Fire Chief Disappointed Over City Council Advice To Volunteer Firefighters

Written by on November 18, 2019

L A County fire chief Daryl Osby says he is willing to consider some sort of civilian firefighting certification and training.

In an interview with KBUU News … the fire chief acknowledges that there was a  lengthy evacuation and largely successful firefighting efforts by volunteers who ignored mandatory evacuation orders.

The fire chief tells KBUU News that some sort of training and equipment list needs to be formalized for neighborhood groups and individuakls … who will stay behind in the next fire.

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“I do know that people are going to stay.

“And for those people that are going to stay … that we want to have a relationship where they are properly outfitted and properly trained.

“But we do have a call station in Corral Canyon and another call station in Topanga Canyon.”

At last week’s city council meeting … two city council members told Malibu residents it was a bad idea to affiliate somehow with the county fire department.

Mullen pointed to the experience of the volunteers in Corral Canyon … who had their county fire engine 271 taken away from them during the Woolsey Fire.

Councilman Rick Mullen … an employee of the county fire department … said he did not encourage people in the canyon to affiliate with the fire department when the idea first came up.


“They actually asked me as a a public safety commissioner at the time ‘hey what do you think about this?’ – and I work for the fire department.

And I told them ‘don’t do it …  because you guys know what you are doing … take care of your neighborhood,

“ ‘And when the balloon goes up, if you are part of the governmental entity you don’t have any control over what you do.

“ ‘They may send you to go and protect my canyon.’

“And they didn’t pay any attention to me.

“And it was worse than what I predicted.”

Councilman Rick Mullen … last week.

The fire chief … says that disappointed him.

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“It’s unfortunate that we have council members saying that because we are supposed to have ‘one team-one fight.’

“So that’s very unfortunate.”

REPORTER: “There were actually two of them said …

CHIEF OSBY: “In Malibu??”
“There were actually two of them … and one of them is an employee of yours and I don’t want to get him in trouble …

“But he is saying ‘I told 271 not to do that’ … I told them to stay out …and that this would happen.

“And this is what happened.”

CHIEF OSBY: “That’s not … that wasn’t the plan.’

REPORTER: “I don’t want to get Rick in trouble.

CHIEF OSBY:  “Oh no, that’s OK.

“Rick can say he was speaking as a council member and he has immunity in that regard.”

REPORTER: “He says ‘I told them this would happen, I told them they would get their engine taken away.’ And I told them that might happen and it did.”

CHIEFF OSBY:  “You know I think we could partner better …but we need to have a lot of dialogue.”

The fire chief told KBUU he is willing to start that dialog.

But he points out that one solution for the entire Santa Monica Mountains may not be a good idea.

A trained fire brigade may be appropriate for one big neighborhood … but impossible for one small street … the chief said.

Whatever the case … one year after Woolsey … no steps have been taken to start that training or certification.

The fire chief … however … says he is willing to discuss how to make that happen.

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