Extract From the Minutes of the
San Francisco Fire Commission

Tuesday, October 22, 1991

Before the regular calendar was discussed, President [James D.] Jefferson thanked all the members of the San Francisco Fire Department; the on-duty firefighters who responded to Sunday's tragic fire as well as the off-duty firefighters who came to San Francisco to fill in for those who went to Oakland. He asked Chief Postel to comment on the Fire Department's participation in Sunday's fire.

Chief Postel noted that both he and President Jefferson yesterday had an opportunity to take a helicopter trip over the devastated area of the Oakland-Berkeley Hills.

They spoke to Oakland's Fire Chief P. Lamont Ewell. Chief Postel commented that at approximately 12:30 Sunday afternoon he received a phone call that Oakland had requested mutual aid from San Francisco. They requested two strike teams; each strike team consists of five engine companies and one Battalion Chief.

One strike team was dispatched immediately, while the second was assembled. The first strike team was led by Battalion Chief James Tracey and the second by Battalion Chief Paul J. Tabacco. Chief Postel responded to the City's Emergency Command Center to prepare for the disaster and San Francisco's participation in it.

Several off-duty fire officers were recalled -- Assistant Chief James Lynch and Battalion Chief Gary Torres and, subsequently, Assistant Chief Daniel Barden and Deputy Chief John Boscacci returned to duty. At this point, Temporary Assistant Chief John Hickey and Battalion Chief Richard Seyler were dispatched to Oakland to activate San Francisco's command post.

By early evening, San Francisco had dispatched eleven engine companies and two hose tenders with five-inch hose, a mini-pumper, an attack hose tender, three Battalion Chiefs, a Division buggy, three vans and a mini-bus. The Department was assisted by the Muni Railway which provided a coach to transport 55 off-duty firefighters to the San Francisco command post in Oakland.

Thus, San Francisco provided approximately 150 firefighters. Assistant Chiefs Richard Condon [was recalled and took command of staging operations at the Division of Training] and Howard Slater also returned to duty and activated Division 1. Many off-duty firefighters responded to the Division of Training and were assigned to various fire stations to put units back in service. Other off-duty firefighters responded directly to the fire scene.

The number 150 does not represent the total number of San Francisco firefighters who participated in fighting Sunday's fire. He cited Chief's Aide Leonard DeStefano who responded directly from his home in the East Bay. This is another example of the San Francisco firefighter's dedication to the fire service and their profession. Fellow firefighters throughout the East Bay responded in kind.

Chief Postel commented that he and President Jefferson visited the scene yesterday. Chief Ewell warmly welcomed him and President Jefferson and thanked them for San Francisco's outstanding contribution. He complimented the San Francisco Fire Department on the performance of its members. He singled out Temporary Assistant Chief Hickey for praise and Assistant Chief Gary Musante as well. Battalion Chief Tracey was given command of an entire division in Oakland... .

Chief Ewell commented to Chief Postel that if it had not been for the San Francisco Fire Department, the Claremont Hotel would have been destroyed as well as many homes adjacent to the hotel. The fire damage was widespread and devastating as viewed from the helicopter, but the damage could have been worse had it not been for the actions of the San Francisco firefighters and others. He thanked each and every one of the San Francisco firefighters who responded to Sunday's tragedy. He commended that he was extremely proud of the San Francisco firefighters.

Mutual Aid Response
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