Fire Captain Martinez puts his VC expertise to work
Capt. Daniel Martinez brings more than 12 years of local firefighting experience to his new post at Station 72. Photo by Michael Crane / Valley Roadrunner
November 26, 2013No matter how much training and experience you might have, there's one thing you just can't beat: hometown advantage. With over a decade of experience in the area, Fire Captain Daniel Antonio Martinez is perfectly comfortable with his new post at Station 72.
"I'm used to it up here," said Martinez. "I know the area pretty well and I know the roads pretty well. I'm pretty familiar with the kinds of calls and the people around here. It's a nice community to work in."
Martinez started his emergency response career as an EMT for Balboa Ambulance in San Diego before coming to Valley Center's old Station 71 as a firefighter in 2001. He worked as a seasonal firefighter here with Cal Fire for 5 years, and was then hired by the San Pasqual Reservation Fire Department in May of 2006. He has been a captain for about a year now and is excited to be back in Valley Center.
"It's an everyday learning curve," said Martinez. He is still figuring out how to be an effective supervisor, but the Valley Center firefighters have been a great help in easing the transition. "From my learning experience, these guys know how to train themselves if
they're not busy. They've been very respectful to me, personally, very hardworking. All I've got to say about the reserve program is it's been great."
Martinez is also a hazardous materials instructor and teaches a course at the San Pasqual Fire Academy about three times a year. That background has certainly complemented his abilities as a fire captain, but he feels one of his most valuable abilities is his thorough knowledge of the area.
"I'm very familiar with the street names," he said. "When a call comes in, I already know in my head about 80 percent of the time which way I'm going."
He also has a great memory when it comes to Valley Center's history, and can recite the years and locations of local fires all the way back to the 1980s.
Born in Tijuana, Martinez moved to Chula Vista when he was 12 years old. He currently lives in Temecula with his wife Sonia, his 12-year-old stepson Reuben Velez, and his 18-monthold son Gianni. When he's not taking care of the kids (who keep him very busy), Martinez enjoys visiting family and going out to the desert to ride his quad. He is also an avid sports fan.
"I run the league for fantasy football," he said. "That's one of my all-time favorite hobbies."
Martinez has no dramatic plans to change Station 72 aside from keeping things running smoothly. A veteran of both the Cedar and Witch fires, he is well-acquainted with fighting wildfires and cautions that "we can never be over-prepared." He looks forward to maturing as a captain at his new post and continuing to make a good name for the San Pasqual Reservation Fire Department.
"I'm always happy to come back and I'm always happy to stay here in Valley Center. I'm not necessarily looking to move anywhere else at this point." Martinez promises to "always be there first on scene,
always there to help out the people in any way I can. I'm here and ready for the public, anything they need, whatever the emergency may be, we'll find a way to help."