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. kentex1146 says:

    Just another governemnt worker making excuses for his own stupidity.

  2. Chad says:

    Cry me a river spank boy

  3. CV says:

    Then go to a volunteer fire dept to make up the slack, pay for their uniforms and a small stipend for their gas and time.

  4. Sailfish says:

    Looks like Mr. Dibble was caught in a fibble. What a way to spend credibility his position would normally garner. Now, it looks like he was probably acting carelessly and is looking to scapegoat his way out of it.

    A bit more scrutiny on what happened at the scene would be interesting.

  5. Democrats are hosing America says:

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

    Damn! Looks to me like HE should have been the one to anchor the ladder for everyone else! What an idiot! Probably voted for Obama – that’s what made his situation the way it is…

  6. Miguel says:

    While we are sorry for this ma’s injuries, and are thankful to Sacramento Area firefighters’ efforts, we are also aware of the many things our fire departments do which plunder the community much their advantage.

    We know of many people whose property value at sales have been seriously harmed or the sale made impossible by means of the Sacramento Area Fire Department’s colluding with Sac Co. “planners” who demand fire hydrants be installed on any larger size properties, that access road be widened far wider than what a fully loaded semi-truck needs to access the property, all just so these guys won’t have to work so heard for their vast overpay.

    We all know that Sacramento Area firemen often have two homes as but one indicator of their vast wealth, This group of “public servants” has become allied with the “ruling class” with which they collude to extract more tax money from the people in an unholy alliance with other “governing” entities.

    It’s now all about the money, just as the headline of this story says. Follow the money to see their real motivation! The property owners and real estate people properly fear this unholy alliance between government, public service unions, MSM and the Progressive glue that binds this “alliance” together in service to themselves.

  7. Ruckweiler says:

    If the ladder was not safe then maybe he shouldn’t have climbed it. Sorry for his injury but maybe he should look in the mirror for the cause.

  8. jmounday says:

    selling the union line all the way! However ladders are dangerous, But looking at the body shape of this 50 year old, and being of that stature and age he should not have been on the job..OSHA and employee rules are suspect…the coming law suit will tell the story, all union accidents are very profitable for the injured party..Thank you tax payer….

  9. Harpotoo says:

    That OLD FAT ARSE is saying what???

  10. CorporateMediaIsADangerousCult says:

    hard core psyop thread burial going on here

  11. Bill says:

    Thats weird. You can’t hold a latter from the TOP?

  12. jt says:

    Then quit, a-hole. remember 75% of the firemen in the US are volunteers who work for nothing. They are the real heroes, not these guys who make six figure incomes and retire at age 50 with 90% of their pay and free medical.

  13. Ron says:

    Are you a moron or do you just play one on the internet?

  14. CorporateMediaIsADangerousCult says:

    I predict there will be hell of people indicted in every government agency; and the trillionaires are about to get taxed for real, hard core

    how many of you are listening to the stuff on cspan right now?

  15. GC says:

    BS alert! Having worked on ladders solo for many years I can tell you that a little common sense is all you need. Instead of a 100K+ a year man to hold your ladder, try a rope, try setting the ladder at the correct angle, use a number of products designed to hold a letter steady— and in this case, have someone at the top of the ladder hold it steady!

  16. Atlas Shrugged says:

    From the looks of the guy in the hospital bed, he is so fat and out of shape the ladder probably collapsed. In reality, he probably did place the ladder correctly and fell from his own weight. Who loses, the TAXPAYERS.

    No one ever hold the ladder for me at home, and I’m not a professional.

    Isn’t there a physical ability test the police and firemen have to pass every year?This guy never passed the donut shop.

  17. HC says:

    Time for the Fire department to man up and realize in the eye of the public they’re not worth it. Stop going into burning buildings putting their health and lives at risk. Its time to deploy a new strategy for fire fighting. All fires will be treated as a surround and drown event. If you can’t make it out of the building then you’ll be considered a recovery after the embers have cooled down when it’s safe to do so. This way there will be less injured firefighters and no need to worry about sick or injured time payments and the firefighters will live healthier lives and less body injuries.

  18. Fly out says:

    Hey MORON, if regulation require someone to hold the ladder for the other firemen, and you violated the rule, they should fire you.

    Typical GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE, blame someone else for your stupidity.

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