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Combat Center firefighters extinguish a simulated care fire at the Fire Department aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., Aug. 26, 2016. (Official Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Thomas Mudd/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Thomas Mudd

Firefighters help community in Blue Cut Fires

9 Sep 2016 | Cpl. Thomas Mudd Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Combat Center firefighters are always on call to serve the installation. Occasionally, that response expands past the borders of the front gate, reinforcing the Combat Center’s commitment to serving the community.

The Combat Center Fire Department received a request for a mutual aid, strike team assignment, to support the Blue Cut Fire in the San Bernardino National Forest, Aug. 17-21, 2016. Engine 451, made up of Fire Captain Wayne Giannini, James Carroll, diver and operator, as well as firefighters and paramedics Coy Benedict and Ben Grodjesk, who responded to the request and supported San Bernardino County Fire Department.

The team reported in to the West Cajon Structure Defense Group with the mission of patrolling the area off California Highway 138, between U.S. Interstate 15 and California Highway 2, locating and extinguishing hot spots with the potential to threaten structures as well as identifying areas for follow-up extinguishing efforts.

“We were out there for about four days putting out hotspots to help make sure the fire does not kick back up again,” Grodjesk said. “Being able to go out there and help these people in some of their hardest times is one of the reasons that I do this.”

In addition to extinguishing of fires, the Combat Center’s firefighters conducted foot patrols around and throughout the area. The team also aided in the cutting down of trees that possessed a falling hazard to people and their possessions in the area.

“By helping out in efforts like the Blue Cut Fires, it allows us to show what we can do to help preserve what they have and help them when they need it,” Grodjesk said. “It is one of the most important things we can do as firefighters.”

Warming up to meet mission

The Combat Center Fire Department works to provide the Combat Center and the surrounding community with high quality emergency fire and rescue service, an excellent fire prevention program, a fire fighting force capable of handling emergencies which include structural firefighting, hazardous material response, all types of rescues, and other various emergencies and catastrophes.

In order to maintain the high standard of training and education required of their personnel, the Combat Center Fire Department conducted training and certification to continue to prepare for future emergencies at the Combat Center’s Fire Station, Aug. 26.

The training simulated an apartment fire, a propane fire and a car fire. These help the firefighters remain ready for the types of emergencies they could face aboard the base.

“We conducted this training today for two reasons,” said Tom Fowler, fire captain, Combat Center Fire Department. “The first was to certify a new firefighter and see if he is prepared to work in this job field. The second is to keep the ideas and techniques fresh in the minds of the members of this department. We are doing everything we can to be ready for the people of the community and any emergency.”

The training keeps the members of the fire department up to the task of responding to any emergency so they may continue to improve the quality of life of the Combat Center and the surrounding communities.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms