Stockton’s fire chief not as high on his firefighters as readers. Points out lack of masks & questions venting during TV interview

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Since December of 2011, videos of the Stockton Fire Department in action have been highly praised by the readers of The one that first caught their attention is at the bottom of this story. Our KICS (keyboard incident commanders) or, as I now call them, Last Responders, are a hard crowd to please. But the Stockton videos have been better received than videos of almost any other department we have shown you through the years.

A video of a recent fire has not received a rave review. This review comes from someone whose opinion has a lot more influence over the career of Stockton firefighters than your average reader. According to KXTV-TV, Stockton Fire Chief Jeff Piechura asked to review the station's news video and didn't like some of what he saw from Friday's fire at a vacant medical office.

Most of it concerned safety issues. Chief Piechura gave the department a B grade overall on safety and liked that a battalion chief can be heard in the video yelling at guys to get off the roof. The chief didn't like seeing guys on the roof without masks and questioned venting practices.


"They've got to have their masks on.  This guy's sucking in a lot of stuff," said Piechura.  A few firefighters without masks could be seen in the direct path of thick, dark smoke. 

"We'll have to have a discussion to correct these behaviors," Piechura said after viewing the video.

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"These holes we're punching, we're feeding the fire," said Piechura as he watched the video.  "Some of the practices they're looking at, is creating small breaks in the glass, putting a nozzle through and introducing water.  We're cooling down the building and the thermal blanket dissipates." 

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Jeff Piechura became Stockton fire chief in October of 2012. Piechura was the founding chief of the Northwest Fire District outside of Tucson, Arizona. A year after being hired in California, Chief Piechura was criticized by his IAFF local for remarks he made about his department at an FRI event in Chicago. He ended up apologizing (click here for the story).

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