Fresno Fire resources spread thin as heat bakes Central Valley


A Fresno Fire battalion chief says calls 'dramatically' increase during summer

FRESNO, California — The Fresno Fire Department has been working non-stop Saturday, responding to call after call. It spread their resources thin and, ultimately, impacted how they were able to respond to incidents.

As smoke continued to rise from a building on south Palm Avenue, Fresno Fire crews continued to vigorously put the fire out.

Investigators still don’t know how the fire sparked. However, the building it started in turned into a total loss.

That building fire was just one bullet point on a long list of fires crews had to deal with Saturday. Two grass fires also kept crews busy, along Highway 41 and Clovis Avenue.

Battalion Chief Todd Tuggle said calls dramatically increase in summertime, mostly because of grass fires.

“On the other hand, the rest of the calls we go on do not drop in the summer. So, our medical aids, traffic accidents, hazardous materials [calls] — all of that continues,” he said.

In total, nine engines and four trucks had to be dispatched to put the building fire out. That fire ended up being the last straw for Fresno Fire to be able to provide all of their services.

“We ended up stopping medical aids today, at least the fire response to medical aids,” Tuggle said. “We just didn’t have the resources to respond.”

Tuggle reports no one got hurt Saturday in any of the incidents. With the Central Valley in the middle of excessive heat warnings, he said it’s all the more important for crews to take time to recover in-between incidents.

“We are going to work through the night. We’re going to work into tomorrow, so, we need to be ready to go for the next call as soon as this is over,” Tuggle said.

Tuggle adds Fresno Fire is supported by a ton of volunteers, part of the Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT. He said their assistance is huge to making sure all fires are put out.

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