By Emilio, on May 3, 2012





Rumor has it that on the same day of the Stagg Hotel fire, that morning, Fire Chief Bisbee received an email that the 1999 KME fire ladder truck (the one we paid $225,000.00 with federal grant money 4 years ago but just received it in June 2011) once again had a malfunction with its ladder.

Since receiving the 1999 KME fire ladder truck almost a year ago, it has yet to be in-service consistently. (Read previous Watsonville Fishing Report).

The City of Watsonville owns two ladder KME fire trucks yet some people had to jump from the window(s) of the Stagg Hotel which was on fire, and others sustained serious injuries? The 2nd St. Fire Station is almost around the corner from where the fire happened yet not one ladder truck was operational?

I wrote an email to Fire Chief Bisbee and asked for an explanation:

From: emilio martinez []
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2012 5:37 PM
To: Mark Bisbee (
Cc: Carlos Palacios (; Alan Smith (; Beatriz Flores (
Subject: Fire Truck # 4471

Good Afternoon Chief Bisbee

Hope all is going well after the Stagg Hotel fire.

I understand that our KME ladder truck (#4471) was not in service on the day of the fire. As you are all well aware, you wrote me an email stating the fire truck was operational back sometime in April. I think it was on April 18th when you wrote me.

I noted that the truck is now back at the Harvest Dr. facility undergoing further repair(s). Are the repairs due to the ladder truck once again malfunctioning?

As you also know, the ladder truck was delivered back in June 2011. We are fast approaching a year since that date and still the truck is not operational on a consistent basis? What is wrong with the truck this time?

My concern is that we had people jumping from the windows of the hotel with at least one person breaking his/her legs and others sustaining serious injuries when we own 2 ladder trucks, one of which I believe was in in the 2nd street location only two or less blocks from the fire. Where was ladder truck #4471 at the time of the fire?

Thanks much for your anticipated response.


Check One:

_____ Will Respond

_____ Will Not Respond

_____ Who Cares?


I smell some huge lawsuits. The city of Watsonville had better start saving money because people being forced to jump out of a building due to the city of Watsonville not having working fire trucks to assist and save people from this fate is very bad. It seems that the city can't do anything right. Where was the other fire truck that has a ladder???? Was there another big fire at the same time or was the fire dept doing show and tell again with their trucks. I saw firetrucks and firemen (on the clock -overtime???) at the shopping center by SaveMart  recently having a truck open house. 

If I had had to jump out of a building due to the city's neglience, I would sue the crap out of them.

Yep BIG Lawsuit! It looks like a Watsonville Police officer even took control of the hose to put the fire out. 5:37 second s latter you see hand held ladders coming out. There may have been more suport in the back of the building. High five to the Watsonville police officer and citizen that opperated the hose. You can see the officer telling fireman to go do something???

The city won't worry about a lawsuit though. I am sure they will send Alejo into talk the people out of it. The chances that they are illegal are huge. If the citizens of Watsonville had brains they would be asking for heads to roll.


None of the city business can be justified.  The council and administration follow their own rules. They are in the business for themselves and those of their own kind.  We've been warned by bersamin that 'they' are the majority now and we had all better get used to it! Those were pretty harsh words and if they had been spoken by a non latino council person, a big suit would have been filed by the community against that person. There is no rhyme or reason to what the city attorney is doing nor the council and administration.  There must be better attorneys out there who would be more efficient in handling the city's business more fairly and with some sense of good law practice.  Who hired smith? Oh was it the city manager? Well now we all understand just how this city government works; you get hired to agree to follow orders of the administration. You don't have to know the job or have the experience needed, if you can recognize a typewriter or computer, and you can bow and say 'yes sir' at the same time, you are hired! Then of course, according to bersamin, I guess a non latino would not fit the bill. Just look at the people that have been hired or 'selected.' 

firefighterweIt was a Salinas officer, and the this understaffed fire department did exactly what the should have done. The firefighter on the hose line was getting ready to enter the building and put the fire out without pushing the fire further into the building, prior to the hose line being charged you can see he spots a person starting to fall off the flimsy a frame ladder at the front of the building so he sets the line down and does what he should have and gets the person down from the ladder. The officers action did result in the fire going out but people who do not understand how fire behaves can kill people with water and fire. Large fire streams push fire and this fire should have been put out from the inside. The fire captain who talks to the officer is unable to take over the hose because there is not a connection to the hydrant and he is the only person not making rescues that can hook up to the hydrant, witch you can see him do after he walks to the back of the engine. In the city I work in as a firefighter we would have had 3 to 4 times more people on scene of this fire and my hat is off to the crew who were on scene, 17 injured and active fire is a tough fire!

By the way this is not a case to use an ladder truck, the power lines in front of the building alone would kill anyone who got on the ladder. Ground ladders were the right call.

Also, were are the Chiefs? I my city and most others there would be a battalion chief on scene calling the plays. I see a captain on the right side of the video, I assume he is the Incident Commander but seems like he was needed on the hose line! Does your city have battalion Chiefs? The city website says you have division chiefs, where were they? The website also shows only nine firefighters on duty for almost 60,000 people?????? This is a MAJOR issue, I hope the Salinas pd and those construction guys are around for the next fire because nine firefigthters sure isnt going to cut it!!

Thanks Much for the input especially  as to why the ladder truck could not be used. From what I hear the fire dept is in turmoil with our fire chief and city manager. Also it seems that we may be running out of money and the reason for cut in services.



People are talking about the Stag Hotel fire.  There were about 6 officers and the Chief who were at the fire almost before the fire dept. These people were doing a lot of the work in helping to get the people out of the building.  Good thing because without the fire truck that cost the city so much money, looks like it was not available or rather, it was 'inoperable' again!

It appears to us that Emilio Martinez has been retaliated against. We believe that the city employees take more retaliation than he has. These are dedicated employees whose careers have been ruined. This is just our opinion, which is based on what has happend.  Maybe they should seek counsel from Officer Ybarra's attorney.

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