Briones will no longer have a fire station

July 11, 2008 1:47:05 PM PDT
During the height of the fire season, a grassy and hilly section of Contra Costa County will have to do without a neighborhood fire station. It has homeowners concerned about the safety and questioning the reasons for the sudden change.

If a fire breaks out, the fire trucks won't be rolling out to help battle flames.

A month ago, the Contra County Fire Protection District stopped letting the station off Bear Creek Road respond to emergency calls.

That doesn't comfort neighbors like Bill Foley.

"And it can be the difference between ability to stop a structure fire with virtually no damage, versus losing the entire building," said Foley.

Late last month, he received a letter from Contra Costa County announcing that the fire district nearly two weeks earlier had suspended emergency dispatch from Station 19.

The firehouse is staffed by reserves or volunteers and the fire district says under state law the firefighters needed more training.

The letter goes on to say: "additional reserve firefighter program issues that must be addressed include inconsistent attendance at training classes and a declining response performance."

Al Humbert is one of the volunteer firefighters.

"That's a disgusting thing to say about us. Because we've never turned down any type of training, they won't give us training, they pulled the training, they schedule training and then the day of the training they call us up and they say 'gee we have to cancel that," said Humbert.

There are an estimated 100 homes in the area. The fire district says residents will still receive fire and medical responses for their emergencies.

The nearest fire station is in Pinole, about six miles and at least ten minutes away.

The residents say they will try to work things out with the Contra Costa County Fire District. In the meantime, they're concerned about everything from their insurance coverage to their safety.

ABC7 News tried several times yesterday and on Thursday to get a comment from the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

We were told that the appropriate officials were unavailable or on vacation.


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