This brand new multimillion dollar Bay Area fire station is empty

Although ready for use, Oakley’s shiny new fire station, built at the cost of several million dollars, is bereft of firefighters.

The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District and city of Oakley are currently feuding over the empty station, according to a report from KPIX. The fire protection district says it doesn’t have the funds to staff Station 55 because the city hasn’t been properly collecting the full tax amount they were promised from commercial and residential real estate developments.

Almost 100% of the agency’s funding comes from property taxes collected by the county.

“Due to historic under-funding of our local fire service — East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD) — the level of fire risk for East County residents, businesses, firefighters, and communities of Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Bethel Island, Byron, [Knightsen], Marsh Creek, Morgan Territory, and surrounding rural communities, has risen to a severe level,” the protection district wrote on its website.

According to the ECCFPD, there are currently only three open fire stations and nine firefighters on duty at a time for an area encompassing 250 square miles and 128,000 residents. The agency sent a letter to the Oakley City Council on Friday, demanding a stop to new construction until the dispute is sorted out.

“This situation is unsafe, putting both firefighters and East County communities at serious and growing risk,” ECCFPD wrote on their website.

Oakley Vice Mayor Sue Higgins told KPIX that the city isn’t reneging on its funding obligations. The Oakley City Council is set to discuss the ECCFPD’s funding woes in a closed session this week.

“While we’ve been friendly on one side, they apparently have them shorting the district on the other side,” ECCFPD board member Joe Young alleged to KPIX.

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