Things That Matter

Firefighters in Calexico, CA Help Extinguish a Fire Across the Border in Mexicali, MX

Last Thursday night, the U.S.-based Calexico Fire Department assisted their Mexicali counterparts when empty hydrants near a Mexicali fire forced the department to call in backup from across the border, according to the Calexico Chronicle.

The fire started on Thursday night around 9 p.m. When the Mexicali Fire Department realized that nearby hydrants were either empty or functioning improperly, they called in reinforcements from the Calexico department, which answered the call by throwing a firehose over the border fence separating the two cities.

“We pretty much made a bridge with the firehose going over to their engines so the line [of northbound motorists] did not get shut down,” said Calexico Fire Department Capt. Juan Contreras.

The captain noted that normally the Calexico department would run a firehose from underneath the border fence, but doing so would stop northbound traffic. To combat the potential gridlock, the Calexico department decided to just throw the hose over the fence, thereby negating any need to close the roads.

The two departments worked together until Friday morning at 1 a.m. to extinguish the fire, connecting three different firehoses through three trucks parked on either side of the border.

A brief video of the fire was posted to Canal 66 El Canal de las Noticias, a local outlet based in Mexicali.

The fire appears to have taken place in La Chinesca, in the historic downtown area of Mexicali, which is home to the largest Chinese community in Mexico. Pictures from the scene reveal that the fire was raging in a building directly underneath a large La Chinesca mural.

According to BC 911, a Mexican outlet that reports on local accidents and crimes, several businesses in the vicinity were damaged by the fire.

Additionally, this wasn’t the only fire Calexico had to deal with that day. Early Thursday morning, an abandoned building known for its concentration of squatters and transients was set ablaze.

Comprising two business offices, the Calexico department successfully extinguished the flames, but the local public works department decided to demolish the building as a result of both the damage and the steady stream of people who use the building as a makeshift shelter.

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