Corral Canyon Fire Safety Alliance acquires new fire engine from NPS

(From left) CCFSA Call Firefighters Matt Haines, Charlie Case and John Shafai are shown with the National Park Service's Tony Sandrini, Nicole Rodriguez, Eric Rodriguez, and Mike Wilson in front of the fire engine donated to CCFSA by the NPS. Contributed Photo

The Corral Canyon Fire Safety Alliance has just acquired a new fire engine. The type 3 wildland fire engine was donated to the local nonprofit by the National Park Service that oversees neighboring Solstice Canyon. It’s a huge gift to the CCFSA that was 18 months in the making. The refurbished fire truck will eventually be housed in the yet to be built Station 271 just off Corral Canyon.

The CCFSA was formed in 2009 in response to the devastating 2007 Corral Fire that destroyed 80 structures, including 49 homes with another 27 damaged. The neighborhood also started its call firefighter program in which area residents are trained through the Los Angeles County Fire Department and then work as paid firefighters on an on-call basis. The CCFSA and its call firefighter program were spearheaded by local resident Matt Haines. Before Haines was certified as a call firefighter he voluntarily fought the 2007 blaze in his neighborhood with his own fire truck and saved a block of houses. Haines was awarded a Dolphin Award for his efforts.

As one of the most robust fire safety alliances in Malibu, CCFSA was contacted about the fire truck that was scheduled to be donated to a worthy organization. Haines and Chris Frost, the chair of the Malibu Safety Commission, who’s also a firefighter, got in contact with the NPS. They operate their own fire department, which is located at Paramount Ranch with headquarters in Boise, Idaho. The NPS agreed the CCFSA was a perfect candidate to receive the engine. 

“They said, ‘you’re our neighbors, you’re a part of Solstice Canyon (one of their properties), and we would love to have this work out for you,’” Haines related. He said dealing with all the paperwork required with government agencies took some time though.

A type 3 wildland fire engine that needed some work was available for donation. 

“There are different types of fire engines,” Haines explained. “Type 1 is what you see driving around Malibu coming out of stations. That’s your urban fire engine. Then you have type 2, which is what we have, our existing engine that we bought from Orange County Fire Authority. Type 3 is a wildland engine that’s used primarily for fires that are related to forest fires, brush fires, mountain fires; stuff we have here in Malibu and the Santa Monica Mountains. 

“If you look around you can see that the Forest Service, the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority has several wildland fire engine type 3’s. That’s the type of engine that fits our community and our environment perfectly for Corral Canyon and other parts of the Santa Monica Mountains.”

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Corral Canyon Fire Safety Alliance Call Firefighters John Shafai (left) and Matt Haines stand in front of the type 3 wildland fire engine donated to the CCFSA by the National Park Service. Contributed Photo

The NPS rotates engines out every 15 years or so. 

“We’re getting an engine they purchased in 2005,” Haines said. “They now have a brand-new engine purchased in 2021.”

The Corral Canyon call firefighters picked up the new rig Dec. 7.

The call firefighters are not volunteers. As civilians they work on an on-call basis and are paid when they work. 

“We work with LA County. We’re under their jurisdiction, however we have to provide our own fire engines as part of our agreement with LA County,” Haines explained. “CCFSA is the nonprofit wing that supports our fire preparedness and fire-fighting efforts in Corral Canyon.”

Currently there are seven active call firefighters in Corral Canyon. Five others are candidates who are training with the group. They must go through the department’s academy before being hired. Haines said Assistant Chief Drew Smith is very supportive of the CCFSA call firefighters. According to Haines, Smith is “stoked” about the new engine. The new truck is about to be taken to the LACOFD shop in East LA to be outfitted with all the necessary equipment; radios, a computer data transmitter and other necessities. 

A new engine of this type, fully loaded with the latest electronics and functions would cost close to $500,000. While this donated engine is used and more than a decade old its value is still significant and probably worth more than $100,000. 

“That’s a huge donation to a community like ours,” Haines commented.

The CCFSA was created by the call firefighters “because we needed a way to be able to have donations and fundraisers,” according to Haines. It supports firefighting and preparedness in Corral Canyon.

Funds to the nonprofit are going to build Station 271, where the fire engine and a smaller brush truck will eventually be housed. 

Haines expressed his thanks saying, “Engine 271 call firefighters are grateful for this generous donation from NPS. This is just another example of federal, state and local agencies working together supporting firefighting efforts and making the Santa Monica Mountains safer.”