Currently, the fire department, with headquarters on Landing Way, is storing its five trucks in three locations. Two of them are in bays at the shop owned by Nor Cal Building Materials and Shamrock Materials at the sand depot on Petaluma Boulevard South, and one of them is kept outside there. Trucks also are being kept outside at a ranch on D Street and at the residence of San Antonio Capt. Matt Mattei.
"It would definitely help to have all of our trucks in one location," Mattei said.
San Antonio previously kept trucks at a 60 feet by 100 feet station at the old Dutra Materials site at a quarry off Petaluma Boulevard South before the property was sold to developers. San Antonio paid to have the station built, but paid no fee to operate out of the site.
Dutra has proposed to build a firehouse for the trucks on the 38-acre site at Haystack Landing where it hopes to create an asphalt plant. It has not been established who would pay to build the firehouse, and if it would be large enough for San Antonio to centralize everything there.
"We'll be taking about details if the approval process for the plant goes through," Mattei said.
Aimi Dutra, community relations director for the Dutra Group, praised the convenient location of the site in a guest column in the Dec. 3 issue of the Argus-Courier.
"The new location will provide the (fire) department immediate freeway access in order to respond rapidly to any emergency situation in Sonoma County," she stated.
"The location definitely would be better than the one we had at the old Dutra plant, and better than where we are now," Mattei added.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors rejected original plans to create the proposed plant, and now is considering a modified version. Given the uncertainty of the situation, San Antonio is reaching out to community leaders, residents and businesses to help raise funds and secure a site. San Antonio posted an explanation of its plight at its Web site, www.savfd.com.
"We're trying to get the word out, and make contacts with business owners," Mattei said.
He is concerned that at some point, San Antonio will no longer be able to keep trucks at the shop owned by Nor Cal Building Materials and Shamrock Materials.
"Times are tough, and they might need to rent out the space to make money," Mattei said.
San Antonio, unlike many fire departments, is supported entirely by donations and its fund-raising activities.
"A lot of people don't realize who we are, and what we do," Mattei said. "We cover the area from the Petaluma River bridge all the way to the county line, and from Novato to the dumps."
The fire department can be reached by phone at 769-0353, by e-mail at email@example.com and by mail at San Antonio Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 4954, Petaluma 94955.
(Contact Dan Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org)