Photo Information

Firefighters with Camp Pendleton Fire Department and Rancho Santa Fe Fire Department work to put out a fire in Oceanside California, July 9, 2023. Camp Pendleton Fire Department worked alongside the Oceanside Fire Department and other local first responders to extinguish the fire and keep neighboring communities safe.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Mary Jenni

Camp Pendleton firefighters help protect local community

20 Jul 2023 | Lance Cpl. Mary Jenni Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

Firefighters with Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton Fire Department assisted the neighboring community of Oceanside and their first responder teams by answering the call for a vegetation fire in Oceanside, California, July 9, 2023. The CPFD mission is to provide fire and emergency services to prevent, protect and support recovery efforts aboard MCB Camp Pendleton and surrounding communities. The CPFD provides safety to the community both on and off the installation.

This dedication to safety was demonstrated when a fire broke out on the intersection of Frazee Road and College Boulevard in Oceanside. The fire burned a total of 21 acres and posed a threat to over 100 people and multiple businesses, according to Oceanside Fire Department Public Affairs Officer, John Regner.

In the final stages of putting out the initial fire another fire sparked from the embers and we had to call for additional help, said Regner. It was at this time, two CPFD engines responded in effort to battle the blaze.

Capt. Jesse Montijo of the CPFD said his first thought when getting the call was controlling the fire and protecting the people. “We were mainly keeping the fire in check. It was surrounded by streets on all four sides, and it was our priority to keep the embers and ashes from spreading to nearby houses,” said Montijo.

The CPFD provides many services apart from putting out fires, they are also technical experts in fire protection and prevention, emergency medical services, hazmat, technical rescue to support the life and safety of the community, and as always continuous training said Deputy Fire Chief Peter Korodini of the CPFD.

“We do monthly training with the local fire departments, we do the planning of everything from our drills operations, manuals, sharing of resources to the boots on the ground,” Korodini said.

“We are the leaders throughout the state on the way we have brought together several agencies.” Deputy Fire Chief Peter Korodini of the CPFD

CPFD has partnerships throughout San Diego County as well as the state of California.

These partnerships are extremely important to both MCB Camp Pendleton and neighboring communities and can be the difference between life and death when a fire occurs.

“Camp Pendleton automatically responds to fires in Oceanside, and in return Oceanside helps us and provides resources to Camp Pendleton,” said Regner.

MCB Camp Pendleton continues to work with local agencies to ensure safety and promote quality of life for our Marines, Sailors, and families. The CPFD fulfills a variety of efforts to the base and community by providing public education on fire season, health care checks as well as participating in local community events.

California wildfires are unexpected and oftentimes start without warning. Being able to respond to a fire within minutes and having the support of local agencies and departments is critical.

Extinguish the Fire Photo by Lance Cpl. Mary Jenni
Smoke rises from a fire in Oceanside, California, July 9, 2023. The Camp Pendleton Fire Department worked alongside the Oceanside Fire Department and other local first responders to extinguish the fire and keep neighboring communities safe.

We could be fighting a fire in Northern California or right outside the base, said Korodini. These mutually beneficial relationships are extremely important to MCB Camp Pendleton and local communities.

“It's not just about us sending our resources out there to the community, it's also a means for them to come onto the base and help us, " Korodini said. “It could be a fire that overwhelms our resources, we've had large-scale events where we need to seek assistance. They know the same for them, they can always call for our help.”

One of these such incidents was an Oceanside fire on Sunday, where the CPFD responded and worked together with the Oceanside, North County Fire, Chula Vista, Vista, San Marcos, North County, Cal Fire and Carlsbad Fire Departments.

“We got the call and where we were supposed to respond. From there we headed out to our rigs, got dressed and rolled out,” said Motijo, “along the way we got updates on the radio from the incident command that was already on scene and as we pulled up, they gave us our assignment and we went to work from there.” At the scene Montijo and the rest of the CPFD crew worked with the other departments to get the fire under control.

“We’re all trained and operate the same way, so there's really no difference in the way that we’re going to handle a situation,” said Korodini, “the only difference between us and them, when we’re on the scene, is the badge,” he said.

Every responder has the same mission, and the fire departments work together seamlessly to get the job done. “Everyone has the same goal in mind to put this fire out as quickly as possible and to not make a bigger incident than it already is,” said Montijo. “I love going out there and fighting fires on base and out in town, just helping people in their time of need.”

MCB Camp Pendleton is committed to the safety of the public and continues to build mutually beneficial relationships with local communities.