Earl Rice, fleet maintenance technician

Field Mechanic Springs to Action to Help Avert a Brush Fire

“I was thinking it was going to get bad fast if I didn’t do something,” recalled Earl Rice, a fleet maintenance technician for SDG&E, as he described seeing a non-company vehicle veer off the road and strike a curb. The friction caused by the impact sparked a fire on the driver’s right front wheel.

“I saw him using a small water bottle to try to put out the flames – and it was obvious that he needed a fire extinguisher,” Earl said. The accident had happened in an area with heavy brush.

On that day in June, Earl was on the road in Rancho Bernardo – filling in for a colleague as a relief field mechanic. He had just responded to a vehicle breakdown. With wildfire season now under way – and memories of the devastation caused by California firestorms in recent years still fresh in his mind, he turned his vehicle around.

Upon safely pulling over, Earl grabbed the fire extinguisher from his truck and offered it to the driver, who was then able to make some headway with the flames, so they didn’t spread to nearby brush. Firefighters arrived on the heels of these quick actions to finish the job.

Earl said this is a simple case of seeing someone in distress and helping out. His quick actions are a reflection of our company’s commitment to safety and making a difference in our community.