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.
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.