litters


P.O. Box 1981

Buelton, CA 93427-1981

(805) 896-7993


Eric l. Higgins – Vice President    Bestway Laundry Solutions – UniMac Sales and Service

1035 E. Third Street

Corona, CA92879

Phone (800) 542-6166 ext204

Cell (951) 532-7700


Frank Uram- President  -  Quala-Tel Communications

Tel (858) 577-2900

Fax (858) 693-4109

Toll Free (800) 442-1504

Cell (858) 945-1659

9925 Business Park Avenue- Suite A

San Diego, CA92131-1171



Louie Garcia – Western States Fire Equipment

(909) 510-4266

(213) 272-5680

13800 Valley Blvd.

Fontana, CA92335


Meeting Attendees (Sign-ins)

Agency / Co




Downey Fire (Retired)

Chuck Seely

(562) 824-3225

Los Angeles Fire Dept/SAFER Pres

Ellsworth Fortman

(661) 6451810


Frank Uram

Torrance Fire (RET.)

Steve Lloyd

los Angeles Fire Department

Scott Quinn


Ventura County Fire Dept

Mike Weisenberg


Ventura County Fire Dept

Ventura County Fire Dept

Bestway Laundry Solutions

Ventura County Fire Dept

Michael Weisenberg

805 990-4326

Hemet Fire Department (Ret.)

Scott Hudson


CSFA/Long Beach FD

Louie Rodriguez


L.N Curtis

Scott Marshall

(626) 840-7589

H3 Safety Marketing

Brian Harvick


Los Angeles County Fire

Dick Weise

951 808-1914


Torrance Fire Dept

Steve Deuel


Cobra Litters LLC

Michael Schlags


Ventura County Fire Dept

Aimin Alton

Ventura County Fire Dept

William Taylor

Allstar Fire Equipment Inc.

Lazaro Martinez


Ventura City FD

Lou Manzano


Santa Paula Fire

Dustin Lazenby


Santa Paula Fire

Keith Gurrola


Bestway Laundry Solutions

Eric Higgins


Los Angeles City

Jim Dolan


Fullerton Fire

Eric Newman


LA County FD

Tony Duran



Steve Cooley


LineGear Fire & Rescue Equip

Tom Ramstead

949 709 8808

LineGear Fire & Rescue Equip

Tracy Rabe

929 709 8808