A few of us were there at
this morning, July 1, 2012,
when the last shift went off duty. A new shift didn’t arrive to take their
place. Our Bethel Island Fire Station is closed.
Ben Whitener, Karen Israel, Captain Robert Ruddick, Joni Fraga-Pratt, Page Pratt, Bob Kenny
It was a sad goodbye. A volunteer fire department started on
the Island in 1948. In the early 50s, a Quonset Hut was
erected to house the engine. In the 1970s a paid chief and an assistant were
hired and the station was manned 24/7 with paid-on-call volunteers. The
firefighters have been protecting the Island for 64
A single medical emergency person will be on the site for a
while. Engines will come to the Island from the nearby
towns of Oakley and Brentwood (over 5 miles away). The
reason for the closure, we are told, is that a bond measure on the recent
ballot did not pass.
This morning, about 45 minutes after the station closed, a
medical call came in. The firefighters just stood there. They could not go to
give aid. About 10 minutes later a fire truck from Oakley arrived on the Island.
Plans are afoot to preserve the station and get it
designated as an historic structure. You will learn more about this in further
We are born to cloth. It is the second thing we touch after our mother.
I am a quilter. My first memory is a Noah’s Ark quilt. Mr. and Mrs. Noah, the Ark, and all the animals walking toward the boat on a curving path, were appliquéd on it. The back of the quilt was yellow with red flowers. I could re-draw that quilt today from memory.
I didn’t know I was a quilter until 1994. Before that I had a huge fabric collection.