Pacific Palisades Fire Engine 69 Is Shutting Down

Local Fire Station 69 received the notice of the engine's closure on Friday, said two of the station's fire captains.

On Friday, only one day away from Fire Station 69’s Pancake Fundraiser, Fire Capt. Scott Gribbons and Capt. Joe Teijeira of the Los Angeles Fire Department received a notice that Pacific Palisades’ permanently on July 5.

Engine 69 is a multipurpose vehicle with an attached water tank, able to carry firemen and plays an integral role in the station’s ability to fight fires. The engine is currently housed at Fire Station 69 located at 15045 Sunset Boulevard.

The cuts are part of a master plan called the "2011 Deployment Plan” which will eliminate one division and two battalion offices, 11 engine companies and seven light forces while upgrading 10 fire companies to paramedic companies, reported The Daily News.

Engine 69 will be shut down and may only be used as a reserve, said Gribbons, who was busy filling out the transfer requests for the engine’s crew.

“They are going to be transferred to other areas of the city,” Gribbons said. “The engine has been in operation since this station first opened in 1967 . . . it has helped fight countless fires and saved numerous lives . . . (The cuts should) start somewhere other than where the rubber meets the road.”

The action is a response to a predicted slump in the LAFD budget of more than $50 million and will reduce the workforce at Fire Station 69 by more than 40 percent, said Teijeira. The company will be reduced to a light force with only one truck and ambulance, decreasing the station’s ability to respond to simultaneous calls and fires, he said.

“People pay a lot of money (in taxes) for protection but they are not going to be getting it,” said a fireman who wished to remain anonymous. “Chief Peaks is meeting with (local newspapers) and painting a happy face on a bad situation as we speak.”

Morale is very low because of this action, said Teijeira.

The study that led to the changes analyzed the number of emergency calls and recorded a higher number of medical incidents. Unfortunately, the study did not concern itself with the way the terrain in Pacific Palisades is laid out and how the reduction would impact response time in the event of a large brush or structure fire, said several firemen from the station.

“For instance, if we get a call for an injured hiker it takes us a few hours to reach them,” Gribbons said. “I would hate to be the second person calling about a fire.”

The cuts come five months away from the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attack, which led to the loss of many lives including 343 firefighters.

“It seems many have forgotten on this coming 10th anniversary (of September 11) the sacrifices that were made that day,” said a fireman, who wished to remain anonymous.

Engine 69, which will be permanently shut down as of July 5, 2011, may only be used in certain situations as backup for other damaged engines, said Gribbons.

The fact that the reduction is happening in the midst of the coming fire season is a concern, said one the station’s firemen.

In 1961, a fire in the surrounding areas led to the destruction of 7200 acres and destroyed more than 200 homes, which included the residences of Burt Lancaster, Joe E. Brown and  Zsa Zsa Gabor, according to a Nov. 7 1961 issue of the Gettysburg Times.  

More than 2000 people were evacuated from their homes during the 1961 fire, which led to calls for increased fire protection in the area.

“Official said the fires will join, forming a 10-mile flaming front. If they continue burning southward, all of heavily populated Pacific Palisades near the ocean will be in danger,” reported the Gettysburg Times in 1961. That was six years before Fire Station 69 first opened.

The area around the Palisades is prone to brush fires and the terrain, traffic and morale isn’t something that any program or study can calculate, said several firemen.

