Cesar Pla

Campus Fire Inspector

Cesar Pla is been a campus fire inspector for 5 years at UCR.

Natural and low-key. That’s how Cesar Pla describes his lifestyle beyond his job as UC Riverside’s campus fire inspector. But on the job, Pla’s experiences are far from natural and low-key. One example was an encounter with a bobcat that hopped over the fence of the Child Development Center.

“It was very scary because bobcats are really big and it could’ve hurt a child,” Pla said. “We looked for him and found him [in the north side of campus] … and then the police tranquilized him. That was exciting since it’s really unusual to see a bobcat in the city.”

Besides handling wild bobcats, Pla’s main role is to watch over the safety of the campus through tasks like fire inspections, fire alarm testing, and fire extinguisher training.

Pla has worked at UCR for five years with his fellow fire inspector, Xavier Martinez. But he’s had more than 15 years of experience in fire services, albeit in more corporate environments. “I came from Raytheon in El Segundo,”he said. Looking for a career challenge, he moved to UCR in 2008. It was a good move because of the campus diversity. And as a people person, the biggest perk of working at UCR is getting to interact with students. “I like working and mentoring and talking to young people. … I get a good feeling out of it because I know what it is like to be in [their] shoes,” Pla said.

Pla gets many opportunities to talk to UCR students because of another responsibility as fire inspector: He ensures that big events like Heat and Spring Splash are safe and comply with California fire codes. Although Pla is a regular at many UCR happenings (evident from his office walls, which are covered from top to bottom with posters, trinkets and souvenirs of past UCR events), Pla said his favorite is the bonfire before the Heat concert.

“[The bonfire deals with] my natural element,” Pla exclaimed. “Our role in the bonfire is for the overall safety because we actually light a fire on pallets and burn the rival team’s mascot.”

Ultimately, Pla is here to protect the best interest of the community and college for fire prevention. He said, “[The Environmental Health and Safety Department] will help in any way that we can.” — Bethanie Le

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-2645
E-mail: lille.bose@ucr.edu

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