Station 11 is back in action

15 01 16 Station 11 front page_for websiteCCCFPD Station 11 in Clayton has been virtually closed down for two years, one of  seven stations closed across the county, caualties of massive budget cuts following the 2008 recession. A federal grant and an improving economy will bring full staff back to Station 11 beginning 16; the only one of the seven to reopen.

Clayton residents have good reason to get fired up — but in a good way.

When they wake up the morning of Jan. 16, they can be comfortable knowing that fire safety is back to normal, thanks to the reopening, full-time, of local Station 11.

Following the graduation of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection  District’s Academy 47 on Thursday, Jan. 15, the local firehouse — which has been down to minimal use for the past two years — was again fully staffed with three full-time firefighters, 24/7, said Battalion Chief Lon Goetsch.

“It’s wonderful news,” Goetsch said. “It’s very welcome.”

Station 11 was closed in early 2013, following the defeat of a bond measure the prior November that would have helped fund the financially strapped fire protection district. The recession and a steep decline in property taxes fueled the district’s money woes.

The resulting budget cuts required shuttering seven fire stations across the county, including the only one in Clayton. It was not totally abandoned, however, as firefighters from Concord’s Station 22 in Crystyl Ranch staffed the station from 2 to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

But thanks to an improving economy and a federal SAFER grant, Station 11 will be the first and only one of the closed station to reopen to full capacity, providing not only quicker response time for fires, but also for medical emergencies, which make up the bulk of the calls.

Besides a cross-trained paramedic, Station 11 will also be equipped with a wild-land engine, which will allow it to respond to emergencies on the trails on and around Mt. Diablo, Goetsch said.

The reopening of the station full-time is a victory for many local leaders, who tirelessly lobbied the fire district and the Board of Supervisors to bring Clayton’s staffing levels back up. Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, who fought for the bond measure and worked to keep staffing levels as strong as possible during the past two years, was thrilled with the decision to reopen Station 11.

“Reopening Fire Station 11 has been my highest priority during the recent recessionary times, and I look forward to joining the community to welcome it back at the celebration later this month,” the supervisor said.

Celebration on Jan. 31

Indeed, the city of Clayton is welcoming back it’s fire station with open arms. A celebration and open house is planned for Jan. 31.

“Things are happening fast,” said Clayton City Councilman Jim Diaz, who like Mitchoff has lobbied hard for the station’s reopening. “We couldn’t be happier.”

The celebration, which will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. that Saturday, is being sponsored by the Clayton Business and Community Association, Republic Services and the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 1230.

The event will kick off with the fire district and local scouts Honor Guards raising the flag, followed by short remarks from local elected and other officials, followed by the open house and a barbecue. There will also be information on fire safety, bicycle safety, child fingerprinting, first aid/CPR, and information about Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT).

The event is open “to family and friends,” says Diaz, “basically anyone who wants to celebrate the reopening.”

He is quick to congratulate others in the community who helped lobby the fire district and the Board of Supervisors, write letters of support, and provide other efforts to reopen the station, including the Ad Hoc Fire Services Committee made up of Candace Bass, Steve Chandler, Gary Hood, George Somoff and Herb Yonge.

Station #11 is located at the corner of Clayton Road and Center Street in Clayton. Center Street immediately in front of the fire station will be closed to vehicular traffic during the event.