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.