Tuesday afternoon’s fire at Blue Star Tires, located at 2665 Antioch Pittsburg Highway, covered northwest Antioch with a plume of black smoke. The first engine arrived on the scene and discovered that the closest hydrant was over 1600 feet away, at the corner of Verne Roberts Circle and the Highway in front of the Goodwill store. Three engines, each with 700 feet of supply hose, were needed just to supply water.
Soon after they began pumping water firefighters realized that they were losing water pressure. In this case a lot of water was needed to support the big streams required for fire suppression. To increase water pressure they used an engine in a relay pump operation to move the water through the supply hose at the appropriate levels to put the fire out.
The four alarm fire brought engines from all over East County, including two from the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD), responding to an auto aid request from the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (CCCFPD), one from Oakley the another from Brentwood. After nearly six hours on the scene the last engine left. Great job by all those firefighters on scene from both districts.
Throughout the fire districts in Contra Costa there is an excellent system of Auto Aid and Mutual Aid. In an Auto Aid scenario the dispatcher automatically dispatches the closest available engine regardless of fire district boundaries. Residents of western Oakley calling for service may have an engine from the station 81 in Antioch arrive on the scene first. The Antioch station is located within the boundaries of the CCCFPD and Oakley is served by the ECCFPD.
Mutual aid is assistance that is dispatched, upon request, by the responding fire department. Usually it is requested upon arrival at the scene.
In 2011 CCCFPD provided Auto-Aid to the ECCFPD 322 times – they responded with a total of 413 units (some calls require multiple units per call).
ECCFPD provided Auto-Aid to CCFPD 171 times – with the District responding with 198 units.
If Measure S fails can ECCFPD live up to its contractual obligations in the Auto Aid/Mutual Aid agreement? Will CCCFPD stop providing Auto Aid support for ECCFPD? Something to ponder when you head to the polls on June 5th.