Firefighters received a great assist from Westmont College basketball players in putting out a fire off northbound HIghway 101 on Tuesday evening.
Tyler Austin, Abram Carrasco, Tristan Lloyd and Hunter Sipe had just finished a workout in Summerland and were driving home when they spotted a vegetation fire on the side of the freeway, behind the Summerland fire station.
The fire dispatch center received a 911 call about the blaze and engines were dispatched from the Carpinteria-Summerland and Montecito Fire Districts at around 7:21 p.m.
“As bad luck would have it, the fire engine normally stationed in Summerland was committed to another emergency call and was not in quarters when the grass fire started,” said Brian Roberson, battalion chief with the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District. “This added minutes to what would have been a very quick fire department response.”
During those minutes, the four Westmont basketball players literally jumped into action. They hopped a chain-link fence, ran through ice plant and sprayed the fire with a hose they had grabbed next to the fire station.
“Our initial reaction to seeing the smoke parade over the road was to stop and see what was happening and see if everyone was all right,” Sipe said. “We then proceeded to jump out of the car and do what we could to stop the spread of the fire. We were honestly confused for a second seeing the fire and then took the necessary actions to stop the spread.
“We connected a bunch of hoses that we saw on the side of the Summerland fire station and connected them far enough for Tristan to spray the main part of the fire down to stop the spread. The whole process took about half an hour.”
When the crew from the Montecito fire station arrived, they saw the Westmont players controlling the fire. The firefighters finished the job.
Roberson expressed his gratitude to Austin, Carrasco, Lloyd and Sipe.
“On behalf of the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire District, it was very impressive to see these four young men recognize a hazardous situation, jump into action, employ creativity to solve a challenging problem and work as a team to mitigate the problem until emergency personnel arrived,” he said. “Many thanks to them for their help on this incident.”