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Con Fire officially merges with East Contra Costa Fire Protection District

Con Fire merges with East Contra Costa Fire Protection District
Con Fire merges with East Contra Costa Fire Protection District 02:27

CONCORD -- The much-anticipated consolidation of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (Con Fire) and the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District became official Friday.

The move brings 128,000 residents of East Contra Costa under the purview of the larger district and is expected to improve and streamline service. The district now serves 753,000 county residents.

A ceremony marking the transfer of command took place at Brentwood City Park. The event, attended by department leaders, elected officials and residents featured displays of some of Con Fire's specialized equipment and crews.

"I literally lost sleep for five years because I know we're on borrowed time," Contra Costa County Fire Chief Lewis Broschard said at Friday's ceremony.

"The service level increases once and for all. We are going to be corrected in East Contra Costa fire. No more rollercoasters, no more unknowns," Brouschard went on to say.

Con Fire now includes the entirety of the former ECCFPD service area, expanding geographically from 304 to 553 square miles, a 45 percent increase.

District officials said the merger will improve fire and emergency medical services, including additional crews and newly opened stations, which will serve to reduce response times. For the first time, residents of East County communities are now served by fire crews delivering advanced life support capabilities.

The change is particularly welcome in communities such as Oakley, who have had to rely on outlying fire stations and have dealt with response times that could stretch 20 minutes.

New Fire Station 95, staffed by Con Fire, opened in Oakley June 1, a month ahead of annexation

Oakley resident Rick Taylor lives about a mile and a half from the new station. "We've had fires in the back, behind me, before...and they responded but it was kind of scary," Taylor told KPIX 5.

"Couple of years ago, we were all evacuated three or four in the morning because of a huge fire that was right behind us here, so they had to bring all the resources in," said Nancy Huffaker, another Oakley resident.

Before summer is over, the district plans to reopen recession-shuttered Fire Station 4 in Walnut Creek and the new replacement Fire Station 86 in Bay Point. Planning for construction of two additional fire stations in the city of Brentwood is currently underway, with completion date estimates some time in 2024.

Juliette Goodrich contributed reporting.

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