The Redwood City Police Department’s Role in Helping with the Fires

Image+from+CNN.com.+Fires+rage+in+Boulder+Creek%2C+California+on+August+21.++

Marcio Jose Sanchez

Image from CNN.com. Fires rage in Boulder Creek, California on August 21.

By Emma Montalbano, Woodside High School - CA

After an intense thunderstorm passed through the Bay Area on August 16, several fires sparked as a result of the lightning, dry soils, and high winds. As the fires spread, first responders were sent out to assist with the fires and help residents in the affected areas.

California’s wildfire season had an unexpectedly early start this year, causing concern and fear in residents of many counties in California, especially those in the Bay Area. As of now, there are still 14 fires that have yet to be contained, but firefighters and other first responders are working hard to control the fires as quickly as possible. In addition to firefighters, Police Officers have also been sent out to assist in matters pertaining to the fires. Detective Bill Cagno of the Redwood City Police Department offers insight into the Police Department’s role in helping with the California wildfires.

“We go out and do evacuations prior to [the] fire going into an area, and when that is completed, we will patrol the area for looters,” Detective Cagno explained. “[We also] help with traffic patrol.”

Lightning on August 16 set fires ablaze across the Bay Area. (Emma Mo)

While police officers are not directly fighting fires, they are helping in every way they can to ensure the safety of people in affected areas. During circumstances like these, officers from various counties often get deployed to help out in other areas.

“Specifically, I was detailed to the fires in Santa Cruz and… Monterey,” Detective Cagno said. “We specifically worked in the downtown area of Carmel the last time we went out, and we patrolled for looters that night. The first night I went out, we were doing evacuations in Santa Cruz.”

In addition to having to commute to other counties, during times of crisis, first responders’ hours are also greatly affected. Detective Cagno reveals how the fires impacted his hours.

“I normally work shifts from noon to midnight,” Detective Cagno revealed. “These shifts were from three

Image from KPIX 5. The LNU Lightning Complex fire rages on the side of the road by Butts Canyon. (Noah Berger)

in the afternoon to nine the next morning, so they were 18-hour shifts.”

Detective Cagno encourages people to “be cooperative, … stay out of the area, and try not to come look at the fires,” regardless of how intriguing they may be.

Despite the severity of the fires and the fear they instill in many, Detective Cagno expresses how the fulfillment he feels from being able to help people continues to inspire him while doing his job.

“It always feels good to go out and help people, … and make the area safer,” Detective Cagno explains. “[We] protect their property when [they’re] not around to give them some peace of mind that nobody is looting from their property.”

As firefighters from various counties come out to help in areas that need the most attention, Detective Cagno praises them for their valiant efforts to eliminate the fires.

“The firefighters are incredible, and they are doing an amazing job,” Detective Cagno said. “It is interesting to watch [them] work as teams from different counties and different areas. They all come together, and they look like a machine out there. They are very capable of what they are doing… so you can rely on those firefighters and know that they are doing a great job.”

This story was originally published on The Paw Print on September 15, 2020.