UNION CITY (KRON) – Shuttered and slated to eventually re-open in a new capacity.
On Wednesday, Union City closed Alameda County Fire Station 30 after the City Council unanimously voted to close what they consider to be an underutilized facility.
Just past 8 a.m. Alameda County firefighters housed at Station 30 in Union City moved out.
The trucks, engines and all staff will remain with the department but serve elsewhere in the county.
“It’s sad, I think everybody’s sad about that,” Paula Rygh said.
The Union City City Council voted unanimously in October to close the facility in response to an independent study concluding the fire station wasn’t busy enough to stay open.
Though that’s after city staff held more than 30 community meetings in the year leading up to the closure where neighbors voiced concerns.
“I feel less safe. Yeah, keep this here is better,” another neighbor said.
The city says this fire station just wasn’t being used enough.
On average, firefighters were responding to less than two calls per day at an operational cost of $3.2-million a year.
“Union City has three other fire stations strategically located throughout town, and the data that we based the decision to close this underutilized station on, shows us that those three stations have two to three times more calls for service on a daily basis,” Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci said.
Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci says there are plans to turn the now-vacant building into an ambulatory hub since most calls at Station 30 were for medical emergencies.
“Currently, ambulances just rove and don’t have a fixed location,” Dutra-Vernaci said.
Still, firefighters are concerned response times may be slower with Station 30 gone.
“You could imagine what it’s like when you’re waiting for help. In a situation, where a mother is with a child who may be choking,” Mike Augustin said.
Some neighbors, however, are ok with the closure.
The city runs at a yearly budget deficit of $3.2-million.
Shuttering the station will help the city essentially break even at the end of the fiscal year.
“There is another fire station nearby, right, so I think that will be sufficient,” Dao Le said.
In fact, there’s a fire station within two miles from every point of the city.
The city is also asking voters to approve the renewal of an expiring public safety parcel tax.
Adding though, that those funds would not be used to reopen Station 30.
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