SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Central Coast firefighters received a call last Wednesday, May 14, from their local county fire department and were asked to send a strike team to Southern California to assist with the San Diego fires.
They got the call around 10:30 at night and were on the road within 30 minutes. San Luis Obispo City Fire met the rest of their strike team at Cal Fire station 20 in Nipomo.
They teamed up in Nipomo and drove to San Diego; they got into Carlsbad at 5:30 a.m.
After breakfast in Carlsbad the strike team was assigned to the line about 7 a.m.
Capt. John MacDonald, with San Luis Obispo City Fire, said "Our assignment consisted of doing mop-up and patrol, so basically we were assigned to division M of the fire, which was an island in the middle of the fire where it had burned right up against homes in the Carlsbad City."
The poinsettia fire was mostly contained when the San Luis Obispo team arrived.
"We assisted in going out, and putting out hotspots and making sure the fire was totally out in that area," MacDonald said.
The other job in that area was to look for a missing person. MacDonald said, "They knew that there was a homeless man in the area that had been missing so we searched the fire area to see if we could find him and we weren't able to find him that day but the next day another strike team found his body."
"The first thing that hit me was the amazing work that the fire departments from Southern California did. Carlsbad did an amazing job protecting the residents that were right up against the fire's edge," MacDonald said. He added, "The second thing I noticed was how grateful the community was."
MacDonald said the strike team he was a part of was led by the battalion chief from Paso Robles, Kevin Taylor, and they had engines from 5 Cities Fire Authority, San Luis Obispo City, San Miguel Fire and Cal Fire.