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Lathrop-Manteca Fire celebrates 75 years with Saturday event
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Lathrop-Manteca Fire Chief Gene Neely knows that there's a tough road ahead for the district.

Rumblings from within the county about a change in how they collect and deliver their assessments - the very lifeblood that allows the district to funds its budget and serve its customers - are starting to surface and could have far-reaching implications.

But for the time being - at least for this weekend - the focus will be on celebrating the 75 years that the independent district has provided fire support and service to residents of Lathrop, and rural Manteca.

An event is planned at Station 34, located at 460 River Islands Parkway, on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hot dogs and hamburgers will be provided, and guests will be able to take a tour of the district's newest station and meet the firefighters that serve the district on a daily basis.

Since 1936 the district has grown to include a total of four stations strategically placed to cater both to residents in the community of Lathrop as well as rural residents outside of Manteca's city limits.

While the boundaries for both of the communities have grown - and a new station was added to serve the portion of Lathrop expected to grow in that area - the two rural stations continue to serve those populations.

Last year the district ran over 3,000 calls, more than one-third of which were medical calls. Only 166 were actual fires. And out of all of the calls that came in, 85 percent originated within the city of Lathrop compared to 11 percent from the outskirts of Manteca.

One of the things that didn't exist when the district was initially formed that plays a major role in the number of calls that units run today was the construction of I-5 - contributing to occasional grass fires during the hot, dry months and regular accidents that can be exacerbated by bad weather.