East Contra Costa Fire Announces Closure of Knightsen Station on June 30

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On Monday, the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District announced that the Knightsen fire station, which was funded for a period of 1-year with the assistance of the cities of Brentwood and Oakley, along with the County, will close on June 30, 2017.

Fire Chief Brian Helmick explained that even with funding, they currently did not have the staffing to keep open a 4th station as they would need 36-firefighters.  As of Monday, they only had 32-firefighters.  In the next several months, the District is expected to lose up to 4 additional firefighters.

Here is the official statement from Chief Helmick:

Brentwood – At the May 1, 2017, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District’s Board of Directors Meeting (ECCFPD), the ECCFPD Board reaffirmed the closure of Station 94 in Knightsen on June 30, 2017. Since May of 2015, the Knightsen station has been operating on a temporary basis with joint funding provided through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Fire District, the County, and the cities of Brentwood and Oakley.

The current MOU provided temporary funding from May 1, 2015 through June 30, 2017. Both the cities of Brentwood and Oakley attempted to obtain permanent funding for additional fire stations through tax measures on the Novembers 2016 ballot. These measures failed.

A recent effort by the City of Brentwood, in conjunction with the County, the City of Oakley and the Fire District was unsuccessful in obtaining sufficient additional funding to retain staff and continue operation of the District’s 4th station. The Fire District sincerely extends its thanks on behalf of itself and the public to the agencies and their representatives who participated in this effort.

Knightsen Station re-opens on July 2, 2016

The closure of the station is driven primarily by the loss of staff in anticipation of the end of temporary funding. Currently the District has available only 32 of the 36 fire suppression personnel required to operate four stations. The available staff is expected to drop to 29 or 30 over the next few months. By June 30, 2017, the required staffing for four stations will be unsustainable and unsafe for firefighter personnel and ultimately the public.

The District looks forward to working with all stakeholders once the District has transitioned to a three station operation and has reassessed its current situation. Over the next 3-4 months District staff and the Board of Directors will begin an assessment of the District’s current funding and service levels with a focus on the District’s critical retention challenges.

Since 2012, the District has lost 31 firefighters and only 5 have been from retirement. The primary loss of firefighters is due to:

  • the lack of secured long term funding
  • the lack of job security for firefighters
  • District pay and benefits substantially lower than other Fire Departments throughout the Area.

On July 1, 2017, the District will transition to operating with 3 stations and will assign all remaining additional firefighters, as available, to the 3 remaining District stations located in Brentwood, Oakley and Discovery Bay. The District plans to retain the CALFIRE Amador contract to Staff the Sunshine Station outside of fire season. There are no layoffs planned and the District hopes to retain all remaining staff on a permanent basis.

Following the Board’s approval of the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 budget in September, the District plans to lead a new collaborative effort with the community, the County, the Cities of Brentwood and Oakley, and Local 1230.

The goal will be to fully explain the District’s situation and to receive input on the development of a District strategic plan to achieve the level of service and funding identified in the June 2016 CityGate “Deployment Performance and Headquarters Staffing Adequacy Study”.

On behalf of the ECCFPD, we thank the community, the cities of Brentwood and Oakley, and County officials for continuing to support the Fire District and its Members as we transition through these challenging times.  

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14 COMMENTS

  1. I just commented on a previous post of Stephen Smith, but Antioch better be prepared for loss of service because they will be helping supplement ECCFPD all because the fire board has no trust in the fire board. I think CONFIRE should really limit the amount of calls and time they spend out of district.

  2. The district is really sticking its neck out with liability after cancelling an agreement with Brentwood and offer from Oakley and the county. It appears the union may have gotten involved too.

    • @Irkle… Brentwood took no action on their MOU = Brentwood killed the MOU in favor of going back to the table with the County & Oakley.

    • Tax Payer, it’s a fact they are underpaid. Undisputed, unless your just a shill for the anti tax club known as CCTxpayers. You think 40-50k a year for a professional job, working over 50 hrs a week is overpaid? That’s funny. Not sure what world or era you live in. Volunteers ended a while back and last time I checked we live in the Bay Area where wages commonly are in the 6 figure range. Get over your dilutions and out of the dark ages.

