Fire Department Log By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday September 30, 2005

Disaster standby 

With one Berkeley firefighter already in Texas to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita, other Berkeley firefighters were awaiting the call Thursday night to head for Southern California. 

Flames from an uncontrolled blaze had seared more than 20,000 acres in northwestern Los Angeles County by early Thursday evening, when Deputy Fire Chief David P. Orth said that Alameda County had already dispatched two firefighting teams to battle the blaze. 

The two teams are trained to battle wild-land fires and the Berkeley engine then on call is part of a so-called Type 1 team, which specializes in battling structural fires. 


Gas leak 

A truck backed over a gas meter next to UC Berkeley’s Foothill dorms at 2600 Hearst Ave. Monday afternoon, shutting off gas service to about 1,500 customers and forcing an evacuation of the construction site, said Orth. 

Adding to the complexities caused by the rupture of the high-pressure line was the fact that emergency workers couldn’t shut down the main line in the street—the first line of recourse in most line breaks, said Orth. 

The reason? Shutting off the line would have cut off gas to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, an event with potentially huge consequences, Orth said. 

“So they dug holes until they found the lateral line” leading to the dorms “and pinched it off,” said the deputy chief. 

Berkeley firefighters arrived at the scene shortly after they were called out at 1:03 p.m. and remained on site until 4:43 p.m. 

Orth said gas service was restored to the area at about 6 p.m.