Winter, 2007


Workmen carefully move a 1200-pound steel trash rack into place in the spillway below Port Costa Reservoir. The structure is built to keep large objects out of the storm drain without restricting the flow of water. For more information and a picture of the trash rack in place.



A trash rack of galvanized steel pipe is wedged into place in the spillway below Port Costa Reservoir to prevent flooding as occurred in 1995 and 2005. Both years, debris jammed the storm drain, flooding the Port Costa School and damaging homes and property on Canyon Lake Drive. The trash rack is designed to keep large items such as tires, tree limbs, plastic floats, sheet metal, wire fencing and other debris from entering the storm drain system.

Mandated by the Contra Costa County Department of Public Works, DPW monitored the trash rack project through the permitting process, the design phase, construction and installation. The Ehler Company of Antioch and Kirk Welding of Brentwood performed the work. The project was paid for by the owner of the property on which the spillway’s culvert is located.




After weeks of prep work, water washing and sanding, painter Jim Campbell applies the first coat of primer to the Port Costa School. The new paint job was made possible by two anonymously donated grants and funds allocated from a 1997 Unocal class action lawsuit through the offices of Supervisor Gayle Uilkema and Congressman George Miller.


Left to right, Port Costa volunteer firefighters Jeffrey Gray, John MacKenzie, Scott Drummond, Nick Arnold, Tom List, Monica Greene and Aaron Greene. Not shown: Terry Parker and Mark English.



At 4:30 a.m. on Friday, August 31, the fire siren sounded at Station 77 in Port Costa. A grass fire, fanned by light winds, was advancing rapidly toward town. Within minutes, Port Costa Engine 77's firefighters, shouldering heavy hose packs, were scrambling up a steep hill to meet the oncoming flames. At the same time, two firefighting crews from Crockett accessed fire roads to fight the blaze, now throwing sparks into the air as it consumed dead trees and debris.

Within 15 minutes, the flames were contained and brought under control. Firefighters completed the job by extinguishing hot spots and potential flare-ups. It was one of 14 callouts in August for the Port Costa volunteer fire crew.

The Crockett-Carquinez Fire Department conducts training exercises once a week to prepare firefighters not only for fires but also medical emergencies, car and motorcycle accidents and non-emergency public assistance calls. At times, volunteers are sought to combat major fires in the state. In October of 2003, Monica Greene and John MacKenzie of Port Costa joined more than 4,000 firefighters to battle the Old fire in the San Bernardino National Forest, an arson-created inferno that raced through 91,281 acres and destroyed 940 homes.

"Being a firefighter is more than just jumping on the back of the fire engine," said Monica. "You have to know a lot of things. It can be scary when it’s a burning building or somebody with a heart attack. The Crockett-Carquinez Fire Department has a great training program. We get comprehensive medical and rescue training, auto extrication, ladder raising and wild land fire training. Once we even got to rappel off the San Mateo Bridge."

Tom List has served six years as a Station 77 firefighter. He singles out lead firefighter John MacKenzie for his ability to see the big picture in an emergency incident, and Terry Parker, a longtime firefighter now retired, for his volunteer work as Engine 77's maintenance engineer. "You can be doing something completely unrelated during the day or sleeping in the middle of the night and – boom! – the siren blows and everybody’s at the firehouse working together," said Tom. "It is an absolute pleasure to work with this crew."

Persons wishing to make donations to the firefighters for safety gear and emergency supplies may do so by sending a check to Crockett-Carquinez Firefighters Association, 746 Loring Avenue, Crockett, CA 94525.