Fire station on route to Vegas understaffed, firefighters say

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Only two firefighters are on duty at the Baker fire station where 40,000 vehicles a day pass by on the route to Las Vegas. (KABC)

The 15 freeway through the Mojave Desert sees some 40,000 vehicles a day, many of them traveling between Las Vegas and Southern California.

But a 100-mile stretch of that freeway is covered by a single fire station in Baker that has only two San Bernardino County firefighters on duty per shift.

The Baker station covers some 4,000 square miles of territory, from freeway to desert.

And a lot can happen out there, from tour bus crashes to big-rig fires and serious car accidents.

The city of Baker - best known for the "world's tallest thermometer" roadside attraction - has only about 735 residents. That means little property tax revenue to help fund fire services.

That means any funding to add more fire resources would require action by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.

One of the captains at the Baker station is pushing the county to add a third firefighter. The firefighters union says Baker should have two fully-manned fire engines, plus an extra fire station closer to the Nevada state line.

The county board will have some difficult choices to make as there are other areas of the county that are also short of funding, noted Division Chief Dan Munsey with the county fire department.

"If we put a fire station every 10 or 15 minutes from each other it would cost billions of dollars," Munsey said. "We can't do that."
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fire departmentslas vegasBakerSan Bernardino County
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