Fire Station 74 in Pinole could reopen as soon as March 1, 2023, according to a plan that would also have Con Fire taking over fire services in the city.
This week, both the Pinole City Council and Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, which also serves as the governing board for the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (Con Fire), unanimously approved the proposal that would dissolve the Pinole Fire Department and have Con Fire operating both Station 73 (currently open) and Station 74. The plan now heads to Contra Costa LAFCO for final approval.
“This means medical and fire response will be faster in West County!,” Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia posted on Facebook in the wake of this week’s approvals.
Pinole has operated just one fire station — Station 73 — for most of the city’s history, only briefly operating Station 74 from 2003 until 2011. Since the closure of Station 74 due to the recession, the city has explored ways to reopen the station or otherwise expand fire protection and emergency medical services.
The proposal to reopen Station 74 and have Con Fire become the city’s fire service agency is anticipated to cost roughly $7.5 million per year on average over the first seven years. Of that amount, $2 million will come annually from County Measure X funds currently appropriated to the Pinole Fire Department.
Proponents of the plan in principle — which include the City’s Fire Chief, the County Executive Fire Chiefs, and the labor group representing Con Fire’s and Pinole Fire Department’s firefighters (IAFF Local 1230) — say the benefits will be measurable.
ConFire reported on Facebook that the new arrangement “will near overnight” improve fire and EMS services in Pinole. In addition to faster response times, a larger agency like Con Fire would enhance the city’s resources and provide services at a lower cost because it “achieves economies of scale and scope,” according to a city report.