The Indicator from Planet Money - DIY Firefighting

Emergency services are spread so thin in the West that some property owners are taking a D-I-Y approach to firefighting.

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early one morning back in 2017 president Addison woke up to the sound of his neighbor pounding on his door. They call came about 1 or 2 a.m. His neighbor told him a wildfire was coming and Furious Preston for help waking their neighbors Preston and his neighbor live in Cloverdale a small town in California is Wine Country 3 miles north of the city of Santa Rosa where they're already devastating fires burning. Everybody was your tiny Community was probably a low priority so they got to work protecting the community themselves. The area has a lot of wind Growers and ranchers who have equipment that in a pinch can be helpful for firefighting several Neighbors on ranches started driving and bulldozers at night cutting fireline.

Burnt his neighbors were plowing the Earth removing brush and forming a barrier against the oncoming Wildfire 10 a.m. The next day. The fire was right at that one foot Preston and his fellow amateur firefighters. They knew they weren't finished the fire could jump the fire line at any moment and destroy their homes. So they improvised ways to put out the Flames Preston who's a contractor owned a water trailer and a pump now, it was like a mobile fire hydrant and his neighbor's Four Wind Growers and ranchers had water trucks which in a way are kind of like fire trucks and to top it off one of Preston's neighbors had the real thing. He had a real life fire truck. It was a surprise and with those water trucks and trailers and a real deal fire engine Preston and his neighbor's successfully fought back the fire at least long enough for the fire department.

To arrive and to provide reinforcements. I have no doubt that the fire would have taken our homes had those guys on the ranch not been cutting fire lines over the past few weeks fires have burned millions of Acres on the west coast and Greg you're on the west coast. I mean you've been in the middle of this thing. Yeah. Yeah. I'm at my mom's house in Sonoma, California. This is where I grew up and to be honest. I don't remember fires being this bad growing up now. It's like Ground Zero for wildfires every single year. This is the indicator from Planet Money. I'm Carlos Garcia and I'm good results key is used to be when there was a big Wildfire outwest you relied on professional firefighters to save your property and if they couldn't hopefully you had insurance that would help you rebuild but two things are changing that the fires are getting so frequent.

The firefighters are just completely outmatched into insurance is not an option for everyone what happens when you can't rely on public fire fighting or private insurance today the show I go down a Craigslist Rabbit Hole to get a peek at the underground world of DIY fire fighting.

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Great. It's a picture of a fire truck that sort of like the classic truck that you would walk by in a fire station. Its dudes. There's pipes and ladders everywhere. It's really long. The second one though is a little bit different. It looks like a a pickup truck that's been kind of adapted into a fire truck. That one is a mini fire truck from Japan. There's this company that the buy them in Japan Imports them and then sells them in here. It's kind of like fire truck Arbitrage exactly. But the most interesting story I found while looking for fire trucks on Craigslist was from this guy Lance Williams in Lake County, California. There's two things you need to know about him. He's a former motorcycle racer who now works in the Cannabis industry already interested. I really want to know why he's mixed up in fire trucks. Okay? Well that leads me to the second thing. You need to know about Lance in 2015 a wildfire.

Through his property and there was no one there to help his entire property was destroyed the fiber a hundred feet tall and the wheels on a 4Runner we had Park their melted off and made a stream of metal aluminum metal cannabis Growers like him have a special need for private firefighting for one thing. They tend to be in remote areas with less population that makes it less likely they'll get help from fire departments. And she even if they get the state permits to legally grow weed in California. It's still really hard to get crop insurance. Is it still federally illegal and now we have our property but we can't insure it. So I was just like by fire truck. I mean, what are you supposed to do? I don't want to sit here if it's coming through after the fire destroyed his property land Spotify fire engine at a Government auction in Kansas the truck he got its a 1967 Ford 750 with four-wheel drive.

What is an old-school tough looking fire truck red, it's pretty badass. This is a very rare truck. It's hard to find four by four fire trucks. And where I am. I have dirt road that is quite steep. You need a four-by-four to even get up interesting because last year the indicator did a show about private firefighting as well. And we found that it was mostly insurance companies and not home owner door behind that industry's growth and it makes sense because they have lots of money on the line. If People's insured properties burn kind of different in the case of weed growers have big incentives to protect their properties themselves precisely because they cannot get insurance should say it's not just weed growers were buying up old fire fighting equipment to protect their property because more and more people are finding it hard to get insurance or people are finding that insurance just isn't enough to compensate them for losing everything in a wildfire.

Is land selling his fire truck part of his cannabis farm. Is it really up and running it? So he didn't need his fire engine this season and he figured might as well put it on Craigslist and I put it up there because I thought someone might be in the situation where they need to save their far. Is anyone actually bought it. Not yet. He he says he has a couple interested buyers, but they haven't given him the cash yet still are the two interested buyers named Greg results key in Cardiff Garcia because if not, do you want to fire truck? Maybe something we can make happen? All right. Seriously though our thanks for bringing us this really intriguing storage. Tell everybody where they can find your work. I went to Planet Money newsletter and you should totally subscribe is NPR. Org first planet money newsletter. Once a week, and there's lots of fire truck content. No, just kidding.

Fountain Angela Huxtable, it was fact-checked by Sean said, adanya our editors Patty first and the indicator is a production of NPR.

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