MORAGA -- More than a month after the Contra Costa Fire Protection District shut down Station 16 in Lafayette because of a rodent infestation and mold, officials from the neighboring Moraga-Orinda Fire District are keeping an eye on how their service will be impacted.
Initial information suggests MOFD firefighters have already had more calls into Lafayette since the Los Arabis Drive station closure.
MOFD Trustees met Wednesday to discuss what effects the temporary shutdown of Station 16 is having on both ConFire and the Moraga-Orinda Fire District, who participate in an automatic aid agreement. Under that agreement, the closest resource from either agency responds to an incident.
According to a staff report, the Moraga-Orinda Fire District has seen responses into Lafayette creep up 13 percent since Station 16 closed, its crew moved to Station 15 on Mt. Diablo Boulevard. The majority of those calls were false alarms, along with emergency medical service and rescue calls, and one vegetation fire, officials explained.
"I don't know that each and every case was a result of engine 16 crew being at station 15, not at their first response area," said Rich Grace, ConFire assistant fire chief of support services. He said that crews sometimes are training or in different locations when calls come in.
Since the June closure, the Moraga-Orinda Fire District has also noticed a 16 percent decrease in ConFire responses compared to the
The changes in service aren't worrying officials -- at least not yet.
MOFD Operations Division Chief Stephen Healy said the district has been in talks with ConFire personnel, and that the impact to the Moraga-Orinda Fire District is currently minimal. He also said that ConFire and the much smaller MOFD have been good neighbors, and that the automatic aid agreement is mutually beneficial. "Presently, my recommendation is we continue to study the data," he said.
Trustees agreed, but seemed cautious about the future.
"I'm much more concerned about the long-term situation," said board President Fred Weil.
According to Grace, ConFire has resolved the rodent issue at Station 16 but is dealing with the fallout from the mold, which was discovered to be more extensive than originally thought. He said the district has decided not to invest any more money into the portable structure that serves as the station, and is looking at alternatives such as a construction trailer to get crews back on site until a more permanent fix is available.
One of those solutions could be replacing the double wide trailer serving as the station with a similar structure. Another is razing the original damaged station and building a new one. Any work would be funded by money reserved for capital expenses, Grace said.
As for the automatic aid agreement, officials don't see that changing, even if Station 16 were to stay shut indefinitely.
"We have automatic aid with all of our surrounding agencies. It's dispatched automatically," Grace said.
ConFire still has no date for when Station 16 may reopen.