The following letter was sent to the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District from the Town of Discovery Bay urging the District to keep Station 59 open while being included in future discussion on fire service solutions.
The letter, addressed to Board President Joel Bryant, discusses concerns the Town of Discovery Bay has with a potential Station 59 closure if the Board were to re-open the Downtown Brentwood Station (54) to focus on call volume areas and response times.
The letter also requests that the Town of Discovery Bay be included in future discussions as currently, the task force created only includes the City of Brentwood, City of Oakley, Board of Supervisor representatives and fire district stakeholders–the Town of Discovery Bay has not been included.
Here is the text of the letter provided by Town Manager Rick Howard.
Dear President Bryant:
On behalf of the Town of Discovery Bay Board of Directors, it is our strong opinion that the potential
closure of Discovery Bay’s only fire station, fire station #59, is not the answer to East Contra Costa
County Fire Protection District’s (“Fire District”) limited resources. This action would put the entire eastern
portion of the Fire District at grave risk.
The Fire District Board couches its action of focusing its fire protection services in the western region of
the District because the majority of the call volume emanates from that region. However, call volume is
the consequence of eighty-five percent (85%) of the district’s population living in the western portion of
the Fire District. Further, the eighty-five percent (85%) of residents that live in the western region also
receive the added benefit of the mutual aid of the Contra Costa County Fire Department being dispatched
out of Pittsburg and Antioch. Both of these cities are in geographically proximity to the majority of the Fire
District’s population, and in emergency situations are dispatched to assist the Fire District. The remaining
fifteen percent (15%) of the District’s residents, or more than 15,000 lives in the eastern region of the Fire
District will be left without the benefit of efficient response times for critical lifesaving medical response or
presence of District fire protection resources.
Recently, the Contra Costa County Fire chief went on record expressing his dismay with the Fire District’s
decision to downsize its operation to three stations. Citing the excessive amount of resources being sent
to the Fire District compared to the amount of resources received from the Fire District, the Contra Costa
County Fire chief explained that the District may not continue to receive such a response from the County
Fire Department. This is devastating to the more than 15,000 eastern region residents of the District, in
that not only will our own Fire District not be able to respond with sufficient resources, but the residents
are geographically barred from receiving mutual aid.
The closure of the Discovery Bay Fire Station #59 will result in substantial greater response times to the
residents in the eastern region of the District. However, these numbers hide a troubling truth. Response
time statistics reflect only the time it takes the first engine company to get to the scene, not how much
time it takes for all vehicles actually needed to address and reach the emergency. If the District is
focusing its fire protection efforts on the western region of the District, the eastern region is vulnerable to
excessive and unnecessary fire hazards due to the inability of the District to respond effectively to a fire
safety emergency. Fire emergencies are only part of the equation as medical responses and critical
lifesaving calls make up a majority of the emergency calls. With station #59 closed response times will
triple and the ability to respond to a critical lifesaving emergency will be impaired and unnecessarily risk
While fire hazards also place lives at risk, increased fire hazard is an actuarial nightmare and will place
further pressure on the financial resources of the community. Insurance companies would see the
distance between Discovery Bay and the next closest station (downtown Brentwood) as being outside of
the fire service area, causing rates to skyrocket. Closing station #59 would not only be reckless, it would
be financially devastating to the residents of Discovery Bay. A decision to close a station would only and
unproportionally impact residents in the eastern part of the District.
Centralizing the District’s fire protection and medical response efforts in its western region does not make
strategic sense. Currently, our area of the District is strained to provide the level of service expected by its
residents. By placing all of the District’s resources in its western region, the District is not geographically
positioned to defend the residents of its eastern region. The ire of California’s drought has exacerbated
this danger. Further, with the Contra Costa County Fire Department threatening to discontinue its level of
mutual aid, the eastern region is left to rely solely on District resources. By allowing the Discovery Bay fire
station #59 to remain in service, the District maintains a strategic position to defend the entire District, not
just the residents in the District’s western region.
It is disappointing that the most recent assessment ballot did not pass. The low voter turnout and negative
response is a clear indication of the public’s distrust of local government. Fire departments have the
unique opportunity to engage the community and encourage partnerships, coalitions, and positive
relationships. The District needs help to be successful, and people need reassurance that the Fire District
has their best interest in mind. Discovery Bay remains willing to assist in these decisions.
We respectfully request the District to take our concerns under submission in making its decision to
efficiently and effectively utilize its resources to provide residents with fire and medical protection
services. Discovery Bay remains supportive of the assessment and would like to see the status quo
maintained. The Discovery Bay Board respectfully requests that it be included in further discussions
regarding this matter and requests to be notified prior to any decision that would significantly impact it
residents and assets. A decision made with the entire District’s best interest is a decision that will reap
future rewards. Leaving Discovery Bay’s fire station #59 open is the right decision.
Town of Discovery Bay
Cc: Honorable Supervisor John Gioia, Board of Supervisors, District I
Honorable Supervisor Candace Andersen, Board of Supervisors, District II
Honorable Supervisor Mary N. Piepho, Board of Supervisors, District III
Honorable Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, Board of Supervisors, District IV
Honorable Supervisor Federal D. Glover, Board of Supervisors, District V
Honorable Jim Frazier, Assemblymember 11th Assembly District
Honorable Steve Glazer, State Senator, 7 h Senate District
Lou Ann Texeira, Executive Director, Contra Costa LAFCO
Honorable Mayor Bob Taylor, City of Brentwood
Honorable Mayor Doug Hardcastle, City of Oakley
Gus Vina, City Manager, City of Brentwood
Bryan Montgomery, City Manager, City of Oakley
Hugh Henderson, Chief, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District
1800 Willow Lake Road •Discovery Bay •CA •94505