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NB Kitsap Firefighters Volunteer to Fight San Diego Wildfires

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071024-13
Release Date: 10/24/2007 4:52:00 PM


By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Henry Vorderbruggen, Fleet Public Affairs Det. Northwest

SILVERDALE, Wash. (NNS) -- Navy Region Northwest's (NRNW) Fire and Emergency Services Department have dispatched equipment and personnel to assist in fighting the San Diego wildfires, departing from Naval Base (NB) Kitsap, Bangor, Oct. 23.

The fires forced evacuations of homes in San Diego County.

"We all want to do anything we can to help," said Jeffrey Rye, NB Kitsap fire station. "As soon as they asked if anyone wanted to volunteer, we all jumped at the chance. As a fireman, anytime you have the opportunity to save lives or property, you have to be ready to do whatever's necessary. I just hope we can get there in time to make a difference."

The Northwest region sent a total of six firemen and two structural fire engines to assist with fire fighting efforts in San Diego County.

"We're professionals, so we know what to do once we get there, but right now everything is sort of up in the air. No one knows how these fires are going to change or how the wind will change. Our hope is to stop the bigger blazes from merging in order to fight each fire individually," said Rye.

"This is definitely an emergency we need to respond to," said Roland Hesmondhalgh, NRNW's deputy fire chief. "Multiple military commands routinely step up to the plate when national disasters like this one arise and we support them. As soon as authorities realized how severe these fires had become, we immediately organized our resources to send as many men and as much equipment as possible."

Since Southern California is home to a number of military bases, the wildfires have touched many Sailors and Marines' lives personally.

"We're thankful of the support from Navy Region Northwest," said Lt. Cmdr. Kenneth Nafrada, administration officer for Naval Base Coronado, San Diego. "The people in this area could use all the help they can get in mitigating this disaster. We're all hoping it turns out for the best."

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