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By Jeff Pack
Writer 

Local man wants fire agencies to consider fire bunkers

 

Last updated 12/26/2018 at 1:09pm



George Maverick just wants to protect people.

That’s why he asked the North County Fire Protection District last week to consider his idea of designing and installing fire bunkers in areas at high risk of wildfires with limited escape routes.

“Originally, it was just for residential use,” Maverick said, standing outside the Fallbrook Public Utilities District office after presenting his idea to the NCFPD last week.

“In lieu of what happened up in Napa and what happened up in Paradise, it seemed to me it would be a good idea to have a community fire bunker strategically placed in case a fire comes up and people don’t have a chance to get out, they can enter one of these bunkers and get saved.”

He presented the idea to the NCFPD board only as a matter of discussion, asking them to put a discussion on the table at a future meeting.

“So, I mentioned that to them and asked them to vote on that,” Maverick said. “Do you think it’s a good idea? Then we’ll move on. If you don’t think it’s a good idea, then I want to know the reasons why.”

Maverick said he speaks about his idea with people associated with the fire department industry, and is met with some reluctance.

“To me, it’s as obvious as anything,” he said. “Without being a fireman, something like this is obvious, from a standpoint of common sense, I can taste it. And yet when I talk to fire officials they look at you like a deer in a headlight.

“And so, we’ll see what happens.”

Maverick has had the idea for about 10 years; he even presented the idea to the California Fire Safe Council.

“I don’t know what they are going to do with that,” he said.

Maverick said he hasn’t designed a fire bunker, nor has he built one, but that isn’t the point.

“I want the state to be responsible for the design,” he said. “A low-cost design so people can afford to build one of these. The state has to approve these things anyway. If you have the means, you can put one on your property, but also I am asking for the state to do a design on a community fire bunker.”

He thinks regions like Fallbrook and De Luz would benefit from the bunkers.

“If you have the property and it’s a low-cost situation,” Maverick said. “If you don’t have time to get out, get in your bunker and save yourself. A lot of places, even within the constructs of Fallbrook can do the same thing.”

Maverick said he has seen some examples of a similar idea in Australia.

“There doesn’t have to be any other example of it, to me, it’s just plain, common sense,” he said. “People trying to get out of the fire up in Paradise, they were burned to death, either in their homes or trying to get out.”

He said he reached out to the state fire chief a few years ago with a similar proposal but received very little in response.

“I want to be a little more active this time and see how much support can back me up on this thing,” Maverick said.

So far, he admits, he’s received very little support from the fire community.

“Other people I’ve talked to think it’s a great idea,” Maverick said. “Fire people, no one has come over to me and said, ‘Hey, you got a great idea, let’s move forward on this.’”

He’s hoping the NCFPD will get on board.

 

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