Life-saver Merv should be Washington’s fire chief |

Life-saver Merv should be Washington’s fire chief

My name is Chick Cicogni, and I would like to speak my peace about the Little Town of Washington and the firing of Merv, the fire chief. I was born in the little town of Washington, so I am much interested in what takes place there. Let me tell you something about Merv.

On Oct. 15 of last year, I walked two miles from the Gaston Ridge to my mining claim, the Gaston Mine. The Gaston Mine is located two miles down a deep canyon, almost impassable. After I arrived at the mine, I fell down with a heart attack. I was six miles from the closest help.

After two hours of severe pain, my son, Silvano, showed up to see what I was doing. He discovered me lying in the dirt, screaming in pain. His cell phone would not work from the deep canyon, so he had to walk back up to the Ridge Road, two miles away. There he called 911.

Hours later, an ambulance came, but could not get to me. The reason was the Forest Service dug 27 water ditches 4-feet deep to block me from opening up the Gaston Mine. The Forest Service does not want mining, so to block miners from mining, they block the entrance road by digging water ditches. The ditches prevent the miners from opening up their mines. The Forest Service has even burned down miners’ cabins to serve its end.

Well, finally, the ambulance arrived, but it could not get by the first 4-foot-deep water ditch.

Later, the fire truck arrived, and the driver could not go over the 4-foot water ditch. All this time, I was in terrible pain with no help. Finally, a Forest Service squad truck came and they could not get over the 4-foot water ditch.

So, here we are with three survival means, and no one was able to figure out a way to save my life. Well, Merv did.

Merv organized the “four horsemen” from the little town of Washington – Hank, Eric, Don and Merv. They came to the rescue. Merv was able, under difficulty, to go over the 27 water bars, 4-feet deep, to get to me. At this time, it was about four hours later. I suffered the tortures of hell during these four hours, hollering and screaming in terrible pain. I prayed to God intensely for help.

All of a sudden, two interesting things happened: A bear heard the “call of the wild” and came to devour me, a wounded man. Not only did the bear hear my screams, but my God Jehovah also heard my screams and at that very second, what do you think happened? There were Merv and the four horsemen from the little town of Washington. If Merv had been two minutes later, it would have been too late. The bear was making roaring sounds and walking toward me.

Merv chased away the bear, picked me up like a baby in his arms and carried me to the four-wheel quad. Then a trip to eternity, back over the 27 4-foot-deep water bars.

Of course, Merv did not have the documents that qualify him, but the Forest Service truck, the fire truck and the ambulance all had the documents, but could not climb a 4-foot water ditch.

After the trip to eternity, Merv put me on a helicopter, which was waiting about two miles away. The helicopter delivered me to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and then to Sacramento by ambulance. There I was operated on for my heart attack.

It was the longest day of my life, but thanks to Merv, who organized the four horsemen from the Little Town of Washington, I made it. Merv is the most qualified for fire chief in Washington.


Carl (Chick) Cicogni lives at Cedar Ridge.

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