Julian: Residents worried about future of Julian Fire Department - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Julian: Residents worried about future of Julian Fire Department

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – The fate of the last fire volunteer department in San Diego County is up in the air as the county could soon take over the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District and contract services out to Cal Fire.

Last fall, the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District Board of Directors voted to stay independent, then the county cut funding and a paramedic engine. That decision is now being reconsidered and as the back country strong group fights to save their local department.

“Julian is special and we need to protect our historic town – our historic volunteer fire department. I don’t what is going to happen here,” said Pat Landis, former JCFDP board member.

During a community meeting in Julian Monday night, a citizen’s initiative circulated while retired JCFDP Bill Everett talked about how local crews know the roads not out of town firefighters.

“Three times the same address, Cal Fire could not find the address. They had to call our guys for directions,” said Bill Everett, retired JCFDP volunteer firefighter.

News 8 reached out to Cal Fire’s spokesperson who said in the 23,000 calls they received last year, not one did they not know an address.

But not all residents are against shutting down the volunteer fire department. Roberta Binderim said she does not want to pay more for fire protection.

“There are a lot people who would like it to go to the county. I already feel that we are paying a tremendous amount of tax and that we should be able to go to for that,” she said.

Members of the Julian community remain divided on the issue, but they want to make sure their message is not watered down.

“The volunteers live here. These are our neighbors. These are our friends and they are the first ones that come and show up and I would hate to lose that,” said Roger Behrendt, Julian resident.

The county will present its terms Tuesday morning during the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District Board meeting at Station 56.

The fire chief said he does not lack confidence in the county and Cal Fire.

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