Battle Ensues Over Temporary Location for Paramedic Truck

PASADENA, Calif. – The upscale San Rafael neighborhood will have to make due with a temporary paramedic truck and fire coverage from adjacent Pasadena fire stations for now.

Pasadena city staff will move on a plan to house a paramedic truck at a private residence at 159 Glen Summer Road. Fire coverage will be provided by trucks from other sections of Pasadena, as well as the cities of Glendale, Los Angeles and South Pasadena.

The city would operate the temporary location until September 2013 when the city’s planned upgraded Fire Station 39 is scheduled to reopen.

The temporary location was scouted by Pasadena Fire Chief Calvin Wells, who found the location “which proved to be very attractive in deploying resources to serve the greatest need in the area” and “would allow for a quick response time.”

But residents in San Rafael opposed the move, some saying that the paramedic truck racing through the neighborhood would put their children’s lives at stake.

“I wanted to put a face to the neighborhood a little bit,” said Carol Jones, a San Rafael resident, who attended Monday’s meeting with her children in tow. “My husband and I have triplets there are three years old…I am very concerned this is an accident waiting to happen.”

Carol Jones and her husband, David Jones, expressed their concern with operating emergency vehicles on the narrow tree-lined streets.

“With 100 places that were looked at, I can’t imagine a worse one,” David Jones said. “I can’t imagine a paramedic driving a fire vehicle in a hurry on that street with all the children present.”

Fire Station 39 was closed in April 2011, with little advance notice to District 6 residents served by the station. The fire station was closed following a 2010 seismic report, which showed the existing station would not withstand a major earthquake.

San Rafael residents unleashed peppered City Hall with emails asking for answers to why the station was closed. Residents accused Pasadena City Manager Michael Beck of sitting on the report to protect District 6 City Councilman Steve Madison, who was running for reelection during the time between the city receiving the report and releasing the findings.

Beck denied the charge.

San Rafael homeowners questioned the peer-reviewed seismic report, which called for the city to close Fire Station 39. The city defended the study.

Residents recently questioned why the city decided to not seek a conditional use permit prior to placing the ambulance at the temporary station.

City staffers said Pasadena will apply for a permit while it operates the station and that the city could operate without such a permit for up to a year.

“The CUP is required for use of the facility in excess of 12 months,” Beck said. “At the end of the day we are in the business of providing emergency services to the community.”

If the conditional use permit is ultimately denied, the city will not operate the temporary station beyond 12 months, Beck said.

The city retains an opt out clause in the lease and can void the rest of the lease after six months.

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