FINAL REPORT
Case #1000 Delta Fire Department

REASON FOR INVESTIGATION

A letter to the editor in the Lodi newspaper made reference to a fire at the Tower Park Marina. The letter noted only one firefighter at the scene and how hard he worked to put out the fire on a mobile home, even with his effort there was a loss of life.

BACKGROUND

After a preliminary review and discussion by the 2000-2001 San Joaquin County Civil Grand Jury (SJCCGJ) it was decided further investigation was warranted.

METHOD OF INVESTIGATION

Members of the SJCCGJ paid a visit to Delta Fire Department to get a better idea of Delta's operating procedures, check available records and question the condition of existing equipment. An interview was conducted with a San Joaquin County Supervisor and the San Joaquin County Community Development Department Director.

FINDINGS

Delta Fire District is unique from most rural fire districts. The district covers roughly 575 miles of waterways. In a one-year period they can cover from five to ten boating accidents a year.

The facility is located at the intersection of two major traffic thoroughfares that are plagued with accidents.

This fire department has two full time and one part time employees who are paid minimum wage and receive no other benefits.

There is a dispute between Delta Fire District and the Thornton Fire District with regards to where the boundary lines exist.

When emergency calls come in there are times when only one employee is available. This leaves the station unattended for any other calls that may come in. Volunteers are needed to help man the station in these situations.

CONCLUSIONS

The map of the various districts shows the dividing lines, some areas are vague. The boundary line is not clear for the January 21, 2001 car fire on Guard Road. The fatal accident that occurred on November 21, 2000 on I-5 south of Turner Road was clearly shown to be in the Delta Fire District.

Correspondence received by the SJCCGJ dated February 14, 2001 states that Delta's District serves in the unincorporated area, generally north of Eight Mile Road, west of I-5 and south of Peltier Road. The map of the districts does not show that. A better working relation between Thornton Fire and Delta Fire must be established.

The Lodi News Sentinel reported on February 22, 2001 that the Delta Fire District is getting a new rescue truck. However, it does not appear that there is adequate staff to accommodate the growing needs.

RECOMMENDATION

A merger with another department would solve a number of Delta's problems. Woodbridge would be a good choice as it now serves as a backup for Delta Fire Department.

Most of Delta Fire's vehicle calls are on Highway 12 or I-5, one being state the other federal highways. The Board of Supervisors should review the opportunity to request state funds or Interstate Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) funds to assist with operating costs.

RESPONSE

Pursuant to sections §933.05 of the Penal Code:

The Delta Fire District shall comment, in writing, to the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court - within ninety (90) days of the publication of this report.

As to each finding in the report, a response indicating one of the following:

  1. The respondent agrees with the finding.
  2. The respondent disagrees with the finding, with an explanation of the reasons therefore.

As to each recommendation, a response indicating one of the following:

  1. The recommendation has been implemented, with a summary of the action taken.
  2. The recommendation has not yet been implemented, but will be with a timeframe for implementation.
  3. The recommendation requires further analysis, with an explanation of the scope of the analysis and a timeframe not to exceed six (6) months.
  4. The recommendation will not be implemented, with an explanation therefore.