The first of June is a great time to open a new fire station in California.
The consolidating Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (Con Fire) and East Contra Costa County Fire Protection District officially opened Fire Station 55 in Oakley on Wednesday. The two districts haven’t officially joined forces yet, though the station will be home to a combined crew of both districts, which announced the consolidation in September.
The merger becomes official July 1.
The move will bring 128,000 residents of East Contra Costa under the purview of the larger district and is expected to improve and streamline service.
Con Fire said in a statement, “The staffing of the previously unopened Fire Station 55 is a result of pre-annexation collaboration between the two fire districts and comes at a time of extremely high fire danger across eastern Contra Costa County, and the entire region.”
The new station is located in the Summer Lake neighborhood at the developing, far eastern edge of Oakley between Bethel Island and Knightsen. Residents there have been especially concerned about fire protection in recent years following close calls with major wildfires.
A windswept blaze that occurred on Oct. 27, 2019 — the same day as the devastating Kincade Fire — burned 25 acres and prompted evacuation orders that led to chaos when residents jammed rural backroads in an effort to flee.
The nearest fire station at the time was located in downtown Oakley; East Contra Costa Fire stations once located in Bethel Island and Knightesn, which would have been closer to the scene, had both previously been closed due to budget cuts.