Public, Politicians Help Welcome Firefighters Back to Station #11 in Downtown Clayton

January 31, 2015 19:43 pm · 10 comments

Clayton Councilmembers, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier and several dozen Claycordians helped welcome firefighters back to station #11 in Downtown Clayton on Saturday.

Shuttered for several years while the county weathered the storms of the Great Recession, Clayton fire station #11 has reopened due in part to a $9.6 million federal grant.

Fire Marshal Robert Marshall said the station closed in 2013 as a result of ongoing budget difficulties.

“When the recession hit and property values went down, it was a direct hit to our budget,” Marshall said, adding the fire district is funded by property taxes.

The fire district tightened its belt, reducing the number of stations within the district from 30 to 23. No one was fired, but Marshall said many firefighters “retired out.”

As the economy improved, Marshall said the district was able to increase its staffing levels. In June 2014, the district began hiring more firefighters and Marshall said they plan to add a total of 41 firefighters to
the district, including many who are in the academy now.

Although the improving economy is one significant factor, Marshall said the new hires would have come on a lot more slowly if it weren’t for the help of a federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant, valued at $9.6 million.

“We’re excited about it,” Marshall said. “It’s one of those things where you take those hits when they come and when you go from 30 companies to 23, you think all that’s really happening is you’re losing people.”

With the Clayton station reopening, the district will now have 24 stations operating, which means quicker access to medical emergencies and to fires before they begin to spread.

“Particularly when you get out to that area of the district, our response times will drop,” Marshall said. “So, now we’ll get there sooner and that’s a benefit to everybody.”

Today’s event featured an open house and BBQ for the community.

photo credit: Jenny Wood Pierce

thx4youropinion January 31, 2015 at 7:50 PM

Wish I could have been there — it was work day for me …

Welcome back, firefighters! : )

firefighters daughter January 31, 2015 at 8:50 PM

Couldn’t make it either, but drove by late in the afternoon and saw everyone out there. SO SO happy you’re back, #11!!!

anon January 31, 2015 at 9:21 PM

Station will be needed with another dry year coming.

Mark February 1, 2015 at 5:32 AM

Welcome back buddies.

Tomatillo February 1, 2015 at 6:51 AM

It’s comforting to know that Medical help is less than 5 minutes away as opposed to 10-15 minutes. Welcome back !!

Resident February 1, 2015 at 7:41 AM

It’s nice that it’s reopened. But its a little sickening seeing politicians acting magnanimous about it.

... February 1, 2015 at 8:04 AM

@#6……especially when you know they had nothing to do with reopening it.

Always looking for a photo op.

Always Right February 1, 2015 at 10:17 AM

Bet in a couple of years they will threaten to shut it down again if we don’t pass another bond measure to protect their absurdly high pensions and salaries.

Lazy K February 1, 2015 at 12:03 PM

If salaries and pensions are still too high then why are they reopening a station?
I am also surprised that the politicians, whom lost their raises, would take the time to pretend that they care.

What would be a fair salary for the firefighters?
Benifets?

Retirement now is 2.7 @ 57

I fear that the longer a firefighter or police officer works that we will see an increase in injuries and worker comp claims.
What is fair for the job(s)?

Always Right February 1, 2015 at 1:20 PM

@lazy K – only new firefighters have the lower, but still excessively high, pension formula you mentioned. 95%+ are still getting 3% @ age 50.

The most efficient and cost effective way to provide fire services and protect the public would be to:

1) stop sending trucks to medical responses. We have ambulance services for that which almost always beat the fire trucks.
2) move firefighting into the local police budget and make them work police hours. Stop paying them to sleep.
3) convert fire stations to neighborhood police offices.

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