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Fire officials on Friday marked the official beginning of a new era in firefighting for Contra Costa County.

The Contra Costa Fire Protection District formally announced its annexation of the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District in a Brentwood ceremony.

The move adds 128,000 residents of eastern Contra Costa County to the area that ConFire oversees.

It is expected to quicken response times in cities such as Oakley, Bethel Island and Knightsen. The expansion covers 249 square miles, a 45% increase over the district’s previous coverage territory.

ConFire now will provide fire and emergency medical services to 11 cities and 11 unincorporated areas in Contra Costa County.

“Today marks our arrival at the finish line of a pursuit for improved fire and emergency services that has been years in the making,” Fire Chief Lewis Broschard said. “I am appreciative of all the work from the many elected and fire leaders that has gone into making this day a reality.”

A preview of the annexation came on June 1, when a new fire station opened in Oakley.

Fire engines from both the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District and East Contra Costa Fire Protection District line up along the road after the Transfer of Command Ceremony in Brentwood City Park on Friday, July 1, 2022. The event also highlighted the combined resources of the new Con Fire. (Wangyuxuan Xu/Bay Area News Group)  Related Articles
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A fire axe from the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District is displayed during the Transfer of Command Ceremony in Brentwood City Park on Friday, July 1, 2022. The event marked the merger of the two districts, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, and the Contra Costa Fire Protection District, into one, ConFire, to better serve the entire county. (Wangyuxuan Xu/Bay Area News Group)  Members from the Contra Costa Fire Rescue team and Tracie Dutter of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District pray during the Transfer of Command Ceremony in Brentwood City Park on Friday, July 1, 2022. The event marked the merger of the two districts, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, and the Contra Costa Fire Protection District, into one, ConFire, to better serve the entire county. . (Wangyuxuan Xu/Bay Area News Group)  Kristopher Aquino and his son Kyle Aquino (1) stand in front of a fire engine after the Transfer of Command Ceremony in Brentwood City Park on Friday, July 1, 2022. The event marked the merger of the two districts, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, and the Contra Costa Fire Protection District, into one, ConFire, to better serve the entire county. (Wangyuxuan Xu/Bay Area News Group)  Children play after the Transfer of Command Ceremony in Brentwood City Park on Friday, July 1, 2022. The event marked the merger of the two districts, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, and the Contra Costa Fire Protection District, into one, ConFire, to better serve the entire county. (Wangyuxuan Xu/Bay Area News Group)  A family takes photos with Con Fire mascot “Sparky” after the Transfer of Command Ceremony in Brentwood City Park on Friday, July 1, 2022. The event marked the merger of the two districts, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, and the Contra Costa Fire Protection District, into one, ConFire, to better serve the entire county. (Wangyuxuan Xu/Bay Area News Group) 

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Dozens killed in Egypt church fire

(CNN)At least 41 people were killed, and at least 14 injured after a fire broke out at a church in Giza's Imbaba neighborhood in greater Cairo on Sunday, according to a spokesperson for the Egyptian Coptic Church citing health officials.

At least two officers and three civil protection service members were injured responding to the fire at Abu Sefein church, Egypt's interior ministry announced in a Facebook post.The statement added that the fire started around 9 a.m. local time and was caused by an electrical failure in an air conditioning unit on the church's second floor.
    Most of the deaths and injuries were caused by smoke inside church classrooms after the electric failure, the interior ministry said.  
      The fire broke out during a Sunday service at the Abu Sefein Coptic church."We are in continuous contact with the local authorities and the Health Ministry," the head of the Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II said, according to the church spokesperson. Read MoreEgyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi tweeted his condolences to the victims of the fire at Abu Sefein church.
        "I offer my sincere condolences to the families of the innocent victims who moved to the side of their Lord in one of the  houses of worship," El Sisi said.
          The Egyptian president said he is closely following developments of the "tragic accident" and that he has directed state agencies and institutions to take the necessary measures to immediately deal with the tragedy and provide care for those injured.

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