Julian-Cuyamaca Fire to Stay Independent

Anonymous donor helped keep station out of county control

By Brandi Powell and Sarah Grieco
|  Thursday, Apr 18, 2013  |  Updated 8:34 PM PDT
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Julian-Cuyamaca Fire to Stay Independent

Firefighters in Julian will remain independent.

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Julian-Cuyamaca Fire to Stay Independent

An anonymous donor has given the department a chance to stay for at least a year.
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Julian firefighters will stay independent thanks to an anonymous donor.

Independent fire stations in the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District were considering a move under San Diego County Fire Authority because they were running out of money.

Many Julian residents were worried if the county took over that the firefighters responding may not be familiar with the roads and residences in the back country.

Staff and volunteers at the Julian’s volunteer fire station near the heart of Main Street said a big weight was lifted off their shoulders.       

Julian had an emergency town hall meeting last week, in which residents discussed concern over possible budget cuts, including with its independent fire district.

Many people living in Julian told NBC 7, they were scared out-of-town firefighters wouldn't be able to find their homes during a fire since it’s such rural community.

Residents said they were surprised and relieved the anonymous donor stepped in.

"It's a big surprise and you know it's funny because I was thinking if I had the money would I do the same thing,” said longtime Julian resident Caroline Leigh.

Reserve firefighter Jim Gutierrez said a locally-run station is important for response time.

“People who know these roads and who have been working on these roads have been here a long time obviously are more fit to do that in their own perspective,” he said.

For residents who endured the 2003 Cedar Fire, this serves as a relief.

“Well we were burned down in the cedar fire of 2003 and we lost everything,” said Leigh. “So it’s really important that we have the resources up here and have the money to support the resources up here.”

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