Published August 13th, 2014
Home Fires Keep Burning
By Nick Marnell
Photos courtesy MOFD
Two early summer structure fires put Lamorinda on high alert as it rolls into the peak of fire season during the driest year in recorded California history. A June fire destroyed a house on Tarry Lane in north Orinda, and in July firefighters put out a three-alarm fire on Monticello Drive in Lafayette. The two fires caused an estimated $1.5 million in damage.
"The public is concerned with service cutbacks, the heat and the drought," said Lafayette fire commissioner Bill Granados, "as they should be." He cautioned that the resources of the Lamorinda fire agencies will be heavily challenged this season.
Nearly equidistant from both incidents is the site for proposed fire station 46, a joint venture between the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District and the Moraga-Orinda Fire District. The new station would replace closed ConFire station 16, and MOFD station 43 in north Orinda.
"We know there is a need for a better located resource in that area, so we are working as quickly as possible to get the station going," said ConFire chief Jeff Carman. "So while this incident is a good example of the potential in Lafayette and the hills nearby, it hasn't changed how fast we are trying to work on the station." Negotiations between the two districts continue, with a formal proposal for station 46 expected to be presented this fall to both fire district governing boards.
Traci Reilly, co-chair of the Lafayette Emergency Services Task Force, said that the need for station 46 is understood, or it would not even be on the table. "This is exactly what has played out these last few weeks," she said, speaking of the Lamorinda fires. "We anticipated something like this and we are certainly doing everything we can to try to prevent it."

Reach the reporter at:

Copyright Lamorinda Weekly, Moraga CA