House fire in Arroyo Grande

September 25, 2016

Correction: Early reports from several sources witnessing the fire from a neighboring home that the fire was a home on Garden Street or Nelson Street were incorrect.

A fire started in a backyard shed on Whiteley Street and spread to a four unit building on Ide Street in Arroyo Grande on Sunday afternoon, said Fire Chief Stephen C. Lieberman. Additionally, sparks ignited a palm tree a few houses down from the building on Ide Street.

Witnesses reported seeing fire with smoke and flames coming from the roof of the structure on Ide Street.

On Sunday, streets in the area were lined with parked cars and traffic was heavy making it difficult for emergency personnel to enter the area. Lieberman said response times were quick because of the fire departments proximity to the fires.

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Below is a link for the innocent victims who lived in the now damaged apartment next door to the fire.They recently moved into the apartment and did not have insurance.

Otis, can you enlighten me as to the true facts since you stated that I am factually incorrect? The truth is that over $200,000 was spent in search of a qualified candidate to take over FCFA and chief Liebeman was the best we could do! I believe that he was the choice all along and the alleged search for qualified candidates was a sham to hide that fact that they made their choice before the search ever began. Lieberman had no plan B if the funding initiative failed. He even prematurely stepped down from his job before FCFA even announced they had made a selection. They figured they would just keep the status quo and no one would notice. Well they were wrong! When I stated they hired a man who had dispatcher and reserve experience years ago that was a fact. He is an administrative figure at best but no more. He is no more qualified to run that department than a seasoned reserve. How about looking into federal grants to aid in budget shortfalls? There are many avenues to obtain funding but because he has no real experience he wouldn’t know this. He has never served as a company officer in any capacity which is extremely troubling. As Otis stated all three agencies should speak with Cal Fire about a contract for services. Unfortunately for chief Lieberman they would not retain him in any capacity due to his lack of qualifications so for that reason alone it will never happen. He has a great paying job he is not deserving of and he will not allow it to be taken from him even if consolidation is best for the department and community.

The problem with fire protection in arroyo grande are the citizens. I work for a large metropolitan fire department and we have ample staffing to keep fires like this to a minimal impact on the people we serve. If the people of this city would just pay for a better staffed fire department they would have better results. The truck company in town should be staffed with 4 full time firemen not 2 paid firefighters and one reserve. In addition to a fully staffed truck company Five Cities Fire Authority should also have a 3 man engine company at station one also staffed with full time personnel. I am a resident of the city and I am very disappointed with the lack of funding towards our department in addition to the choice of fire chief! How on earth can you hire a person to be fire chief who has never actually been a full time professional paid firefighter at any level? Being a volunteer and an emt does not qualify you to be a fire chief! Until the community is willing to pay for a professional well trained and well funded fire department property will continue to be lost. We can not rely on reserves to be the backbone of the fire department! The units in the city can respond as quickly as they want to any alarm but if they lack man power they will have a hard time being successful.

Respectfully ddromero89, your allegations are not founded in fact. But to flush out the real issues, the citizens that are served by the area — especially the citizens in Arroyo Grande — should insist on an audit comparing apples with apples.

This mean establishing a committee that solicits a bid by Cal Fire sanctioned by the Councils of the three partners in the Joint Powers Agreement — Oceano, Grover and AG.

Where ddromero89 may be correct is that there is something amiss here. An audit by an objective group may separate the issues of Union, City and political interests.

Remember the issue of penalizing the property owner with a tax increase? It failed by 60%. Yet each City Council — Grover and AG — including the Oceano board — approved the tax increase by unanimous votes.

This strongly suggest that something is wrong here. That the present Board on the FCFA is remiss in examining the facts. It is enthralled in defending the status quo.

The real issues are hidden from the citizens. If they were revealed there is a good argument the FCFA should be abandoned and each city — Grover and AG — and Oceano should considering making their own deals with Call Fire.

Hogwash report. Heard the callout. Units responded in excellent time and then a second alarm was called for a second fire on Ide Street. The fire was knocked down in pretty short order and they’re currently in overhaul, now.

That does not make sense as Harvest Festival was over Saturday at 5pm.

Streets in old town Arroyo are often jam-packed with cars. Many older homes there have single car garages. Most residents heavily utilize street parking, especially on a Sunday afternoon when a lot of people are home.