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Chico Police Department Devotes Thousands of Hours to Carr Fire Aid

"We've done fire evacuations, and it's one thing when you see forest land that's been burned, but when you see people's homes - home after home after home burned like that..." said Commander Billy Aldridge.

Posted: Aug. 15, 2018 4:56 AM
Updated: Aug. 15, 2018 6:29 AM

Chico, Calif. -- One of the amazing things we've seen come out of the continuing tragedy of the Carr Fire was just how ready and willing first responders are to go far beyong the everyday call of duty.

Dozens of city police departments spared as many people as they could to help out with evacuations and looting patrol.

So, I sat down with Chico Police Commander Billy Aldridge to learn how it all works.

The call that Chico PD received came out through the butte county sheriff's office from SHASCOM, the Shasta Area Safety Communications Agency.

Redding needed help, and Chico Police sent four officers right off the bat that first Thursday.

Commander Aldridge and another commander joined the other four officers already up there the Monday after thousands of people in Redding were forced to leave their homes.

He say's that was the first time he'd ever seen anything of that magnitude.

"We've done fire evacuations, and it's one thing when you see forest land that's been burned, but when you see people's homes - home after home after home- burned like that, it impacts you. And you just feel for those folks and pray that everything snaps back as quick as possible for them," said Aldridge.

Aldridge says yes, it impacts staffing in Chico, but they make it work; not by slacking on their home turf, just by working longer and harder.

They're not alone of course, communities across the state sent as much help as they could spare.

In Chico, the shared resources amounted to 81 shifts between 6 police officers, totaling more than 11,000 hours of time out there, aiding in evacuations and protecting the empty neighborhoods.

As for compensation, there may be some down the road from the state, but it's not something the city necessarily banks on - they're going to help their neighbors, and deal with the expense once live are no longer on the line.

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