The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District Board of Directors will conduct a swearing-in ceremony at its regular meeting tonight for new Fire Chief Todd Harms. Following a national search, Harms was selected by the Board of Directors in August as the District’s sixth Fire Chief. He replaces Mark Wells, who, after 29 years of service in public safety and two years as Fire Chief, is retiring.
“I am truly honored to have this opportunity to lead Metro Fire,” said Harms. “I look forward to continually finding way to improve our service delivery, showing the communities we serve that Metro Fire is here every day of the year to solve their problems.”
Harms has 35 years of public safety service and most recently spent nine years as an Executive Staff member for the Phoenix Fire Department. He served as Assistant Chief of Operations, Assistant Chief of Personnel and the Training Division, with oversight of the Training Academy, Command Training Center, Special Operations, Emergency Medical Services, Technical Services, dispatch and the Regional 9-1-1 services.
Harms began his fire service career in 1981 as a Firefighter Paramedic in Peotone, Illinois. In 1987, he became a member of the Phoenix Fire Department. While there, he progressed through the ranks as a Firefighter, Paramedic, Engineer, Captain, Battalion Chief, Deputy Chief of Special Operations and Shift Commander. He also has been an Urban Search and Rescue team member, with deployments to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Harms holds a Bachelor's degree in Fire Service Management and is a past adjunct instructor at Phoenix College in the Fire Science Program.
“My career in the fire service was more rewarding than I ever expected,” said retiring Fire Chief Mark Wells. “I have been honored to serve this community for the last 29 years with the men and women of Metro Fire.”
Chief Wells started his fire service career with the Citrus Heights Fire District in 1987, and progressed through the ranks of Firefighter, Captain, Battalion Chief, Assistant Chief, Deputy Chief of Administration, becoming Fire Chief in 2014.
Key accomplishments during Wells’ tenure as Fire Chief include the successful negotiation of a new labor contract, the reopening of three closed fire companies, the implementation of a Joint Arson/Bomb Task Force with Sacramento County Sheriff, the development of a Residential Care Facility Inspection program, equipping all Metro Fire medic units with video laryngoscopes, power gurney systems and automatic chest compression devices, and the donation of two surplus medic units and one fire engine to local community colleges.
Just after 6:00am on November 5th, Metro Fire crews were dispatched to an apartment complex on the 3300 block of Edison Ave in the Arden area. First arriving crews reported fire coming from the upstairs unit of a 4-unit complex and immediately initiated fire attack. Multiple hoselines were brought inside the units, while additional crews searched for potential victims.
A total of twenty-five firefighters worked to extinguish the fire and ensured 16 occupants were safely evacuated. Firefighters also rescued a kitten, returning it to its owner; and recovered an urn with the ashes of loved one, returning them to another resident. Arson investigators responded to the scene; the cause is currently under investigation. Damage is estimated at $100,000. No injuries to civilians or firefighters were reported.
Remember that smoke alarms do save lives. Make sure to test yours regularly and replace the batteries when you change your clocks.
Just after 1 pm on October 30th, Metro Fire crews responding to an apartment fire at 1251 Fulton Avenue in the Arden area found heavy black smoke coming from a second story apartment. The fire, which had started in a bathroom, had already spread to the attic and an adjoining apartment.
Bystanders reported multiple victims, so three additional medic units were requested while firefighters initiated fire attack and began searching for victims. Crews searched and evacuated the involved units, ventilated the structure, and kept the fire from spreading to other units. One female victim was located and transported to the hospital with moderate injuries; there were no other victims from the fire.
A coordinated fire attack allowed firefighters to contain the fire to the two upstairs units. Two additional apartments sustained smoke damage, while four more sustained water damage. Six engines, three trucks, and four medics were involved in caring for the injured resident, extinguishing the fire, protecting the adjacent units, and saving residents’ personal belongings. The residents of all eight units will be displaced; Red Cross was requested to assist them. No firefighters were injured in the fire. Updated damage estimate is $75,000, with the cause of the fire still under investigation.
Our hearts go out to the resident injured in this fire, and to all the families displaced. Please take a few extra steps to lower the risk of fire hurting your family or destroying your home: test your smoke alarms, keep space heaters at least three feet from anything combustible, use flameless candles whenever possible, and always dispose of your fireplace ashes in a metal container.
