Lafayette fire station opening delayed again; Contra Costa Co. leaders say 'enough is enough'

LAFAYETTE, Calif. (KGO) -- Contra Costa County Supervisor Candace Andersen has seen enough of an unfinished fire station in Lafayette, one that was supposed to open last year.

Andersen says there have been several construction issues, but a dispute with PG&E over the placement of a meter has caused much of the delay.

"It is extremely frustrating to me," said Andersen. "We got into a back and forth argument about whether the meter reader should be placed outside rather than inside, and it should not have required me as a County Supervisor getting involved, bringing in PG & E's legal counsel saying 'Enough is enough, we need to move forward with this fire station.'"



Station 16 has actually been closed for six years, since 2013, when it was the victim of various structural issues and budget cuts at the time.

But in recent years, the decision was made to re-open and re-staff the station in Lafayette's Happy Valley neighborhood--long designated as a high fire danger zone.

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Deputy Fire Chief Aaron McAlister showed us around the new station. PG&E's shiny new meter has finally been installed inside the engine bay, but so far, the transformer needed to power it is absent, outside.

"This neighborhood along with several others in Contra Costa County has a profile similar to those that we saw in Napa and Sonoma County and that's one of the reasons we're re-occupying this station," explained McCalister.

PG & E sent ABC7 News a statement, addressing its role in Station 16's delayed opening.

"The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is PG&E's most important responsibility. We've been working closely with the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District to ensure Fire House 16 meets our safety standards. We apologize for any delays this may have caused. We're pleased to report that both organizations are aligned and once the transformer is replaced, PG&E's portion of the job will be complete. We work with first responders every day and will continue to collaborate to keep the Lafayette safe," wrote PG&E Spokesperson Tamar Sarkissian.

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Neighbor Charlie Graham says he's not panicked, but is looking forward to the station's opening.

"We're excited to hopefully have this thing open in time for this year's fire season," said Graham, "So if there is a fire we can address it really quickly, instead of having it spread."
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