Fires

Sacramento Fire Department responds to record number of calls

Fire fighters work a house fire on Forest Parkway in South Sacramento. 2016 was a record year for the Sacramento Fire Department, responding to 88,000 calls. That’s 5 percent more than in 2015, which had 7 percent more calls than 2014, according to Chris Harvey, department spokesman.
Fire fighters work a house fire on Forest Parkway in South Sacramento. 2016 was a record year for the Sacramento Fire Department, responding to 88,000 calls. That’s 5 percent more than in 2015, which had 7 percent more calls than 2014, according to Chris Harvey, department spokesman. hamezcua@sacbee.com

The Sacramento Fire Department has a record year in 2016 by responding to 88,000 calls.

That’s 5 percent more than in 2015, which had 7 percent more calls than 2014, according to Chris Harvey, department spokesman.

Calls increase every year, Harvey said. Fire personnel aren’t sure why there has been a steady increase in structure fires, grass fires, medical aid calls and water rescues, but there has been plenty of speculation among fire investigators and line personnel, he said.

“There is no one factor, except that Sacramento is an older city with older construction, a dense population and is near the American River Parkway,” which contributes to the number of grass fires, Harvey said.

A breakdown of the calls that firefighters responded to in 2016 should be released later in the week, according to the fire department.

To keep up with demand, the department – trying to recuperate from the loss of firefighters during the recession – has stepped up efforts to recruit and graduate firefighters from its academy. It graduated three classes of firefighters last year, the most in a decade, Harvey said.

“We are working to restore our numbers, but aren’t there now,” Harvey said.

Diana Lambert: 916-321-1090, @dianalambert

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