California Professional Firefighters

Mountain House Turns Back on Tracy Rural FPD, Residents

In early February, members of the Mountain House Community Service District Board of Directors told to a standing-room only crowd of supporters that they would continue contracting with the Tracy Rural Fire Protection District.

Four days later, in a late-night, special session they voted to reverse course.

As a result, residents in the Mountain House will see a dramatic decrease in their level of service when the district begins contracting with the French Camp Fire District, a non “advanced live support” (ALS) provider, later this year.

“Basically, we lost the contract, but the real losers are the residents of Mountain House” said Tony Perez, president of Tracy Firefighters, Local 3355,which represents the Tracy Rural FPD as well as the City of Tracy.

The decision to contract with French Camp brings to a close a nearly three-year ordeal in Mountain House, one which saw a pair of hard-liner district general managers attempt to whittle down operating costs, ultimately at the expense of the public safety.

Under the past service agreement, the Tracy Rural FPD provided three-person engine companies, as well as a support system that could place an additional 12 firefighters on-scene within eight-and-a-half minutes. French Camp will be providing two-person, non-ALS engine companies and currently has no established mutual aid agreements.

“The levels of service aren’t even close,” Perez said.

Throughout the entire process, members of Local 3355 worked to inform community members how dire the drop in service would be. Residents were receptive, so much so that media coverage of the board’s initial vote to continue contracting with Tracy Rural noted that the decision caused “a crowd of standing-room-only onlookers erupted into applause.”

Unfortunately, the board was unwilling to stand by its action.

“We walked the community services district, going door to door to let residents know what the consequences would be,” Perez said. “The community was very supportive of us, but in the end, it was a board decision based on money.”

This story originally appeared in CPF’s quarterly newspaper. To access a digital version of the paper on your Apple phone or tablet, click here.