During the week, Ron Redden is the environmental health and safety

specialist for WesternU, responsible for all Cal OSHA compliance

regarding employee safety and student safety as well as hazardous

chemical, storage and disposal.

But more recently, his life has become a bit more adventurous than

usual. Redden, a volunteer for the Riverside County Fire Department, was

called on to help battle the fires in San Bernardino County last month.

Redden, a retired firefighter for the city of Glendale, was part of

a strike team sent to Waterman Canyon, an area hit hard by the so-called

Old Fire. Redden is an engineer — he drives the fire engine and runs the

pumps on the truck.

“”I had no idea the extent of it until we got out there and got

thrown into the middle of it,”” Redden said this week in describing the

fire’s destruction. “”It’s like a war zone — the noise level, the

confusion.””

Redden spent two weekends as a member of the firefighting team.

“”For an adrenaline junkie, it’s neat. But at the same time, it’s

nerve racking,”” he said.

His previous firefighting experience included the devastating Malibu

fires 10 years ago.

“”You knew it was going to end? once it reached the Pacific Ocean,

Redden said. “”But this fire has got plenty of property.””

Redden admits that despite his previous firefighting experience, he

gets scared. Yet, the knowledge of being an active part in fighting the

blazes outweighs the fear and apprehension.

“”I think what gets into your system is knowing that you’re doing

something that makes a difference,”” he said. “”I’m sorry this is going on

but I’m glad I was there to do something. It would be really frustrating

to watch this going on and not be able to help. Fortunately, I can do

something and that’s a good feeling.””