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City of Oroville to consider changing its city fire department

The City of Oroville may break away from having its own fire department and turn it over to CAL FIRE.

Posted: Sep 4, 2019 10:57 PM
Updated: Sep 4, 2019 10:57 PM

OROVILLE, Calif. -- The City of Oroville may break away from having its own fire department and turn it over to CAL FIRE.

Action News Now spoke with several firefighters at the Oroville Fire Department who said they were disappointed the city would consider putting in a bid for new fire protection services.

The Oroville Fire Department serves a community of more than 23,000 people. 

"We still have firefighters that are geared toward a population of 12,000 to 15,000," said Bill LaGrone, Oroville City Administrator. "Financially we do not have the resources to grow to the proper size that's necessary to provide all of the services that it needs."

The Oroville City Council asked staff to reach out to local fire protection agencies to see what it would cost to service the city. CAL FIRE  would most likely be the agency since it's a local provider, said LaGrone.

Oroville resident, James Giles, said he's seen more than 20 fires on his property over the years.

"We're going to lose if they turn it over to CAL FIRE, or any agency," Giles said. 

He wants to keep the fire department local.

"From their area, they're fighting for your area. They're not fighting just a fire," Giles said. 

The firefighters did not want to be on camera, but said they look forward to speaking with Oroville city staff.

"We want to ensure, part of our FP is our firefighters must be included in the absorption, by anybody who takes over the fire service, if anybody takes over the fire service," LaGrone said.

LaGrone said if they do go through with this contract, it would take more than a year and a half to take effect. 

Currently there are 13 firefighters in the Oroville Fire Department.

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