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Layton firefighters provide assistance to California

Article Published 10/01/2008

News from Layton City Fire Chief Kevin Ward:

"This year has been a very busy fire season in the Western United States. Before the fire season kicked into 'high gear' in Utah this summer, Layton City’s firefighters were already busy assisting the State of California.

"Fire Engineer Jeff Bentley and firefighters Ralph Stott and Gary McCloy responded to the 'Gap Fire' in the Santa Barbara area as part of a strike team, with other engines from Logan and Syracuse. After that fire was contained, the engine was deployed to the 'Butte Complex.' The engine crew was able to complete a 14-day assignment.

"Battalion Chief Ryan Eckardt and firefighter/paramedic John Pettijohn responded on a brush engine to the 'Iron Complex,' by Eureka, Calif. They were able to assist with fire suppression and 'burnout' operations with several 'hotshot' crews for their 14-day assignment.

"Pettijohn returned to California as part of a 'heli-attack' crew. Being a paramedic as well as a trained firefighter, he would be a real asset to the crew in emergencies. No one knew just how important that role would be until Aug. 5, when a disastrous helicopter crash occurred.

"Firefighter Pettijohn had just returned to the helibase after assisting with fire suppression operations. Word was received that the other Carson helicopter had crashed. Pettijohn jumped back on board his helicopter and responded to the crash site. He was able to provide life saving emergency medical assistance to the survivors and organize the rescue operations. After the injured were treated and transported, Pettijohn stayed behind and spent the night on the mountain near the active fireline, in hopes additional survivors might be found.

"The assistance rendered to California allows Layton firefighters the opportunity to gain valuable experience on major wildfires. These opportunities further prepare Layton’s firefighters for any potential fires along the Wasatch Front.

"Service levels to the citizens are never decreased, as reserve fire apparatus is primarily used and the city is compensated for the firefighters time and 'backfill' on the shift work. Additionally, the city receives compensation for the use of the fire apparatus. These funds are placed in a special revenue account for vehicle maintenance or to purchase equipment."

Thanks to Chief Ward and all the Layton Fire Department officials for their tireless work and efforts to keep our community — as well as others — safe and secure in the event of fire or other emergency.