CLAYTON -- Fire Station 11 could be restored to full service, depending where the Contra Costa Fire Protection District decides to spend a $9.571 million federal grant for fire protection personnel.

Terry Stewart, fire district battalion chief, told the Clayton City Council that the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors will administer a two-year Federal Emergency Management Agency grant funded through the Department of Homeland Security.

It could bridge the funding gap until the 2016 elections, according to Councilman Jim Diaz, who said he told supervisors, "Don't forget that Clayton's hours should be restored."

The council directed the staff to prepare a letter for the mayor to sign, confirming that to the board.

Supervisors officially accepted the SAFER Grant (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) on March 11. It will provide for 27 full-time positions available from mid-May 2014 until mid-May 2016, according to fire district Assistant Chief Lewis Broschard.

The fire district may not have 27 new firefighters by mid-May, as some could still be in training, according to Broschard. The trainees are expected to be on duty by July.

"Where they will be assigned is yet to be determined," he said.

Clayton's Fire Station 11 was closed last fall because of budget constraints and subsequently restaffed at various times during the week, according to Vice Mayor David Shuey.

Shuey and Diaz are Clayton council liaisons for a 30-plus member ad hoc subcommittee established to help restore full fire protection service to the city. Firefighters now must come from Concord Stations 22 and 8, if the Clayton station is not staffed at the time of a fire.

"The response times matter. It's life and death," Shuey said. "(Clayton) donated the land for the fire station to the fire district, and helped build that station.

"We could have kept that land for other uses, to have a more vibrant downtown, but decided it was more important to have a fire station," Shuey said after the meeting.

The fire district is expected to come up with new personnel assignments by the beginning of April, Broschard said.

Contact Dana Guzzetti about Clayton news at dguzzetti@gmail.com or call 915-202-9292.

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