Chadsell April 25, 2011 at 03:41 AM
As a retired battalion chief and current paramedic rom a very high end los Angeles County municipal city fire department I can tell you (the residents) you will not see any loss of service when you call 911. This is a slepper house, probably a result of a long ago geographpIc issue. Todays world is different. The fire department is notorious for screaming fire when in actualaity all we/they run are medical aid calls. Engine companies are going to go away like the pay phone,and typewriter in los Angeles, they are not needed in the big picture, more Rescue Ambulances are needed, the engine comapnies primarly hold the IV bags, goood luck and sleep safe knowing that when you call 911 the LAFD will be there promptly, and provide outstanding service in a very short time.
me April 25, 2011 at 05:32 AM
sleeper house, well when you need them i hope hook and ladder 69 is not on a different call, because E69 wont be there for you and your family, well see what you say then............
Jerry Kaboian April 25, 2011 at 10:34 PM
My heart really aches for those $100,00+ a year guys that eat at Morts/Lennys every day
BULLDOG April 25, 2011 at 11:49 PM
To Chadsell: your ignorant, negative comments and lack of support for the LAFD and FS 69's community proves that you are a disgrace to the fire service. Unfortunately, because you claim to be a "retired battalion chief", some people may actually value what you write. To everyone else out there: there are no "retired battalion chiefs" who would go back to work as a paramedic, unless they were fired and needed the money...
LA MICHAEL April 26, 2011 at 01:05 AM
why are we getting bills for $13 for brush clearance "inspections" that are done by off-duty firefighters working overtime....you regulars can't be too busy everyday - I see you in town on a regular basis - to take the truck and cruise the alphabet streets with a clipboard....come on guys, let's face it; you have a great deal here and the community is really good to you - stopping pushing your luck with these things - you're losing me with this nonsense
Jay Perrier April 26, 2011 at 03:56 AM
Please share what these civil workers make per year so I can make an intelligent comment...someone told me it's like the city of Bell with these guys, making overtime left and right, with tons of guys on disability, working construction jobs onthe side and running in 5K races on their off days...can someone do some true investigative reporting on this? maybe even the Patch?
Reza Gostar April 26, 2011 at 05:32 AM
Hi Jay, Here is a link to data assembled by The Daily News that allows users to look up any firefighters' salary up to 2009. http://www.dailynews.com/ci_12165738
KB April 26, 2011 at 08:25 PM
Reza, OMG! is anyone besides us looking at these numbers these guys are raking in - no wonder no one ever quits the fire department!
KB April 26, 2011 at 08:36 PM
Firefighter Donn Thompson cashed in over $200, 000 in OVERTIME alone one year and over 100K in five others - and my kids teacher - God bless her - making 43,000 gets a pink slip? Have we lost our minds?
Luke Young April 27, 2011 at 04:55 PM
The article is a bit confusing. If I am correct, only a portion of the men and equipment will be reassigned? I also find it disheartening that the two captains identified in the article have made a considerable amount of overtime themselves. While the last two years are not specificed, Teijera has made over $200K in overtime from 2005-2008 and Gribbons has made $140K during the same period. If this is consistent with all the firemen, I'll go with the fire departments plan to close the slower companies and transfer the men elsewhere.
Tru April 27, 2011 at 06:08 PM
Why would anyone have an 'issue' with how much OT these guys make? They are working, putting themselves at considerable risk when a situation (FIRE!) requires them to, not to mention the time spent away from their loved ones. If your house is saved from burning down, or if you (or your child!) receives life-saving medical attention, are you going to care if that first responder is working OT?! I, for one, would be damn grateful!
Linda Rubin April 28, 2011 at 08:01 PM
I agree with Tru. I have always thought firefighters deserved as much as we could pay them. Someone has to be extraordinary to want to run INTO a fire, or a moving river or a treacherous canyon. However, I am concerned that the Palisades is losing a fire engine. How can that make sense?
Gwen T April 28, 2011 at 11:41 PM
Firefighters risk there lives to save life and property. A 30+ year member of the LAFD died in the line of duty just a month or so ago doing just that, saving life and property. Was he over paid for what he did. I think not. We pay other professions a lot more money for not putting their lives in harms way. Firefighters go on medical calls and put themselves in danger with blood born pathogens on a daily basis. They are the ones who assist those in need who are in horrific auto accidents. Let's get on subject. Pay is not the topic of conversation that should be discussed in this article. The topic of conversation that should be discussed is the fact that the Mayor and the Fire Chief are stealing services that have been bought and paid for by the tax payers. Are our taxes going to be cut? No. The fire companies are there for insurance. The insurance that when a resident has a dryer fire the fire does not extend to the family room, the bedroom, the kitchen and the rest of the house. The amount of fire companies that were put in place are there so a bad situation can be stoped in it's tracks. The purpose of having two companies in the station is so when one companie is on an emergency, the other companie can respond to a second emergency in the same response time. If this plan of the Mayor and Fire Chief go through I sure hope my family is not that second call. Let get together and save what our taxes have paid for
Joe T. April 29, 2011 at 01:51 PM
Whoever you are "Luke Young", you ought to get your facts right about the amount of personal salaries that certain Captains (Teijeira & Gribbons) make; you are way off. And as Gwen T states, salaries are NOT what this is about . This IS about preventing the closing of a fire company that responds to YOUR house in the event of an emergency. Get your facts and thoughts straight, and don't sell your family or this community short. It's a crime what this Mayor and Fire Chief are trying to do.
