OCFA vehicle
An Orange County Fire Authority vehicle. Photo by John Schreiber.

The Placentia City Council voted to part ways with the Orange County Fire Authority and establish its own city-run fire department, it was announced Wednesday.

“Establishing a locally controlled and operated City of Placentia Fire Department — with no additional cost to taxpayers — provides our residents the best innovation for life-saving services,” City Administrator Damien Arrula said. ”Our own local City Fire Department model allows the City to expand the excellent local services residents rely upon with direct accountability to our taxpayers and residents.”

A city-run fire department would provide the city with an increased capacity to quickly dispatch ambulances to emergency 911 calls, “saving lives, time and money for our residents,” Mayor Rhonda Shader said. “This model increases 911 collaboration and life-saving services in an integrated public safety model, by bringing all of these services into greater transparency and accountability to our Placentia citizenry.”

The move will also provide for greater collaboration with the city’s police department and allow the city to re-invest in the department, PPD Chief Darin Lenyi said.

“The City will be undertaking the decisive steps necessary to ensure a seamless transition,” Mayor Pro Tem and Former Police Chief Ward Smith said. “We look forward to continuing to serve and keep the community informed as we improve these essential life-saving services for our residents.”

In a letter posted on the Orange County Professional Firefighters Association — which represents OCFA firefighters — the group said the move would put “the health and safety of their residents in jeopardy. Period.”

The group said Placentia residents who call 911 have been able to rely on the “rapid arrival of experienced, trained and committed Firefighters and Paramedics from the OCFA to respond and save lives and property on a daily basis. ”

The city had contracted with the OCFA for the past 23 years.

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