JULIAN, Calif. -- A Superior Court judge Friday ordered volunteer firefighters who had locked themselves inside a fire station in Julian to leave, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Eastern San Diego County residents voted in March to dissolve the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District and merge with the County Fire Authority. But when a county transition team went to take over the volunteer fire station later that day, they found about eight volunteer firefighters were inside. The volunteers locked the doors and refused to let the transition team inside. The fire district claimed the vote shouldn’t have happened because three former board members planned the dissolution of the fire department in secret. The sit-in continued for the past two months.
The volunteers had been "keeping hostage" the property, San Diego Superior Court Judge Randa Trapp said, according to the Union-Tribune. "They need to leave forthwith. They need to be out. It is time."
Cory Briggs, an attorney representing the Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District, appealed the decision with hours of the ruling, according to the newspaper.
The station appeared deserted when a FOX 5 crew visited Friday night. Besides an ambulance and an equipment vehicle, there were no vehicles parked outside. The windows were darkened and no one answered multiple knocks at the door.