Luke Young April 29, 2011 at 02:57 PM
To Joe T. Here is a link to data assembled by The Daily News that allows users to look up any firefighters' salary up to 2009. http://www.dailynews.com/ci_12165738 I suppose that the figures for the two Captains in the article aren't correct? Who are you kidding, it is all about $!!!
antifreeloader April 29, 2011 at 08:35 PM
What about all the Illegal Aliens that came to Los Angeles expecting these services. What will they do? We are still a “Sanctuary City” Right Mr. Mayor? 54 Million in fire Department cut! How about 200 million in social service cuts to those not entitled to it. No we cant do that can we.
DH April 29, 2011 at 09:43 PM
First of all, Chadsell, I highly doubt that you are a battalion chief or work for any fire department. If you are, you are a disgrace to the fire service. Now let's say you are right and Station 69 is a "sleeper station". I am sure it is slower than some stations in lower income neighborhoods. But the whole point of adding paramedics to fire engines was to increase services to the public. Ambulances have to transport to hospitals. I am not from Pacific Palisades, but I am familiar with the area. The closest hospital is in Santa Monica. That is about a 1 hour turnaround time per call. Our goal is to provide Advanced Life Support services or fire response within 5 minutes. The reason is hopefully we can prevent any permanent damage or death in the first 5 minutes of a medical emergency. By adding a paramedic to the fire engine makes it so we can meet that goal when the ambulance is doing it's 1 hour transport and return to the hospital. It also helps increase available resources when units are committed to other incidents. Also, that first 5 minutes is crucial in keeping a fire in check and making sure it does not turn into a major fire. That first 5 minutes is crucial in minimizing damage and lost of life. Another part of times make up a city or communities ISO (Insurance Services Office) ratings. This rating determines businesses and homes ability and affordability of insurance. If businesses cannot get insurance, than they will locate to somewhere else where they can.
DH April 29, 2011 at 10:02 PM
Now the pay issue. I don't understand why everyone is attacking firefighters, teachers, and police. I do not work for LAFD. I am a firefighter for another agency in Southern CA. I did make close to $100,000 last year and I feel it was justified. My department is also going through hard times and is currently talking about closing many fire stations and reducing staffing. Just so everyone knows, we work 24 hour shifts. When someone doesn't come in, we don't get to go home. Fire stations are open 24/7 365 days a year. When you call 911, someone will be there, day or night. I have worked weeks on end when there are wildfires, much of which I missed sleep and meals. Hense the overtime. I missed plane flights, family dinners, birthdays, and holidays because I was stuck at work. I worked over 4000 hours last year, many of which were not my choice. That's more than twice the hours of most the labor force. And living in Southern CA, I still can barely afford a home, especially not one in Pacific Palisades, or most of LA for that matter. And remember, I am a taxpayer just like everyone else. I pay taxes so that those services will be there to protect my family and my community when I need them and I would not want to give them up. What do people want? To live in a third world country? I for one do not and I like having the peace of mind that these services are here. I like to know that if I get robbed police will show up. That our children can read and write.
Tru April 29, 2011 at 10:06 PM
Troll alert! Stand down!
DH April 29, 2011 at 10:15 PM
Now to you Michael. I do not work for LAFD and do not know the specifics of the fees. But like I said earlier, I do work for another fire department in So. CA. We do brush clearence inspections on duty, not off duty. No overtime is alloted for this and we are still available for 911 response. What we are doing is trying to prevent you from losing your home. The fire department is being proactive so that when there is a catastrophic fire, or any wildland fire, your home will be more defensible. The fees are probably to offset the cost of paying staff to process the inspections. If these inspections were not done, there is nothing keeping your neighbor from having brush run right up to your property line and risking your home from burning down. Fire departments also do business inspections. This is to protect the business and employees. When they are checking to see that you have smoke detectors, a sprinkler system in working order, fire extinguishers and exits, they are trying to minimize losses before they happen. These are results from fatality fires earlier in US history. Look at the Cocoanut Grove fire(492 killed), Beverly Hills Supper Club fire (165 killed), Triangle Shirtwaste fire (148 killed), The Station Nightclub fire (100 killed). This is what we are trying to prevent before they happen again.
DH April 29, 2011 at 10:31 PM
Again on the money issue. These guys are working OVERTIME. This is above and beyond their normal duty to keep your fire stations running 24/7. This means they are up all night running calls to heart attacks, shootings, car crashes, and fires. They work hard for their money, depriving themselves sleep, time with their families, and putting themselves at risk so that when you call 911 someone will be there. Risks include working on freeways in traffic, communicable diseases, assault, exposure to toxic smoke (it may not kill them now, but cancer and a number of other diseases that may not even be linked back to the fire often kills them later). A fire just killed an LA firefighter, Glenn Allen about 2 months ago. Look at the guys in New York. They were trying to save lives when 343 of them died at the World Trade Centers. Another reason for so much overtime is underhiring. My department consistently stays about 1/3 understaffed. This means there has to be overtime filled to keep the station open. Have we lost our minds? I think the fact that they want to lay off teachers to increase class sizes to 40 kids, when they want to close fire stations that protect our families and communities, when they want to eliminate police officers so it takes an officer 1 hour to respond for help, then we have lost our minds. It took us a long time to build our society to where it is today. It worries me that we want to regress to where we were decades ago.
