At 21:04 pm, Engine 31 (E31) with four Fountain Valley Firefighters along with Fountain Valley Battalion 3 (B3) were dispatched as part of an Orange County Strike Team to the Thomas Fire in Ventura. Later that evening, an additional Fountain Valley Fire Department crew was sent to the Thomas Fire as members of an Office of Emergency Service (OES) Strike Team.
Upon their arrival in Ventura, crews immediately engaged in fighting the massive fire which they later described as being a “conflagration.” Days later, the head of the fire traveled approximately 65 miles to Santa Barbara with a large concentration of fire in Montecito. The crews worked tirelessly for two weeks alongside the thousands of other firefighters that were deployed from across California and bordering states to fight a fire that grew to 275,000 acres, destroyed 1024 structures, and damaged 250 buildings.
The Fountain Valley crews were deployed for two weeks and shared many stories when they returned. The following are some of their thoughts about this fire: “It was touch and go for a while, but we were able to make it out safe . . . we performed a back-firing operation that saved many multi-million dollar mansions in Ojai . . . it was an honor and a privilege to work with the brave men and women of all agencies involved, and to serve the communities of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.” Our firefighters returned to Fountain Valley the week of December 18th. Welcome home, we are glad to have you back.