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Escalon Firefighters Handle Multitude Of Monday Calls
Recognized For Fundraising Efforts
FFBI esc
Firefighters Burn Institute Executive Director Joe Pick, at right, stopped by the firehouse recently to thank members of the Escalon Fire Department for this year’s success with the Fill the Boot drive and for contributions over the years. Firefighter Mark Bennett, left, Firefighter Kaden Christensen, and Fire Chief Rick Mello, accepting the plaque, were on hand for the presentation. Photo By Dan Morriss

The saying goes when it rains, it pours … and Escalon firefighters would have liked to have seen a little rain on Monday.

Their June 27 shift was full of activity, multiple units responding to a vegetation fire in the area of Sutliff Road, north of River Road, shortly after 1:30 p.m.

“All in all, it covered about three acres in an abandoned orchard, that was surrounded by a plowed field and a live orchard,” said Escalon Fire Chief Rick Mello.

The first units arriving on scene sized up the situation and Mello said they originally called for some additional resources, but then learned of a large river bottom fire in nearby Ripon.

“That needed a lot of resources so we canceled our request; we controlled it and got it burned off,” he said of the Sutliff incident.

Crews were on scene there until about 4:15 p.m.

But, as Escalon had some units there, they were also called to handle a vehicle accident in the Ripon district, with Ripon resources committed to the river bottom fire.

“It was a big rig vs. a pick-up truck at Highway 120 and French Camp Road,” Mello said. “We were there, Medic 80 from Escalon Ambulance was on scene and Collegeville and Farmington assisted with that as well. Then, in the middle of that call, we had a medical aid in town.”

Luckily the Highway 120 crash did not result in serious injuries, though the roadway was blocked for a time.

Also, said Mello, some Escalon personnel were sent to assist at a hay barn on fire at Jack Tone and Louise, while Brush 1-1 was sent to provide mutual aid at the river bottom fire.

“It was a crazy afternoon,” Mello summarized of the hectic pace on June 27. “These were substantial calls … everybody was moving around helping everyone out.”

The chief said the river bottom fire in Ripon, near the back of Caswell State Park, had also jumped on to the Stanislaus County side and was expected to keep firefighters on scene for several hours.

As the department prepares for more busy days during the hot summer months, Mello is pleased to be adding some more personnel, with two firefighters ready to start shifts and training and a third waiting on one final item to be signed off prior to joining the department.

Also, Executive Director Joe Pick of the Firefighters Burn Institute in Sacramento made a stop at the Coley Avenue fire station recently, presenting the department with a couple of special items.

A plaque signifying the department’s inclusion in the “20 Grand Club” was delivered, as the ‘Fill the Boot’ effort in May saw a total of $23,693 collected for the institute’s programs and services.

Another award recognized the Escalon Fire Department for its contributions through the years, which has resulted in a 16-year total of over $250,000 being raised for the institute.

This year, firefighter Kaden Christensen coordinated the drive, which ran May 14 and 15. He was on hand with the chief and firefighter Mark Bennett to accept the awards and accolades presented by Pick on behalf of the Firefighters Burn Institute.