WONDER VALLEY — The people of Wonder Valley will have to get used to longer response times as San Bernardino County Fire officials have opted not to reopen fire station 45 on Amboy Road next to the community center.

Public Information Officer Tracey Martinez, in a telephone interview Wednesday morning, Aug. 13, confirmed that fiscal considerations led county fire officials to give up on plans to reopen the station.

The station closed, and firefighters were moved to the Twentynine Palms station on Adobe Road south of Twentynine Palms Highway, about 11 miles away from the Wonder Valley station, on Sept. 22, 2017.

Residents were told the station was evacuated after testing of the station’s well water showed contamination by more than a dozen substances.

“You still have the same staffing level, they are just out there in Twentynine Palms,” Fire Capt. Scott Tuttle told residents at a community meeting at the community in early October 2017.

“For the past couple of years we have been responding from the Twentynine Palms fire station,” Martinez said. “County fire has been evaluating the operational needs of the community of Wonder Valley.”

She added that concerns for fiscal responsibility led county fire officials to continue to respond to Wonder Valley and the surrounding area from Twentynine Palms.

“There are no plans to reopen the station,” she said. “We are looking at leasing the building to a nonprofit organization.”

She said she did not know the name of the organization but thought it was a food distribution group.

“There is no agreement yet,” she said. “I know they are in discussions now.”

She noted that the amount paid by Wonder Valley property owners for fire protection services will not go down because of the change.

“Right now the taxes that are being paid in Wonder Valley do not support station 45,” she said. “For the past several years the board of supervisors has had to supplement funding for that station.”

She claimed that average response time has increased about four minutes since firefighters moved to Twentynine Palms.

(3) comments


I think the county should get used to being more accountable and following the law, instead of double-crossing their constituents and trying to run the county as their personal fiefdom.

Wonder Valleyites are furious for trusting the county, who assured them of better fire service, if only the locals would agree to let the county run their fire services. Instead, the county double-crossed them, raised rates and lowered not only the community's fire services, but also their emergency services. Now the whole valley (and 175 miles of roads) have to depend on the staitons in 29 and the marine base - whose chief stated that the entire eastern half of the valley is basically out of range for effective fire service.

The population of Wonder Valley is also very vulnerable to emergencies - they're older, low income, and often in both poor health and lack transportation. Add two roads that serve as detours to the 10 and /or back route to Las Vegas, and you have a perfect storm for preventable deaths. They just had a horrific, fatal head-on crash a few weeks ago, and the response time was half an hour - one victim had to be coached by a civilian who was first on the scene to staunch their own bleeding, to avoid bleeding out and dying as well. That's shocking, and the whole situation needs to be changed.

Throw the bums out.


Just an addendum - the county also illegally held a faux-election to get their Fire Protection Zone 5 seemingly passed. So - their move wasn't legitimate. They tried to frame the issue as if FP-5 was a done deal unless - I believe - 2/3 of the constituents voted NO - and then compounded the problem by obstructing voters' access to voting.

But that's not how state law and the constitution work. First, there's no taxation without representation, so the elections had to be done correctly, which they weren't. That's because the state statutes say that county service areas (CSA's) like FP-5 cannot happen unless over 50% of the constituents vote FOR it - that's not what the county did. And that's why they're still getting sued by multiple parties.

The locals want their fire station back, and they're not settling for the county's double-crossing and coverup. And by coverup, I mean the county's fake excuse for suddenly closing the station was due to poor water quality and asbestos - instead of doing the right thing, and cleaning up the station (if needed) and getting a professional-quality water filter. They simply shirked their responsibility and cheaped out, assuming they'd get away with it.

They need to be replaced by people who really want to right by the community and serve it well. The local are angry, and will continue to pursue this matter.

Branson Hunter

Similarly, just to the West of Wonder Valley we lost the Lear Fire Station 422 which served Desert Heights, Indian Cove and western 29 Palms. That was complicated... However the County Came to our rescue, they held out the carrot on a stick and told us that county fire may reopen Station 422. There was no credible vote. It was a Banana Republic vote that was meaningless and the outcome was already predestined.

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