Sunday, November 29, 2015 • 01:22

Capt. Carreon takes charge at Station 73

October 31, 2013
With 26 years of experience fighting fires for the Vista Fire Department, Captain Phil Carreon is excited to tackle some new challenges at Valley Center Fire Station 73. Learning the winding backcountry roads and the spread-out nature of the district has taken some getting used to, but Carreon is settling in just fine.

Capt. Phil Carreon hopes to extend emergency medical services in Valley Center. Photo by Michael Crane / Valley Roadrunner
"Fire departments are kind of the same no matter where you go," said Carreon. "It's a little bit of a transition, but not a difficult one."

Carreon had been a captain in Vista for seven years and he was probably on the path to retirement, but Joe Napier, one of his battalion chiefs who happened to live in Valley Center, told him about the need for captains when the San Pasqual Tribal Department took over management of the VC Fire Protection District.

"He knew this would give me an opportunity to extend my career, keep doing what I love to do," said Carreon. He has also

served on strike teams fighting wildfires over the course of his career. For being stationed in a city department, he says he's had his share of wildland experience.

Carreon started out his career as a paramedic. One of his priorities as captain is getting paramedics on both the fire engines and the ambulances, whereas right now there are only EMTs on the Valley Center engines.

"I saw that change happen in Vista and I think it's very positive for the residents and patient care," he said. "I think the EMS aspect of the job is huge, probably the most important thing that we do, so I'd like to see that transition."

Since starting at Station 73 at the beginning of September, Carreon has been impressed with the Valley Center firefighters.

"They're a very enthusiastic group, they love to train when we're not running calls," he said. "I think that they wish they were busier because they enjoy being on calls."

Carreon has two sons, John and David, and a daughter, Kira, who just graduated high school. He lives in Oceanside with his wife Marsha, but they were actually Valley Center residents from 1998-2000.

"There are things that I miss about Valley Center. I love it being quiet and a little more isolated than we are in the middle of a neighborhood," said Carreon. "I think that Valley Center's going to continue to grow and develop and be a really good place to live."

In his free time, he enjoys reading everything from biographies to best-sellers, working in his yard, and travelling across the country with his wife.

Carreon worked and trained with fellow Station 73 Capt. Richard Vance, and he arrives in Valley Center with a similar mission.

"I think that Rich and I had come to the understanding that we had a lot of time under our belt, we had a lot of time running calls, and we hope that we can pass this on," he said. "We passed it on to a younger generation at our old departments and now we have the opportunity to pass it on to another generation at another department.

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