Chula Vista closes down fire station after sewage pipes burst

Posted at 6:44 PM, Oct 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-04 22:26:21-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - A South Bay fire station has been temporarily closed since last weekend after sewage pipes burst inside, leaving its firefighters and vehicles to work out of two other nearby stations.

"It's about 60 years old; it was built in 1960," Chula Vista Fire Chief Jim Geering said of Fire Station 9. "We had problems over the weekend with some sewage backup."

The sewage pipe burst into the areas where the firefighters sleep.

"It's not the best," said Geering. "This is no way for employees to come to work."

The station was immediately closed and signs were posted outside.

Geering wasn't happy, adding, the situation was an "embarrassment because this is no way to run a fire department."

His biggest concern is response time. He said Station 9 averages four to five calls a day.

Geering said the city of Chula Vista and his department have been aware that Station 9 was in dire need of replacing. Geering said the Chula Vista Fire Department altogether needs between $40 million to $50 million in repairs and replacements.

Help may come in the form of a half-cent sales tax increase -- known as Measure A -- on the Nov. 8 ballot. Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas has backed the measure as a way to pay for the city's infrastructure needs.

"This is a lot of money, and without that tax, we won't be able to do it," said Geering.

Chula Vista rented two travel trailers and placed them behind Station 9 as a temporary measure. Firefighters were expected to return to the station Tuesday evening.