Too cheap and stingy to pay for mutual aid in the Twentynine Palms county islands, County fire stopped asking Twentynine Palms Fire Department for mutual assistance in their island areas. Last night it cost two peoples lives as the Twentynine Palms FD was not even dispatched.
This dilemma was discussed in the recent LAFCO 29 Palms MSR on page 85 titled Unincorporated Peninsula.
Referencing the map above, in the center of the community there is a one mile wide
unincorporated peninsula that extends five and half miles in a north/south direction
bordered by the Water District and the Marine Corps Combat Center. This peninsula
is within the boundaries of County Fire and is within the Water District’s sphere of
influence. The closest County Fire station is Station 45 in Wonder Valley, the CCFD
is immediately to the east, and the nearest Water District fire stations are Station 421
and/or Station 422, depending on the specific incident location.
County Fire, as the agency responsible for service to this area, has existing mutualaid agreements with the Water District and the CCFD. Therefore, Twentynine PalmsFire responds to this area for the majority of incidents. LAFCO staff understandsthat the Twentynine Palms Fire Department desires a contractual arrangement forpayment to serve this area since County Fire has service contracts in other parts ofthe county. County Fire, in its response to the draft staff report, states that it believes that the existing aid agreement and a proposed update to the agreement are appropriate without monetary terms and that a new contract is not necessary.
It is not uncommon for the County to pay its fair share of cost in its area of responsibility. In fact we present you with Two contracts that provide reimbursement for services to other mutual aid fire departments..:
- Loma Linda – Contract
- Loma Linda – Map
- Loma Linda – Memo
- SB City – Contract
- SB City – Map
- SB City – Memo
Last night was a perfect example of where personal animosity by one Fire Chief to another Fire Chief and an unwillingness to play fair has cost the lives of two individuals and thousands of dollar in property damage out in the county island off Mesquite Drive.
While Twentynine Palms Fire Department was no more than 8 minutes away, the first County engine arrived some 90 minutes after the first dispatch. 90 precious minutes, all the while the victims of last nights fire burned to death.
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