DH April 29, 2011 at 11:49 PM
Luke Young, so Gribbons made $140K in overtime in 4 years. That averages about $35K per year. But again, you don't realize these guys sometimes work weeks on end. Of course there is going to be overtime. You have to realize that if someone doesn't come into work (for example calls in sick), he/she can't go home because they have to keep the fire engine open. He also has the option to pick up overtime at one of the other 106 fire stations when someone calls in sick there. Also, if there are wildfires, pretty much nobody goes home. He may be on a fire engine fighting a wildfire in San Diego. The city doesn't pay for that overtime, the district where the fire occurs pays for that overtime. I personally have been stuck at work for 2 months straight without being allowed to go home. Yes, I made overtime. And not all that overtime occured at fires. When fire engines go to fires, other fire engines need to cover the station that left. We staff up reserve engines when this happens. This creates overtime. This is what happens when there are emergencies. So saying he made too much money for working overtime, voluntary or due to emergencies does not seem logical. Are you saying he shouldn't get paid for his services? Or are you saying we should stop responding to emergencies? Should we not protect your home when there is a wildfire? Should we not come to your aid when you call 911? That doesn't sound right to me.
Robert May 01, 2011 at 03:21 AM
I found this on line and it's worth viewing - Just a little reminder whats in our back yard. http://www.experiencingla.com/2008/10/not-but-30th-anniversary-of-mandeville.html
trueblue23 May 09, 2011 at 07:47 PM
Let's face it firefighters, has anyone of you ever quit the fire department? Doubt it...has anyone quit being a teacher? all the time....which means firefighter is a much better job..anyone who says it's not about the cost of the fire department - and all its OT - are (no pun intended) blowing smoke..it's time we privatize the fire department and saved ALL OF US tons of dough..in the meantime, open offer to all you firefighter guys - I'll trade my teaching job for yours - any day of the week...any takers the other way around? Not a chance, I'll bet.
JJ Summer May 12, 2011 at 05:50 AM
I was born at night but not last night, firefighters....you "poor guys" have to work two/three days a week, 24 hour shifts, sleeping most of it, and getting OT like crazy, and eating in the palisades village every day and, then on your off days, do side jobs under the table...it IS about the money guys - that's why the city's broke .....let's not forget the unbelieveable pensions you 20 year guys get for the rest of your lives....God help you if someone really dug deep into your tricks for building up the next retirees income for pension purposes by calling in sick...Don't get me started on those many fake disability claims either, costing all of us. When you work, you work, I admit, but you guys have the SWEETEST deal, a deal that's impossible for us regular folks to get - folks that work EVERYDAY
Brandon May 14, 2011 at 06:02 AM
Amazing people...... I do not work for LaFd nor any other fire department.... I do not risk my life in my job..... I chose to go to school for the career I have. Any of you ever think to yourselves..... "what is my life worth?" I don't care who you are or what you do your life is worth more than any amount anyone can pay you. These guys risk their lives on a daily basis and most don't live past 55..... They deserve what they make. When a fellow fireman dies. You be the one to tell his family, "it's ok he made an extra 35k a year!!!" it's not ok. Fire departments are necessary everywhere. And to the teacher.... Don't complain about what you make. You chose that career. If you aren't happy change it, don't bash on people who if you call 911 for yourself or your kid tonight won't judge you, but will do everything in their power to save you!!!!! Respect these guys.... The FD is a necessary factor in society. God Bless all you FF!!!
LH May 16, 2011 at 05:35 PM
I don't know a thing about how much they make or if they work hard enough to deserve it. What I do know is that if it wasn't for the firefighters at 69 I would most likely be dead. Don't put a pricetag on everyone who they have helped or saved. This is their job; upsides and downsides. My family and I are eternally grateful to all the men who work there. I would feel a lot safer if they could stay.
ThinkingMan May 17, 2011 at 07:45 PM
Got to wonder why the public employees of the firefighters want to hide their pensions/earnings Do I smell another City Of Bell story?
Factman May 17, 2011 at 10:55 PM
If he really was a thinking man, he would have his facts correct. Firemans pensions in LA are based on their base pay not including overtime, also they are required to contribute 9% of that base pay to retirement. As far as the overtime , the city knows it is less expensive to pay overtime than hire additional employees, to take advantage of this is up to them and it saves the taxpayer money. By way Mr. Thinking Man this great deal is available to you to; just take the test, be willing to put your life on the line for a complete stranger, be willing to get up close and personal with other peoples bodily fluids during medical calls and also be comfoftable with the fact that if you make a mistake you could be killed. The real issue here is that we are going to loose a life saving resource in the Palisades not how much firemen earn. By the way Thinking Man what do you do, and how much do you earn enlighten us and we can debate if were geting our bang for the buck from you.
Tru May 18, 2011 at 02:32 PM
oh, SNAP!


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