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City of Santa Rosa engaged in lawsuit with former volunteer fire department

4 months 1 week 18 hours ago Saturday, April 02 2022 Apr 2, 2022 April 02, 2022 12:21 PM April 02, 2022 in News - Local

A new group of volunteer firefighters is coming to the Santa Rosa Volunteer Fire Department after city employees blocked the former volunteers from entering the station.

Both parties are engaged in a lawsuit over who owns the property where the fire department stands. 

“We took action to try to get control of the equipment so that we can have our new group of volunteers take over, and it seems that they want to interfere with our process,” Santa Rosa City Manager Jared Hockema said of the former volunteers. “In the end, we're going to control of this equipment and we're going to continue this transition.”

Ruben R. Pena, an attorney for the former firefighters, said the property was transferred to the volunteer fire department in 1983.

The former volunteers did not have access enter the station to grab their gear or fire trucks, making them turn a blind eye to the sight of fire in the area.

“While the city may want to do its own thing, it's certainly not entitled to destroy property, and if they took vehicles — which is what my clients say — that's basically stealing,” attorney Ruben R Pena said. “That's theft.”

Arrangements have been made with the county to get responses to fires from other agencies. The new volunteer fire department is said to be ready in a couple days, Hockema said.

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