SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Sacramento Fire Department captain who broke his back in a fall while fighting a house fire over the weekend says a lack of manpower directly led to his injuries, but department officials disagree.

Fire Captain Gene Dibble said a ladder tilted back while he tried to climb to the roof at a Rancho Cordova home Saturday night, throwing him to the ground and jamming his equipment into his spine, breaking it.

Captain Dibble said he was the last man to climb the ladder, and nobody was available to hold the ladder steady.

“We literally ran out of people. Ordinarily we would have had someone there to anchor the ladder. There was no one left,” he said.

At least 50 firefighters have left the department and haven’t been replaced due to budget cuts over the past three years, Dibble said, and rolling brownouts have kept fire engines out of commission for 24 hours at a time to save costs.

Dibble said he is expected to recover from his injuries, but “I could have easily been a parapalegic.”

“If we’d have had the adequate resources that usually would have been there, this certainly would have been avoided,” he added.

Sacramento Fire Department spokesman Captain Jonathan Burgess disagreed with Dibble’s criticism, saying the amount of firefighters dispatched has not changed over the years.

22 firefighters were at the Saturday night fire, but some additional units may still have been traveling to the scene when the accident happened, Burgess said.

The fire department hopes to end rolling brownouts soon thanks to a $5 million grant from the federal government last week, which will be used to hire 27 firefighters.

Dibble will begin rehabilitation next week.

Comments (200)
  1. SChmit says:

    Sharp, You nailed it right on the head!!!!!!

  2. steve says:

    Just another govt worker mentality that is looking for a reason to sue someone.

  3. Miguel says:

    Where in the hell are all of the people’s comments which were here earlier???!!!

    Is channel 13 afraid of the people’s views??!!

    1. RobertK says:

      It reads there are 188 views, but damned if I can find all of them.

      1. RobertK says:

        I mean comments.

    2. Dean Fuller says:

      They are not all displaying for some reason.

  4. FiremanBob says:

    What is an old lardass capt. doing on a ladder anyway ????

    1. MIles Monroe says:

      Someone had to get the box of donuts.

      1. All Burned Up says:

        Eliminate the Firefighters and Police. Lets go back to bucket brigades and a single county Sheriff. Heck, close the prisons so we won’t need correctional officers. Let the city burn and go wild!

        Give me a break people!

  5. dan says:

    Why is the federal government taking money from responsible taxpayers in states like Montana and South Dakota and giving it to irresponsible leftwing union leeches in California? That is criminal.

  6. danohfiveoh says:

    After reading guys like 330lb Gorilla bob or Bob Cooper I feel better. Not everyone is like Mike. Mike is like the towns people in the movie “High Noon” they loved the Sheriff when he was able to handle everything by himself. But the moment “John Miller” comes to town with his gang, they run and hide! We need to watch the budget, spend only on what we can afford, and limit the role goverment has in our life. To me this means essential services. Police, Fire, streets, water, and code enforcement. Everything else is a luxury and if we can afford it then we pay for it. And to those employees that are in public safety we should take care of you with good pay, decent benefits, and if you dedicate your working career to the city, you should receive a decent retirement for the risk you were willing to take. They should be able to go to work, lay it on the line without hesitation, and if they should die trying to protect the people they can rest assured that their wife and kids will be cared for by the community they served. Mike even though you are an idiot I would still run into that burning building and save your tail from a horrible death….its what I do man!

    1. Jim G. says:

      I agree with you danohfiveoh. I am a former firefighter, and no matter what a persons idiotic reasons for spewing out garbage, I to would save his life. And there are pleanty of luxury areas of the budget that can get the ax. Jusy look back at what was being funded back in the 50’s and early 60’s and compare that to now. Back then we had great police protection, great fire protection, plenty of money for schools, roads, etc. So if we all would just get back to the basics, we would be better off. As far as entertainment ? We had only the Memorial Auditorium and the State Fair Grounds. Any other entertainment usually delt with family things to do….. Not to bad back then………

  7. mike says:

    danoh……..didn’t realize you were drafted into the job; I thought you probably joined of your own free will…….calling someone an idiot doesn’t effectively offer a response to the points made

  8. Jack Kennedy says:

    unions – your excessive pay and pensions are to blame for my losing my house and going bankrupt

    like with the rest of America, union pukes have broken me and WE ARE BROKE

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