Kevin Cody

South Bay firefighters fight ’round the clock to stop Ventura, Santa Clarita fires

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by Kevin Cody

Manhattan Beach Firefighter Peter Heck works to protect homes adjacent to homes fully engulfed in flames on Tuesday at the Thomas Fire in Ventura County. Photos by Patrick Fallon

South Bay fire fighters fought for 33 unbroken hours to protect homes threatened by the Thomas Fire in Ventura County this week, Area G (South Bay) Strike Team coordinator and Manhattan Beach Battalion Chief Mike Boyd said Wednesday morning.

The Area G Strike Team sent five engine companies to the area Monday night at 10 p.m. Because of a shortage of firefighters, they were not relieved until Wednesday morning at 7 a.m., Battalion Chief Boyd said. Manhattan, Redondo and El Segundo each sent one engine company and Torrance sent two.

Manhattan Beach fire captain Tyler Wade and assesses the situation on Tuesday at the Thomas Fire in Ventura County. PHoto by Patrick Fallon

On Tuesday, Redondo and Torrance each deployed another engine company to the Rye Canyon Fire in Santa Clarita, Redondo Battalion Chief Isaac Yang said, Wednesday morning. Hermosa Beach had one engine company available for the Strike Force, but it  had not yet been deployed, Hermosa Firefighter Captain Michael Garofano said Wednesday morning.

The Ventura fire had burned 65,000 acres and destroyed over 150 structures, as of Wednesday morning. Over 50,000 residents were advised to evacuate. The fire was zero percent contained.

The Rye Fire had burned over 7,000 acres and forced evacuation of 1,300 residents, but had not destroyed any buildings, as of Wednesday morning, when it was five percent contained.

Redondo Beach Firefighter Jonathan “Rambo” Reyes and Redondo Beach Captain Dustin Conrad assess the situation on Tuesday at the Thomas Fire in Ventura County. Photo by Patrick Fallon

Photographer Patrick Fallon, whose photos accompany this story, said he saw whole blocks of Ventura homes destroyed.

Off duty firefighters at the three beach city departments were called in to keep the departments fully staffed, spokespersons for the three departments said. ER

Thomas/Ventura, Rye Canyon/Santa Clarita photos by Patrick Fallon

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