San Diego supervisors axe volunteer fire department

The San Pasqual Volunteer Fire Department was stripped of its duties by the San Diego Board of Supervisors Tuesday after numerous accusations of impropriety, including theft of city water. The vote for dissolution was unanimous, with supervisors rebuking the agency for violating the public’s trust.

At the center of Tuesday’s meeting was a recent incident in which one of the agency’s board members had allegedly directed a firefighter to steal water from a Poway fire hydrant for a friend. With the incident recently caught on photograph, there was no denying that the act had taken place.

Instead, the agency member, Chuck Dilts, insisted it was a big misunderstanding. He asked the board to reconsider until the end of the fire season, but his pleas fell on deaf ears.

“In order to provide effective fire protection services to the region we need to be able to depend on our public safety partners and rely on decisions they are making,” said San Diego Board Chairwoman Dianne Jacob, adding “we can no longer rely on the leadership of the San Pasqual Fire Department.”

The fire hydrant incident was not an isolated case, Jacob said. Recent investigations by the Sheriff’s Department and county fire officials uncovered “a series of violations,” some of which have already been referred to the District Attorney for potential prosecution.

San Diego County officials insist there will be no disruption to fire and medical services. The San Pasqual station will now be operated by the San Diego County Fire Authority and Cal Fire.

Read more about Tuesday’s vote here.


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