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Cambria could lose three of its full-time firefighters - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Cambria could lose three of its full-time firefighters

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A special meeting took place on Monday in Cambria with hopes of saving three firefighting positions.

Cambria could lose three of its full-time firefighters, which are staffed through a federal grant. Funding will end next month.

Local leaders must decide to either discontinue the firefighters' positions or look for ways to fund them. As of Monday’s meeting, they are leaning toward adding a sales tax onto the June ballot and allowing the community to vote.

Fire Captain Emily Torlano went door-to-door Monday morning, letting everyone know that the community is in danger of losing some of its first responders.

“We have three firefighters right now that are grant-funded positions and that funding is going to end here sometime in March,” said Torlano.

These positions are currently funded through Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response grants, and come March 14, the funding will run out.

Captain Torlano said losing these positions means they will only have three firefighters on the fire engine per shift. The department is required to have a minimum of four firefighters on-scene to enter a burning building, which means they will not be able to enter until another agency arrives.

“If you have two firefighters inside, you have to have two firefighters outside, so what people won’t understand is, 'Why aren’t you putting the fire out?' 'Well, we are waiting for the engine to come from Cayucos or Morro Bay.' If CAL FIRE, they will be here quickly and that’s helpful, but it could make the difference between saving a house or losing a house,” Torlano added.

At Monday’s Cambria Community Services District meeting, the public was allowed to speak out. After various discussions, it was agreed that the board will put the parcel sales tax on the ballot.

Now the board must decide how much the tax will need to be in order to raise the necessary funds to staff the three positions.

A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday and a final decision is expected to be made that day.

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