Politics, government and public life for Southern California

5 San Gabriel Valley cities explore fire service merger

Five cities south of Pasadena are considering a plan to consolidate their fire departments.
Five cities south of Pasadena are considering a plan to consolidate their fire departments.

Five cities in the San Gabriel Valley are exploring a plan to increase cooperation among their fire departments. The Monterey Park City Council voted this week to explore joining Alhambra, San Gabriel, San Marino and South Pasadena in a resource sharing proposal.

Each city currently runs its own fire department and is part of a mutual aid agreement to assist in neighboring communities during emergencies.

The new deal would combine the command staff of the five departments, reducing the number of top fire managers through retirement and eliminating redundant positions, said South Pasadena City Manager Sergio Gonzalez. He estimates the resource sharing plan would save each of the cities at least $200,000 a year.

The 11 fire engines in the five cities could respond anywhere in the 27-square mile area, and some training functions could be shared. Each department would retain its own identity, Gonzalez said.

Monterey Park voters in July turned down a proposal that firefighters had favored to merge the city fire department with Los Angeles County's.

Resource sharing isn't a new concept among firefighters. In 2011, the Brea and Fullerton fire departments consolidated their command structures into a single management group.

The Orange County Fire Authority, which formed in 1995, merged the fire departments of the county and 18 cities into a single joint powers agency. It now includes 24 cities and is one of the largest regional fire departments in the state, serving 1.7 million residents.


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