North Bay fire departments adding extra staff thanks to grant

NAPA, Calif.

Dry grass is all the fuel a fire needs to rage out of control. This means, Santa Rosa residents are celebrating that their fire stations are now fully staffed. Two firehouses have even re-opened full time.

Firehouse 11 also opened up in time to help save the life of a fifty year old man this week.

"Was not breathing and does not a have a heart rate. They were able to deliver that patient to the hospital with pulses and breathing on his own, so, and that station was due to be browned out," said Santa Rosa Fire Department Deputy Chief Tony Gossner.

Firehouse 10 on Corporate Center Parkway and firehouse 11 on Lewis Road have been browned out since 2009.

An open house is being held so residents can see that things are back to normal. The two fire houses were victims of the bad economy in 2007 and 2008.

Nearby homeowner Amy Kerr is glad she now has a full-time fully staffed fire station.

"We live just up the road and we have almost an acre and it's getting hot. You know, with little ones you get nervous so it's nice to know that we have local firefighters. More of them here," she said.

Gossner says the department worked out a plan to keep the area covered.

"When [Station 11] was browned out, Station 10 was open and when Station 10 was browned out, station 11 was open. So it was a shared sacrifice," he said.

That sacrifice was ended by a $3.1 million Federal Emergency Management Agency grant that allowed the city to open the stations full time. It also allowed the department to hire 14 new firefighters.

That FEMA grant is only for two years. Santa Rosa firefighters say the city will come up with the funds by then to make the changes permanent.

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