Stockton fire chief surprised at safety lapse

6:29 PM, Jan 13, 2014   |    comments
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STOCKTON, CA - Stockton Fire Chief Jeff Piechura wanted to see News10's video of a Friday fire for a couple of reasons.  And he didn't like everything he saw.

"They've got to have their masks on.  This guy's sucking in a lot of stuff," said Piechura.  A few firefighters without masks could be seen in the direct path of thick, dark smoke. 

"We'll have to have a discussion to correct these behaviors," Piechura said after viewing the video.

Last Friday just after noon, at a vacant medical office, fire broke out and quickly burned much of the building. The flames were dramatic as they leaped out of several openings created by fire crews. 

STORY: Boarded-up doctor's office in Stockton goes up in flames

"These holes we're punching, we're feeding the fire," said Piechura as he watched the video.  "Some of the practices they're looking at, is creating small breaks in the glass, putting a nozzle through and introducing water.  We're cooling down the building and the thermal blanket dissipates." 

Another concern for Piechura is the large number of vacant buildings in Stockton.  He hopes to have a database created by spring on all empty Stockton structures, so his crews have a better idea of what to expect when they arrive.

"Part of Stockton scarring is these buildings being left to rot and create the hazards we have today," Piechura said.

by Tim Daly,



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