By Jennifer Grimes

Triplicate staff writer

The Del Norte County Search and Rescue team got the green light yesterday to use Cooper Street Fire Station as its long-awaited headquarters.

In a unanimous vote, the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors threw off the roadblocks that had kept Search and Rescue volunteers from using Cooper Station as a much-needed shelter for equipment and central gathering place.

We wont use the fact that Search and Rescue is in there as a reason to revoke the deed, said county counsel Bob Black.

The county owns the property, but deeded it to the Crescent Fire Protection District when CFPD was in need of a main station some 40 years ago. At the end of the deed period, ownership of Cooper station would go to CFPD.

Since then, CFPD had the much larger Washington station built. Now only one fire engine is stored at Cooper Station for emergencies in the Filkins tract.

With the open space in the dilapidated building, CFPD proposed to lease the building to Search and Rescue but only if CFPD could retain its right to own the building when the countys deed ran out.

Because the fire district no longer needs the station, the county supervisors have discussed taking back ownership to make better use of it for the good of the community, according to supervisor Clyde Eller.

Leasing Cooper Station to Search and Rescue would violate the deed and take the building away from CFPD which wanted the building as a financial asset, according to the districts board president Joe Kravitz.

A tug-of-war ensued with Search and Rescue in the middle and without a shelter.

Yesterday county supervisors ended the struggle authorizing CFPD to allow Search and Rescue to use the building.

Currently, a letter notifying the fire district of the decision is being drafted by Black, who said it should be ready to send by Friday.