John Sprague has worked for CAL-Fire for 27 years starting out as a seasonal fire fighter promoting to a Firefighter Apparatus Engineer, Fire Captain and now Battalion Chief for this area. Sprague is replacing Mike Brown who held the title for several years before retiring last year.
Gridley is not new to Sprague who grew up in Chico. He was a Captain when he worked here from 1994 to 1996, with Engineer Mike Pickard who is still at the Gridley station.
Sprague started his new job on May 19 and looks forward to ensuring that the department gives supreme service.
“We want to give the best service we can offer,” he stated.
Sprague will spend time learning about local programs and is appreciative of the many grants the Cities of Biggs and Gridley have received in order for the stations to be able to replace vital gear that the firefighters wear.
As fire conditions continue to become more serious, Sprague stated that they are already looking at the months of July and August for fire conditions.
He credits the dispatchers with getting the firefighters out quickly for faster response times.
Gridley's ladder truck is often used for larger fires out of the Gridley area such as the recent Sierra Del Oro Elementary School fire in Oroville and the Manzanita Avenue apartment fire in Chico.
With stations working well together, it is customary to have several trucks arrive at once from different areas of the county or region.
“We can get resources where they are needed. It is a reciprocal process. Those cities would send their ladder trucks to us if we needed them,” he stated.
Sprague and his wife Lena have two teenage sons.
Sprague worked most recently in Mendocino for three years commuting back and forth to Chico. Before that he worked in San Bernardino seven years and Humboldt eight years.
It is common for firefighters to have extra duties such as that of In Charge of the Emergency Command Center, a title Sprague also held in Humboldt. The family moved to Chico in 2004.
“It is an extreme pleasure to work with such a professional crew who knows what to do. They provide their own direction to solve countless problems,” Sprague stated.