News Feature | October 3, 2014

Amid Drought, California Firefighters Accused Of Stealing Water

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

A group of firefighters in California is being pegged as water thieves. 

"The San Pasqual Volunteer Fire Department has been dissolved amid allegations of firefighters stealing water," CBS 8 reported. "The County Board of Supervisors said it would terminate its contract with the department." 

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors dissolved the department on September 16, "following through on a notice given [the week prior] to the nonprofit organization that managed it," the Daily Transcript reported

The firefighters "used the department's 2,500-gallon water tender to take water from a hydrant in Poway. That water was then delivered to the well of a friend of a department official," according to sheriff's deputies cited in the CBS 8 report. 

Terminating the firefighters contract has "never been done in the six-year history of the San Diego County Fire Authority, which oversees most volunteer departments in the back country," according to U-T San Diego

Michael Workman, the county’s director of communications, explained the decision to dissolve the volunteer department. 

“The community has to have trust in its fire departments, and unfortunately, that trust in the San Pasqual Fire Department was violated,” he said, per U-T San Diego.  

Officials say this is not the first misstep by the fire department. 

“I’m sorry to say, there is a history of bad choices at the San Pasqual Volunteer Fire Department and enough is enough,” Bill Horn, an elected official in San Diego County, said per U-T San Diego. “It is time to fix the problem. I am confident the county can do that without disrupting protective services to the area.”

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