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. Zzzzz says:

    If a ladder is placed correctly it wont fall. The angle was probably too steep to be safe. (13 yr firefighter here)

  2. Slkrg says:

    IAs a firemen you are taught if no one is there to assist you, you tie off the ladder. This is basic Firefighter 1 techniques. Also if it was a lack of personnel their department could have set up a volunteer program and this would have filled their personnel problem. Maybe next time the Captain should of followed their SOP’s or standard operating procedures

  3. JoeAStorturf says:

    Obama will agree with him for sure. He never met a government worker he didn’t like. Private unions made the country great but because of all these public union slackers that work for 20 years and then retire on your backs we’re losing our healthcare that we worked for. Unlike the nonpublic unions that have to create a product they just have to vote in democrats like craggly necked Nancy Pelosi so they can get rich and her elected. Even FDR and George Meaney the first president of the AFL-CIO knew the public unions would be like Dracula to our children as public unions like the teachers union sucked the blood out of our kids to enrich themselves. Because of the unions and Obamacare their taking Avastin away from 17,000 women with late-stage breast cancer and delabeling it . This means your girlfriends and wives and daughters won’t get to live as long as Nancy Pelosi as she sips her wine down in Napa valley with all of her pervert friends. If you don’t believe me do a web search on it and FDA decision. This is one of the reason I wrote this song “Teapartiers I can’t hear you” at Older Vets and citizens don’t let them do this to your wife and loved ones. Nancy Pelosi can afford and get Avastin if she needs it, she don’t care about you but the illegals that will get your healthcare and will vote for her.
    Here’s a verse

    Doctors are retiring earlier but we’re getting 17000 new IRS
    This is how Obama creates health care jobs I guess
    For 234 years this country’s been God’s blessing.
    Now he’s following Cloward and Piven’s to bankrupt the country I’m guessing
    If Obamacare gives Grandma and Grandpa a scare
    Think how when their rationed and die earlier we’ll save on healthcare

    Hey guys if you fought at Iwo or the Chosen
    when they stop giving your wife her meds and her last breath comes over her face
    you’ll find comfort knowing Nancy’d gladly take her place.

  4. Slkrg says:

    As a firemen you are taught if no one is there to assist you, you tie off the ladder. This is basic Firefighter 1 techniques. Also if it was a lack of personnel their department could have set up a volunteer program and this would have filled their personnel problem. Maybe next time the Captain should of followed their SOP’s or standard operating procedures

  5. bbarre says:

    The more likely cause looks to be his obesity and failure to engage in best practices. No sympathy for this fool.

  6. j says:

    from the picture he looks fat and out of shape. If, you are going to be a fireman paid a big salary they should be in great shape. I see them at my gym on work time working out.

  7. FriendofSteve says:

    Time to fire the guys that complain, then get some people in there that actually want jobs.

  8. Fire Marshal Bill says:

    Hey Capt, remember the 75 degree angle rule you learned in Basic? Guess not.

  9. Why are there cuts, Captain? Because California cannot afford public employee union benefits!

    Here in San Diego, firefighters were being temporarily promoted during their careers, and then rotated out of higher positions, just so they could get the position’s higher benefits. This was double-dipping.

    When I learned of this practice, I lost all respect for the firefighters’ union.

    Ten years ago, when I went through the police department hiring process before cuts caused a hiring freeze, the recruiters kept telling me that I could make almost as much or more of my salary once I retired. I thought that was insane at the time.

    Now, I see why there is a huge deficit in California.

    Public employees unions are parasitic.

  10. jacquestoupe says:

    1] leaders lead from the front. he should have been first up that ladder.
    2] he’s a hog who’s mass could not defy the laws of physics.

  11. Dracer says:

    Typical union partisan moron, blaming others for his lack of skill. No one is forcing his overpaid fatness to be a fire fighter. Don’t like the conditions? Quit. Otherwise, shut up.

  12. Cass Rydel says:

    Captain Dibble: What have you learned from this experience?

  13. bbarre says:

    Looks like he’s getting ready to throw down another burger and fries. What a loser!

  14. K.Gill says:

    I do hope the Capt. recovers from his injuries. I would also take a closer look to make sure none of his comrades from the Firefighter’s Union were AWOL somewhere in my fair state of Wisconsin making fools of themselves in the name of “solidarity” instead of holding the ladder for him. Just sayin’.

  15. rratnibd says:

    As a retired fire captain, I am puzzled why he was last up instead of first. Being short handed should be one of the considerations used to determine the attack mode. How many people did he have on that residential roof anyway?

  16. Dion says:

    Sounds to me like poor training, poor leadership and that counter-balance weight above the good chiefs belt buckle might have contributed to this accident.

  17. JP says:

    I worked for Bell and every time I climbed NO ONE held a latter.
    Tie off fleebag!

  18. Dion says:

    Gone are the days of Backdraft. What a loser.
    To many Firefighters overusing their “HERO” card.

  19. Chad says:

    Suck it up cry baby … What a lil biotch

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