Three fire stations in rural eastern Contra Costa County will reopen, thanks to a $7.8 million grant from the federal government, but officials warned that a long-term solution is still needed.
Five fire stations in the East Contra Costa Fire District shut down since 2010, with three closing since June after a parcel tax failed, according to the Contra Costa Times. The parcel tax would have allowed some stations to stay open.
"Approval (of the grant) will save lives," said Bretwood resident Gene Clare, who, according to the newspaper, was saved after a 2008 fall from his roof by firefighters from one of the stations now closed.
The grant will allow the district to reopen its Bethel Island, Knightsen and Brentwood stations, according to the newspaper.
The first station to reopen will be either in Knightsen or Brentwood, officials said, and the 27 firefighters required to run the station will be "phased in nine at a time," according to the newspaper.
The problem is that the grant expires in two years -- and the grant is revoked unless 54 total firefighting positions can be maintained, even as pension and health benefit costs rise, the newspaper reported.