Higgins Fire District closes its Dog Bar fire station Thursday | TheUnion.com

Higgins Fire District closes its Dog Bar fire station Thursday

The Higgins Fire District station on Morning Sun Lane is officially closed, a casualty of a failed property tax vote that’s expected to increase response times and homeowners’ insurance, authorities said.

The station on Morning Sun Lane, often called the Dog Bar Road station, permanently closed today. It has a working fire engine, though there are no longer any staff at the station to operate it, said Pete Marchinek, public information officer for Higgins.

“We’re anticipating double response times,” Marchinek added.

It could now take 11 minutes for an engine to reach Dog Bar Road area homes, he said.

The Combie Road station will have two staffed fire engines. The McCourtney Road station will have one.

“But as fires burn throughout the region, they might not always be here,” Marchinek cautioned.

Higgins officials had discussed using paid call firefighters and a residency program to bolster staffing levels after the station’s closure. Neither program was implemented, though there are some volunteers living in the Dog Bar area.

Marchinek advised that Dog Bar area residents should anticipate no fire response from their neighborhood.

“The facility will be there,” Marchinek added. “However, there will be no personnel there.”

Marchinek in a release attributed the reduced staffing levels to the August failure of a tax initiative, the third failure at the polls in as many years.

If passed, the measure would have repealed a 35-year-old $25 tax on residential parcels. A $141 per-parcel tax would have taken its place.

The failed tax vote also led the Higgins board of directors to lay off six employees, which happened earlier this year.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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