Metro Fire and the Sacramento Kings, partnering with Albie Aware Breast Cancer Foundation, tried to make the weekend of three breast cancer survivors a little brighter, and a lot “pinker”. Metro Fire’s Pink Cancer Awareness fire engine, and its crew, drove two Sacramento Kings Dancer’s, to the home of each survivor. The Kings Dancers surprised the survivors with a bouquet of pink flowers, a bag of Kings Memorabilia, and tickets to today’s Pre-Season game. The three survivors, Laura Andrus, Teresa Partington, and Therese Shaw, along with their families, were able to take a lot of pictures with the engine, crew and dancers, and more importantly, tell their stories of survival.
After meeting with the survivors, the Pink Engine and the Kings’ crew passed out pink Cancer Awareness items at Arden Fair Mall. Join Metro Fire’s Pink Engine at tonight’s Kings Game, the first home game in the new Golden 1 Center. The crew and the engine will be available on display, so make sure to take plenty of pictures, then submit them to PinkEngine@metrofire.ca.gov to take part in the District’s photo contest. For more information on Metro Fire’s Cancer Awareness Engine and the photo contest, visit our website at www.metrofire.ca.gov
Most all of us have been touched by cancer in one way or another, by our own personal battle, or that of friends and loved ones. Firefighters are not exempt. Not only do we respond to the homes of cancer patients on a regular basis, but we’ve watched fellow firefighters lose their battles with cancer and we’ve rejoiced with those who have beaten it.
In support of every person affected by cancer, Metro Fire will be operating a Cancer Awareness engine for the third year. The engine will run out of five fire stations, one in each of our Battalions, during the month of October. The engine will start its month of service today at Station 24 (4942 College Oak Drive). The cost to wrap the fire engine was 100% donated by Vehicle Wraps, Inc. and Sacramento Area Firefighters Local 522.
Get your cameras out because this year we have added a photo contest!
Become a Firefighter for a Day!*
The winner becomes an honorary member of the crew on a fire engine, doing what firefighters do on a daily basis: responding to 9-1-1 calls, assisting at community events, washing the fire engine, training, making dinner and eating with the crew, etc…Alternative accommodations will be made, if needed.
Full contest details can be found at www.metrofire.ca.gov.
With fire season upon us and winter months approaching, there is no better time to prepare for a disaster - events that often occur with little to no warning – by registering with the mass notification system at any one of the following three URL’s: Sacramento-Alert.org, Yolo-Alert.org or Placer-Alert.org.
Register now before a disaster hits, so public safety officials can call, text or email you in the event of a disaster.
Consider the state’s historic drought causing elevated wildfire danger, or winter storms and the many levees surrounding our urban core. Both events can occur rapidly, sometimes forcing evacuations, shelter in place orders and road closures. The regional mass notification system is a critical link for you to immediately learn of required actions.
Sign up for alerts at either Sacramento-Alert.org, Yolo-Alert.org or Placer-Alert.org - it’s easy and your information is protected. Officials will only text during an emergency or public safety event, or if public help is needed to find a missing child or adult.
The unique feature of the system is the ability to handle more than one contact method for residents including cell phones, alternate numbers, text, email and even landlines. You choose the best notification method or chose them all. You can also register multiple locations, such as your work address, your parent’s address or your children’s school, in order to get alerts about the places that mean the most to you.
On September 11, 2016, at 9:55 p.m., a 50-year-old male from Sacramento, was driving a, black Chevrolet pick-up s/b on Watt Ave., north of Marconi Ave., at a high rate of speed in the #1 lane. A white Ford Explore driven by a 47-year-old male from Sacramento, was in the #1 lane northbound on Watt Ave. The Explorer had two other passengers in the vehicle all from the Sacramento area. The pick-up, per a witness, had a right rear tire go flat and the driver of the pick-up was unable to maintain control of his vehicle. The driver of the pick-up allowed the vehicle to cross over the raised median into the northbound lane of Watt Ave. The pick-up collided head on into the Explorer. The impact killed both drivers. The passengers of the Explorer suffered moderate to minor injuries and were transported for medical treatment.