Weekend backlog impacted by a recent fire station closure, Alameda County Fire says

ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- On Sunday, Alameda County Fire responded to 302 calls in relation to the high wind event.

141 of those calls came in from Union City residents, where a fire station was recently closed.

"There are only 4 stations in this area (Union City) but one is closed. So, three stations ran that many calls," said Local 55's union member and firefighter, Mike Augustin.

RELATED: Firefighters warn of spiking response times after closure of East Bay fire station in Union City

During the high wind advisory, Battalion Chief Pappas was helping residents evacuate their homes after nine powerlines fell on Heyer Avenue in Castro Valley.

"Up to 20 calls that were backlogged. Had engine 30 been in service they would have been able to handle those calls that we were not able to respond to," said Pappas.

On January 15th, Union City closed fire Station 30 for good. Union City's Mayor, Carol Dutra-Vernaci said the station was handling on average 1.7 calls a day and costing the city $3.2 million dollars a year.

"85% of the calls are for medical response, not fire. What we are doing is looking at different service delivery models, so we can ultimately use that station for something that will help us with medical emergency calls," said Mayor Dutra-Vernaci.

After Sunday's high wind event, and the impact it had on Union City's firefighters' response time, we asked Mayor Dutra-Vernaci if she would rethink the closure of Station 30.

"That station is underutilized," said Dutra-Vernaci and added, "No, it did not make me rethink the opening of that station at all."

RELATED: Closure of East Bay fire station raises safety concerns, Union City stands by data-driven decision

According to Alameda County Fire's union, many are concerned about a bigger emergency.

"The concern would be during a fire event. If the wind blew like it did yesterday in the fall those downed wires would've hit dry grass and the brush would've caused a fire. In that case, we wouldn't have a fast turnaround on scene," said Augustin.

Alameda County Fire confirmed that all the firefighters that worked at Station 30 have been reassigned to other fire stations around the area.
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