  3. Taxpayer, According to the link you posted “firefighters” with the ECCFPD are making about 53k a year in salary. (Officers make more, as they should. Not much more, but just like any job promotion, the pay increases accordingly). In the case of ECCFPD all ranks are grossly underpaid.

    Knowing that they must mandatorily contribute 25 percent for their retirement (13,500) that leaves them with 40k of yearly earned income.

    Now divide that 40k by 12 months and you have $3,300 a month.

    Next divide that $3,333 by 224 (4 weeks at 56 hrs a week, yes they work 56hrs each week).

    This leaves them being paid about 14 bucks an hour….BEFORE taxes.

    This is what a burger flipper or potato peeler at In and Out Burger makes. Correct me if I am wrong. But you won’t find that on your little website because it is actually factual and transparent.

  4. Wow, fourteen an hour is less than the POCs 15 years ago. Where is all this districts money going. 56 hrs x $14 x 52 weeks is 40k a year including sleep time. This should be investigated because the district is reporting 200,000 annually for some of them. Who is yankin who BWood ? Let’s get back to the truth and the real issue of funding and leadership. For that reason you are out.

    • Spin Time, try as you might, you cannot dispute the facts. I guess you flunked out on math and common sense because POC stands for “Paid on Call, meaning they were not compensated unless they were called in. So no, they didn’t work anywhere near the hours (56/Wk) that the paid professional firefighters do.

      Regarding the “sleep time” remark; I guess you are expecting our firefighters to stay awake for 24 hrs straight? That would be pretty dumb, since they need to be well rested for the type of work that they perform. Also they are not guaranteed a night of sleep-often they are out running calls while you are home sleeping under the covers.

      Instead of yanking everyone’s chain with bad information perhaps you should contact H.R from any company and ask your questions there. They will be happy to tell you that benefits which go along with most jobs, make up at minimum the other half of the equation. Things like sick leave, vacation, overtime, medical, workers comp insurance, and retirement just to name a few. Based on your comment, you have no clue.

      The reality is our firefighters are paid about 1/2 as much as their counterparts in the Bay area. (go ahead and check my facts, because I am not going to do it for you). Those that can get out and work for another agency will jump at the chance. Ask the fire chief, it’s why we have a huge retention problem which has been widely reported, discussed at meetings and is costing the district handsomely.

      Show us how you can squeeze 10 dollars out of a 5 dollar bill and you will get my vote for the fire board. Otherwise, your options are about as worthless as you are. For the record….you were never “in”….But thanks for trying to be relevant.

  5. Tax payer: really are you kidding me? You just think because Firefighters serve they should serve you and be happy their paid at all. Having served in the Marine Corps and then Fire Paramedic to finish off my career days, I really take offense every time I hear a Tax Payer say something like that. Well guess what? Firefighters are Tax Payers too!

    Just for your info, Hobby Lobby no mater what state or where they are has a minimum wage of $15.50 an hour. So sad you feel Firefighters are over paid.

    Yes, time at night is in that, but do you stay away from your family for 24 hours so you can serve others?

  6. Why is it that everyone wants to use the full pay and benefits to try and say that’s how much you make in a year? When someone ask you how much you make, do you tally up all your benefits and add it to your salary to say how much you make? Last time I checked, I can’t pay a single bill with my benefits!

  7. Until Sacramento politicians get their heads out of their ass and grow a couple nothing will change. Plain and simple.

    • Until taxpayers and voters alike wake up to how our system works nothing with change. Between this blog and its facebook counterpart, it is the people (us) that have their heads in the sand. 99.999999 of the comments display a genuine lack of understanding in civics. We should start there and hope for an better educated public. Plain and simple.

  8. Am I to understand that all the time the cities of Oakley, Brentwood & the county were working hard to figure how to help fund & keep station 94 open, our fire district, ECCFPD knew they where understaffed, and going to close station 94?? The ECCFPD Board members should be ashamed of themselves, as well as the Chief, past & present. What the hell is going on?? Why close this station? Can’t you keep it open at least one shift per day? I don’t get it. All we citizens ask for is a Chevrolet, not a Cadillac. Let’s get real. Put all the political bs aside and fix this!!!!!!!!!

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