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Stockton Fire Department Stretched Thin

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STOCKTON -- They come when you call them. And in Stockton, they're expecting a lot more calls for service this year -- 10,000 more.

"We're definitely sling shot across the city," said Stockton Fire Chief Erik Newman.

And not just for your typical summer time brush fires, like the one Thursday afternoon where Interstate 5 and the Crosstown connect.

Newman says Stockton firefighters receive more calls for structure fires, specifically, than many other local departments of a similar size.

“We’re definitely per capita running a lot more than a lot of other metro cities,” Newman said.

They can't exactly pinpoint why so many homes and building in Stockton catch fire.

But they say there are several contributing factors: old architecture, abandoned properties and people leaving fire unattended.

“We’ve been averaging about 400 working structure fires every year,” Newman said.

Hey says they protect over 300,000 people with only three engines, in one of the top 10 busiest departments in the nation.