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Cotati Heart & Soul - Deborah Taylor-French - February 2017


Cotati Heart & Soul - February 2017

by Deborah Taylor-French

I was telling a joke about a house that burned down to a firefighter the other day. He had to be there.

But no joking, what’s not to love about our district firefighters? If you can sleep easy at night, get through July 4th without soaking your roof, if you have ever had an urgent care need in your family, you like firefighters. In fact, you may even want to send them a valentine or thank you note. Even at a job well loved, appreciation, respect and acknowledgement helps keep great people at challenging jobs like firefighters at Rancho Adobe Fire Protection District.  

Rancho Adobe Fire Protection District there for the asking

Have you ever run toward a burning building? Me neither. According to Rancho Adobe Fire District Battalion Chief Mike Weismann “the New Year’s Eve Hot Spot fire was burning for sometime before being called in because there are no alarms or sprinkler systems in the building.” This was not an easy feat, but they extinguished it within twenty minutes, saving the adjoining businesses. No was injured. The structure sustained 100,000 dollars in damages. The fire remains under investigation and no cause has yet to be determined. It was a popular late nightspot for customers who wanted comfort food.

Lions, firemen and storms—Oh my!  

The rough storm of January 9th kept the phones ringing at all three R.A.F.P.D. Fire Stations. One of these calls came from Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue on. Several trees came down in forty mile plus winds. “…a forty-foot tree crashed on a foot path, narrowly missing a large predator enclosure, with a bobcat in residence.”

S.C.W.R. Doris Duncan, Executive Director, was very scared that the branches could have damaged the enclosure and put the pair of young mountain lions in harms way. The team arrived in ten minutes. “They were amazing!” said Duncan.

Firefighters Battalion Chief Herb Wandel, Engineer Robert Nappi and Firefighter Brian Sweet, after surveying the situation, scaled the structure and removed debris. They found that the wire-linked enclosure was unbroken. The cubs, Oliver and Nicole, were safe. The team received high praise for both this rescue of the animal rescue and past help in natural disasters. To see photos if the cubs visit Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue on Facebook or visit their website

Quick interview with acting R.A.F.P.D. Chief, Andy Taylor 

We dropped by during the week and luckily found Acting Chief, Andy Taylor, at the Penngrove Station. Not only did we get to shake his hand, Taylor agreed to help us do some fact checking. He works as a Battalion Chief, his fulltime job, plus is standing in as district chief. I liked his get to business manner. After leading us to a desk in the general office with several workstations for paperwork, Taylor stood near a wall of information near a desk. His athletic 6’3” commands a respect for his person fitness, wise judgment and cool strength. Working two jobs can be unsettling. But nothing of the sort showed. Firm and friendly he answered detailed questions with exactness. Currently, the district runs 16 full-time on fire suppression, 20 part-time, a few support staff volunteers plus one part-time non-firefighting staff. With Taylor’s replies we were happily on our way to understanding how and where the district resources are used. Give your firefighters valentines, but skip the candy. Did you know they have a donate page? Visit Consider also a donation to their annual fundraisers for good causes. They gotta’ love that. 

Hey 2016 R.A.F.P.D. raised $5,000 to help kids with Muscular Dystrophy Friday (Aug. 5) however, firemen from the Rancho Adobe Fire Protection District had the opportunity to see the impact their efforts from the Fill the Boot campaign had on children stricken with muscular dystrophy.

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