After 39 years serving the Woodinville community, Fire Station 34 closed Wednesday as part of the Kirkland annexation of Kingsgate.
More than 30 firefighters and community supporters turned out for a brief flag-lowering ceremony at the station on 144th Street, now in the City of Kirkland. Bagpipers played “Amazing Grace” as firefighters from the station stood in the rain and lowered the flag.
“This is hard; this station has been serving the area since 1972,” said Tony Wood, Woodinville Fire & Rescue firefighter.
Adminstrators of deemed the station closure necessary because that area is entirely within Kirkland city limits as of the June 1 annexation. If the district kept Station 34, Woodinville taxpayers would effectively be paying for services that are the responsibility of Kirkland, said Joan S. Montegary, the District’s Chief Administrative Officer.
The District is expected to lose about , plus another $400,000 in property tax revenue. The total impact of the annexation to the district is estimated to be about $2 million. The actual figures are currently being determined based on the District’s valuation as of the end of December 2010, Montegary explained.
Six firefighters who were assigned to Station 34 are now employees of the Kirkland Fire Department.
Members of IAFF Local 2950, the Woodinville firefighters union, are concerned that the newly annexed area, as well as nearby neighborhoods still in Woodinville, will not be adequately protected with the closure of Station 34. With that station out of commission (the District still owns the building, which will now but used for storage), the District is left with only three active stations to cover the City of Woodinville and unincorporated King County Woodinville.
Just as the closing ceremony was about to begin, at 7:59, the last call for Station 34 came in, a medical emergency. The call was answered by the aid car from Station 31 that was there attending the ceremony.
Tomorrow, no one will be at the station to take a call.