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Update: Firefighters Facing Uncertain Future Take Time to Surprise Birthday Boy

Amid the celebration, one fire captain shares his concerns over the possible closure of Palisades engine 69.

Updated at 4:40 p.m.:

The planned reduction in fire services in Pacific Palisades would eliminate the engine from Station 69 and reduce the forces available to Pacific Palisades, said Los Angeles City Fire Department Capt. Scott Gribbons.

"This is not a rumor.  . . .  I am staring at the report given to all the chiefs right now," Gibbons said. "The report states that 11 engines will be shut down  in the city. . . . The question is will engine 69 be one of those."

The closure of engine 69 will reduce the force here to a lighter unit, said Gibbons. Pacific Palisades is not an area that can be easily accessed by one fire engine alone, said the captain.

People have to speak up if they want this engine company to remain, he said. 

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A childlike joy filled the air when engines from Pacific Palisades' local firehouse showed up to surprise a birthday boy Saturday, but beneath the firefighters' smiles were concerns over the possible closure of engine 69.

Three-year-old Christopher Goodman stared with wide-eyed wonder at the Los Angeles City firefighters and the gleaming red of their two fire engines that were parked in front of his party at Temescal Canyon Park.

Everyone was all smiles. Even Smoky the firehouse dog was wagging his tail as the children took turns petting him.

People in the Palisades can call their local fire station if they would like the firemen to come to events like this, said Fire Capt. Joe Teijeira.

Both adults and children gathered around the fire engines, snapping pictures and talking to the firemen.

“People call us, we come,” said Teijeira. “It’s for the community. . . . We work a lot with the community but this particular mayor wants to cut this fire department to the bone. They are trying to close all these stations, including ours.”

Teijeira said that the wildfire-prone Palisades needs engine 69, both for the emergency resources it offers but also for the positive role models its firefighters provide for area youth. He urged the party guests and others to call their councilman to tell him that the fire engine is needed. 

Laura Goodman said that her son always liked firefighters, which is why she picked that theme for his birthday. The birthday boy looked as though he got just what he wanted as he sat inside a fire engine and gawked at all of the instruments while the engineer showed him his helmet.

“I called . . . and these guys were nice enough to say if we are not on a call we will stop by,” said Goodman.

Firemen are always the first to respond, said Goodman.

“I was in New York during 9/11 . . . my uncle was a firefighter,” Goodman said. “Most people run from danger. These guys are the only ones who always run to it.”

Patch will follow the story of Fire Engine 69 as it unfolds.

Tru April 28, 2011 at 11:11 PM
"So let me get this right..." said the man with no kids, no pets, and nothing to lose.
Luke Young April 29, 2011 at 03:01 PM
Tru, Please tell me how you can justify my tax dollars paying for a fire truck and firemen going to a birthday party to entertain children? Please try and justify this. I would like to pay my fair share of taxes to essential services...birthday parties and dog care aren't essential!
Tru April 29, 2011 at 05:29 PM
Luke, To stipulate the need for 'justice' from acts of kindness, community, and good will is not only sad, but pathetic as well. Are you so devoid of the concept of 'intrinsic value' - something of value for it's own sake - that you fail to appreciate these are freebies and an added benefit to residents, and that your 'fair share' for 'essentials' is not compromised in the least. With the engine closure, essential services will be challenged, man-power reduced, and response time likely prolonged - all at the same, and rising, tax rates! How do you justify that??
Luke Young April 30, 2011 at 12:00 AM
Dear Truman, It is not my intention to persevere with this dialogue, however to clarify my previous statement I feel necessary to respond… “Essential” services include police, fire, paramedic, and sanitation. As a taxpayer, I do not believe in excessive government intervention and excessive social programs. I do believe in government adequately funding and paying these “public servants” with an adequate salary to protect my family, my neighbors, and my community. If the salary figures are even proximate to being accurate, then there is no feasible or reasonable rationale for the taxpayers of this City to be paying for the “intrinsic value” of these “professionals” to care for a dog, at my expense! While it may be minuscule in the grand scheme of the division of my property tax, if I wanted a dog, I would own one myself. What value does this bring to the fire department or the community? (91602)
Tru April 30, 2011 at 01:55 AM
I suggest you get a Labradoodle, Luke -

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