Fallen Leaf firehouse nearing completion | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Fallen Leaf firehouse nearing completion

Jill Darby

The District 9 Volunteer Fire Department at Fallen Leaf Lake has never had a place to hang its fireman’s hats. That will all change this spring with the completion of a new two-story fire station which is funded by 100-percent community donation.

“We’re all really excited,” said Fallen Leaf Lake Fire Chief Jordan Pollack. “This has been in the planning for over 10 years. … We even have a brass fire pole donated from the old Naval Air Station Firehouse in Alameda.”

Pollack took over as chief last year.

“I wear a lot of hats,” he said, who is the only full-time employee at the department.

Pollack’s team consists of 14 men and one woman, from the Fallen Leaf Basin. According to Pollack, these volunteers are responsible for various duties including the inspection of 300 houses per year, at which time they educate occupants on preventative measures to avoid fire danger.

Firefighters also attend various training courses, including a night of live fire fighting at the Lake Valley Fire District. The group is also educated in first aid and CPR, and many of these volunteers are EMT or paramedic certified. The firefighters continue to build on their skills in weekly training courses.

Other duties include hose and hydrant testing, learning emergency medical skills, wildland fire fighting, structural fire fighting, mountain rescue skills and water rescue. In addition to three fire engines and a “brush control” truck, the District 9 team also uses a 23-foot Gregor fire boat.

“We’re really proud of this,” Pollack said. “We run medical calls with it (fire boat) and do water rescue and fire fighting off of the boat.” The boat is fully equipped with all of the necessary gear, some of which includes first aid supplies, flotation devices, wet suits and life jackets.

“We teach everyone to put the life jackets on properly to set an example for the public and to keep safe,” Pollack said.

Some of the other flotation devices also came in handy in June when two girls flipped their canoe in the lake. A local roofer called in after witnessing the incident, and in three minutes, the firefighters performed a successful rescue.

The department receives anywhere from 25 to 50 calls, (alarms) per year; and while it works closely with other local agencies, the Fallen Leaf Fire Department has to be fairly independent as a result of its remote location.

“A lot of what we do comes down to teamwork,” Pollack said.

Other members of the small Fallen Leaf community also help out. Every Tuesday, a resident treats the Department to dinner in his or her home. The people of Fallen Leaf Lake have also joined forces with the fire crew through the “Re-Green” home prevention inspections.

Guided by the firefighters, residents have been clearing out dead limbs and other debris surrounding their homes. The project involves replacing old, wooden roofs with less flammable materials.

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