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CAL FIRE to assume command of Cayucos Fire starting Saturday

Posted at 5:56 PM, Nov 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-30 22:42:40-05

Starting December 1 at 7 a.m., the Cayucos Fire Department will be no more.

After more than 70 years of serving the area, it will close.

CAL FIRE SLO will be taking over command of the area.

Cayucos resident Patty Rarig says she is sad to see the fire department go.

“I think everybody in the town is really bummed. They are an awesome department, they are quick responders and they’ve helped a lot of us,” Rarig said.

The district says it struggled to find long-term funding and staffing, so in September of 2017, the board filed an application to dissolve after voters rejected a parcel tax.

The Local Agency Formation Commission approved it, and now the county is stepping in to provide coverage.

CAL FIRE SLO spokesperson Chris Elms says response time won’t be affected.

“The level of service won’t change,” Elms said. “They will still have a fire engine at their station. They’ll have full-time, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week staffing.”

Station 56 will become a part of CAL FIRE SLO and change its name to “Estero Bay Fire Station 16” to serve the greater area of Estero Bay.

“There’s going to be some modifications to the building to allow for staff to be there full-time,” Elms added.

As part of the contract’s conditions, CAL FIRE will keep the volunteer program for paid on-call firefighters and pay them for hours worked.

However, they are not currently offering full-time positions to the existing staff unless they go through an application process.

The district says it was a tough decision overall.

“You want to provide the community with not only adequate but exemplary (service). We’ve been able to do that, we just got to the point where it was fiscally not able to do that anymore,” said Steven Beightler, chairperson of the Cayucos Fire Protection District.

“In the words of Chief Jalbert, we welcome the Estero Bay Fire Station. We look forward to serving the community of Cayucos for the future,” Elms said.

It will cost San Luis Obispo County about $912,000 each year to provide this service in Cayucos.

CAL FIRE SLO has another station in Cayucos off Highway 1 that also provides additional resources to the area.

The transfer of command ceremony begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 at the Cayucos Fire Station and will honor the men and women who have served Cayucos over the last 70 years.