Calif. city to hire 6 FF-medics to fully staff station for 1st time in 12 years
The Victorville Fire Department's Station 315 was built in 2009 but never fully opened due to monetary issues, officials said
Daily Press, Victorville, Calif.
VICTORVILLE, Calif. — Victorville plans to reopen a fire station in the southwestern part of the city, a move that officials believe will improve response time for emergencies in the area.
The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the hiring of six firefighter-paramedics who will staff Victorville Fire Department's Station 315 on Eucalyptus Street near Sunset Ridge Park.
When the station opens later this year, it will mark the first time the facility has been used on a full-time basis since its construction in 2009.
That year, the city contracted its fire services to the San Bernardino County Fire Department. Victorville later returned to running its own department in 2019.
" Fire Station 315 was not previously open or operational due to monetary issues caused in large part by the Great Recession," city spokesperson Sue Jones said in an email Thursday.
According to City Manager Keith Metzler, the closest fire engine currently takes more than five minutes to respond to calls in 315's coverage area.
"So this will definitely beef up our ability to attend to any medical issues, certainly in the southwestern part of town," he said.
The new hires will run a two-person, full-time crew using a medic squad vehicle until the city purchases a new fire engine for the station.
Metzler said the city plans to reopen the station by July 3.
The reopening is one of several goals staff laid out in a public safety plan presented to the City Council last year, which spurred the placing of Measure P on the November 2020 ballot.
Voters passed the one-cent sales tax measure. It went into effect April 1.
Initially, though, the new firefighters' salaries will not be funded via Measure P funds. Instead, their hiring, which will cost more than $45,000 for the month of June, will be covered by savings from a vacant chief position, according to a staff report.
Measure P funds will be used to purchase the new engine for the station, equipment that Metzler said could take a year or longer to secure.
The Measure P Oversight Committee must first submit a letter to the City Council, "advising if the City has complied with" the measure's intent before a recommendation for the purchase can be made, officials said.
The committee held its first meeting on Thursday.
The new engine is expected to cost an estimated $700,000. Once the engine is purchased and placed at the station, a three-person crew would replace the medic squad and staff the station full time.
John Mendiola, the city's budget officer, said Measure P revenue could start to arrive as early as "late June, early July."
(c)2021 Daily Press, Victorville, Calif.