Fire District 3 absorbs Langley

"Langley fire Chief Don Fowler handed over the keys to the trucks and the front door of the Langley Fire Department last week, officially making the department part of Fire Protection District 3.It was the last thing Fowler needed to do in the aftermath of a vote on Nov. 2 to annex the department to FD 3. For him and his firefighters, it was a happy moment, bringing the promise of better training and more funding for the department.FD 3 voters approved the annexation by a margin of 3,246 to 1,248, while Langley voters gave their approval 123 to 53. A simple majority was needed in both jurisdictions.Speaking to the Langley firefighters last Tuesday night, outgoing FD 3 Commissioner Bruce Bell said that while it was sad to see the end of an 87-year tradition at the Langley department, they could expect better funding, equipment, training, and benefits through the fire district than was received from the city of Langley over the years.Bell commended Chief Fowler and the firefighters for making do on the $23,000 a year the city put toward funding the department. He noted that FD 3 spends about $100,000 a month on its operations, which includes six stations.“$23,000? That wouldn’t even pay for our chief’s vacation,” Bell joked.Fowler agreed that the funds his department has had over the years have not been enough. The annexation, he said, will guarantee the safety of the the city and of the department volunteers.“It’s the best thing for the community. It’ll give us the best training, which is the best thing for the volunteers,” he said.Langley Mayor Lloyd Furman said he too was proud of the work Langley’s volunteers have done over the years. He said he was equally proud that voters, FD 3 and the city were finally able to agree on a satisfactory annexation plan because it was the “best solution” to the city’s fire protection funding troubles.Bell noted that there was a two-week stretch in October during which he paid no attention to his own landscaping business in order to negotiate the annexation.On Wednesday, Bell gave the reason why he and Furman took so much time and effort to make the annexation work.“When we were negotiating, we knew it wasn’t for the dollars, it was for the safety of the taxpayers,” Bell said.All administration for the Langley fire hall will now be centered at the FD 3 headquarters at Bayview."

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