City of Tracy planning on adding new fire stations, moving others

After a report found the Tracy Fire Department had room for improvement, the cit decided to improve response times.

Steve Perry's journey took him to Tracy 27 years ago.

"A lot less crowded. I lived in Fremont," Perry said.

The Bay Area transplant and retired business owner makes his home in a newer neighborhood of Tracy known as Red Bridge. 

It's one of several areas specified in a new report saying fire response times need to be faster. 

However, Perry is not welcoming the idea with open arms.

"Based on what I have seen they are plenty quick. So, it depends on which way the city is going," Perry said.

While  residents like Perry believe the fire response is good enough, the city of Tracy believes it can improve and be faster as the population grows.

The Fire Department Standards of Cover study says from July 2015 to July 2016 the average response time was nearly 6:26 minutes per call.

The national standard is four minutes door-to-door.

"I just think that some of our fire stations can be, could be in better locations to improve our response times," said Tracy Fire Chief Randall Bradley.

Bradley says their average times are combined with city and rural calls.

"So when you take those averages you get up to six and a half minutes, but I think we're closer to five minutes if you look at our pure city response times. So we're close," Bradley said.

The study calls for two new fire stations and two existing fire stations to be moved to more populated areas.

It also calls for the fire administration building downtown to become a working fire station again.

Who will pay for it?

The city says developers will pay for it as the city grows.

"As new development occurs that's a fee, an impact fee for new homes. So, developers will pay those fees as new home permits are pulled," said Andrew Malik, Tracy Director of Development Services.

Residents like Heather Stonehouse say added fire protection is worth it.

"And with it growing so much I think it's a necessity," Stonehouse said.

However, homeowners like Perry have stopped believing his town is still the out-of-the-way place he moved to years ago.

He plans to go his separate ways, improved fire response or not.

"I'm considering moving again," Perry said.

There is no timeline set for the improvements necessary for the Tracy Fire Department.

A new fire station is already under development in the Tracy Hills area of Interstate 580. 

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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