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‘Missing’ Fire Engine Prompts Investigation

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NBC 7

The whereabouts of a fully operational fire engine are unknown and the San Diego County Fire Authority has asked the sheriff to look into it.

The fire engine was being used by the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District before residents decided in a special election to assign their community's fire service to Cal Fire.

However, it appears the fire engine can't be located.

A Cal Fire spokesperson told NBC 7 that because it’s a county engine, we should check in with them.

The County Fire Authority said they’ve made an official complaint about it to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff’s officials said they are investigating but they haven’t written up a report just yet so we shouldn’t consider the fire engine stolen, per se.

"The County advised Deputies that the engine was missing and we are currently looking into the complaint. The Sheriff's Department has not completed a written crime report as of yet," SDSO Lt. Justin White said.

As for the firefighters who once worked at the station where the fire engine was based? They are still staging a "sit in" at the station while awaiting for an upcoming court hearing. They told NBC 7 “No comment” and referred us to their attorney.

Residents in the unincorporated Julian and the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park regions lost their volunteer fire department when the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District (JCFPD) was dissolved in early 2018 due to financial struggles and aging facilities.

The plan was to transfer all fire protection and emergency medical services to the San Diego County Fire Authority. 

But, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters, 26 percent of the 2,410 registered voters in the district sent in written protests to the proposed transfer.

So, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors decided to hold a special election.

Two months ago, residents served by the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District voted against a measure that called for a $150 per household annual increase in funding for the department. 

“The county is offering less expensive service with better fire protection," Cal Fire spokesman Chief Jon Heggie said in a previous interview. "We are trained at or above any state standards to handle all emergency situations. The county has invested millions of dollars in upgrades and equipment that far exceeds what the volunteers have.”

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