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Lathrop looks to make it clear LM Fire is go to agency
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If the Lathrop City Council gives its blessing, the agency that has always provided fire protection for the City of Lathrop will formally become the official agency that enforces the fire code within the city limits. 

Last month the Lathrop City Council voted 4-0 to approve amending language within the Lathrop Municipal Code that makes the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District the officially designated agency for enforcing the fire code within the boundaries of Lathrop. It was an issue that was murky based on the language that identified the “City of Lathrop” as the official designee responsible for upholding those laws and regulations. 

With the LMFD a separate independent entity apart from the City of Lathrop – with its own elected board and revenue sources – the need for language clarification will allow the district, which has served the city and the surrounding areas since before it officially became a city, to focus on enforcement. 

And the new language could come in handy this Fourth of July when the fireworks season –which has been rife with illegal aerial fireworks that have started fires within the city limits –  kicks into high gear. Last month the council voted to allow both Lathrop Police Services and the LMFD to write citations to tenants and property owners when illegal fireworks are being lit off, and authorized City Attorney Salvador Navarette to prosecute those cases in San Joaquin County Superior Court without having to forward the matter onto the District Attorney’s office for consideration. By naming LMFD specifically, it will close the door on legal challenges based on outdated language within the city’s municipal code. 

But the matter wasn’t without some controversy. 

Prior to the council’s decision to authorize the amendment, Fred Manding – the Fire Chief of the French Camp McKinley Fire District – sent a letter challenging the amendment, but did show up to speak to the council the night that they made their decision. 

Manding was appointed as the Interim Fire Chief after Jim Monty left LMFD, but the permanent position was ultimately given to Gene Neely, who still serves as the district’s Fire Chief. 

Part of the issue that created some confusion between the two districts was how the expansion of Lathrop’s city limits as its borders and its sphere of influence extend north may have impacted other districts that previously provided service to those areas. 

In addition to that, LMFD was recently named the first emergency service entity in San Joaquin County to equip its EMTs with advanced skills that will allow for the administration of lifesaving drugs in the event of an overdose or an allergic reaction. The pilot program was initially administered by the French Camp McKinley Fire District. 

 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email jcampbell@mantecabulletin.com or call 209.249.3544.