VIDEO: Contra Costa County Fire Station No. 94 to close its doors in July

 

KNIGHTSEN (KRON) — A fire station in East Contra Costa County is closing its doors for good.

Fire Station No. 94 in Knightsen is part of a district that covers almost 250 square miles and about 100,000 people.

This is the third time the fire protection district has shut it down. And this time is the final time.

For just a few more months, fire trucks will head out to calls from Station No. 94.

“The reason we are in this situation we are in today is from lack of retention,” Fire Chief Bill Helmick said.

Helmick tells KRON4 that in the past five years, the station in Knightsen has shut down two other times.

Temporary solutions reopened it. But those are not sustainable anymore.

The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District does not have enough funding to afford it. Plus, high turnover, no job security, and low pay have scared firefighters away.

“The pay and benefits for our employees are about 30-40 percent less than stations in the greater Bay Area,” Helmick said.

All of the fire equipment will go to other stations. And firefighters will get jobs at other stations either in Brentwood, Oakley, or Discovery Bay.

To serve the number of people here, nine fire stations are recommended.

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But now, with three stations doing all the work, response times will without question, according to the chief, increase.

“Response times will go up anywhere depending on where the location is from 2 to 7 to 10 minutes depending upon the area wherever it is at,” Helmick said.

The station built in 1960 will shut down on July 1.

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