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For Grover, Closing Station 12 Is Personal

The lifelong resident of the Mountain View neighborhood says the fire station, which officially closes Tuesday, has been a part of the area for a century.

The closing of Fire Station 12 Tuesday morning is more than just an inconvenience to some people in the Mountain View neighborhood of Martinez. It’s very personal.

“This is an immensely sad event for Mountain View residents,” said Cheryl Grover, a lifelong resident of the area. “We’re losing a fire station that’s been operating for 100 years.”

The first Mountain View fire station was built in 1912 on Peach Street, Grover said. It served as a volunteer fire house and a community meeting spot. Then, as time went on, it moved to its present location. It was taken over by the county in 1966.

As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, it’s shuttered. But if Grover has her way, it’s a temporary state of affairs.

“I don’t think this is a dead issue,” she said. “I think this is where we begin talking. I think the (Fire Chief Daryl Louder) should put together a committee with our neighborhood so we can find out if a special district is feasible.”

Grover referred to an idea by city Councilman Mark Ross to consider a special benefit district in the area, where a parcel tax would fund the ongoing operations of Station 12. It and two other stations in Lafayette and Walnut Creek are being closed Tuesday, and a Clayton station shifted to operate half-time, to make up $3 million of a $17 million budget deficit Louder said was caused by falling property tax revenues spurred by the 2008 recession. Louder has warned that, absent other ideas, more stations will probably close next year.

But Grover said closing Station 12 is a mistake for many reasons, not the least of which is its proximity to the Shell Refinery.

“Shell is a terrorist opportunity,” she said. “We should be able to use Homeland Security funds.”

The other issue is more personal.

“My dad had a heart attack five years ago,” she said. “We’re just waiting for the next one. Ninety percent of people who have heart attacks have a second one. Having a nearby station with defibrillator is essential to our community.”

The other reason is historical. Mountain View consists of older homes built close together. That can lead to disaster when there is a fire.

“My parents’ home burned down because the house next door caught fire,” she said. She noted that the Brock home, also known as the Christmas House, burned down earlier this year.

The Mountain View neighborhood, which extends from Bush Street to Howe Road, and from Palm Avenue to Monterey Avenue, is an unincorporated area served by the county, but linked closely with the city. It is a close community—neighbors tend to know and watch out for each other. And Grover said that Station 12 is very much a part of the neighborhood. The next move, she said, is the county’s.

“We need to hear from them,” she said. “They need to assure us that this closure is not a permanent thing. Our lives are at stake.”

Donna Allen January 15, 2013 at 04:02 PM
And the Pacheco South corridor will certainly be ripe for more development and completion of housing started. We certainly don't want to stifle any growth just because we don't have adequate services. I wonder... In all of the the studies done what has been reported on what it takes to re-open the station? If you take the development potential ( and resulting property taxes) and project the number of calls where does that put station 12 in the district-wide numbers. Is there a "fire station 12 development fee" we need to consider for the Pacheco corridor? What is it? Can station 12 be reopened with fewer trucks and employees? Who is looking at solutions other than closure?
emmmaay January 15, 2013 at 07:24 PM
As neighbors we are very sad this is happening. We have always felt just a little more safe having them so close. I would also be interested in finding out the answers to the comment questions above... Best of luck to all those affected and hopefully we can be neighbors again soon...
Larry Delgado January 15, 2013 at 08:52 PM
This still begs the question as to why tax payers in area 12 were affected while other stations in East county were not? Federal Glover, any answers?
Cheryll January 15, 2013 at 09:14 PM
Excellent questions and comments Donna! Supervisor Mary Peipho (as the Board "President" of ConFire (I guess is how it works) animately told the two agencies that have responsibility with these closures (LAFCO & the Fire Advisory Committee) to "work together" and really come up with something. I am dissapponted about that because 1. These folks have literally had years to come up with something, 2. Have little or no connection to the grass roots communities affected-or we would have been involved before this 3. The Adisory member representing our area only made it to 4 out of the 6 meetings they even had last year 5. One meeting every other month is NEVER going to push this game down the road with solutions. Your comments and questions should be part of a NEW Adisory body that does all of that and connects with the actual communities BEFORE the Board of Sups gets recommendations for closures. I keep hoping that the County will sanction and set to start such an Advisory body. Maybe a different body for each City to keep the arguing down and the input up!
Cheryll January 15, 2013 at 09:16 PM
Dear E: I hope you will lend your name to supporters or even participants gong forward. It may be up to us to open this station again. Anyone wishing to help or be informed by such a coalition please contact me at cheryll_grover@yahoo.com.
Cheryll January 18, 2013 at 01:10 AM
A good question. Time will tell..

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