(BCN) — The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District on Monday hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially reopen its Station 4 in Walnut Creek. The station, at 700 Hawthorne Drive, has been closed for nine years, due to recession cutbacks.

It will once again serve the southern portions of unincorporated Walnut Creek and surrounding areas.

Con Fire said in a statement the station’s “operational status is expected to reduce response times in its service area, reducing the need for responses to fire, medical and other emergencies from other nearby stations.”

It’s been a big year for Con Fire. The district finalized its long-awaited merger with the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District in July, bringing 128,000 residents of East Contra Costa under the purview of the larger district, now serving 753,000 residents.

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Expected to improve and streamline service, the merger expanded the district from 304 to 553 square miles. The district also opened new Fire Station 95 in Oakley on June 1 and completed new station 86 in Bay Point. Planning for two new stations in Brentwood is also underway, with the district shooting for opening both in 2024.

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