With all the bells and whistles – including roll-up doors and timers aimed at helping to improve emergency response times – the Chula Vista Fire Department now has a brand-new fire station.
The new station is located at 341 Orange Avenue. It replaces the community’s old Oxford Fire Station No. 5, which was 63 years old and certainly showing the wear and tear of those six decades in operation.
The station made its debut Thursday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony from Chula Vista city leaders.
“This fire station has the newest in technology and innovation for advancing the fire department’s mission to provide firefighting services, emergency medical response and now, medical transport services to the city of Chula Vista," Mayor Mary Casillas Salas said in a press conference to celebrate the new building.
According to the CVFD, the upgrades at the new facility are state-of-the-art, all designed to help the station meet its goal of arriving at emergency calls within seven minutes, 90% of the time. The station's new location will help with that goal, too.
Features to help with quicker response include roll-up doors and a timer in the apparatus bay that activates during calls so crews can keep track of how long it takes to get out the door.
All CVFD members on duty have an iPhone that generates an alert tone, call information and mapping. During an emergency call, a computer-generated voice message alerts crews to the incoming call while dispatchers gather information from the caller and the CVFD said this system also helps save time.
The new fire station is also much bigger than the Oxford Fire Station.
At 12,310 square feet, the new station features three drive-thru bays and 10 bunk rooms that will give the firefighters their own space, the CVFD said. The space is also big enough to house modern fire equipment. By next month, the station will also house five personnel for the city’s new Ambulance Transport Program.
“It’s an exciting day for all of us, not only because this fire station will be replacing one that is more than 60 years old, but also because this is the first time in decades that the entire west side of Chula Vista will be seeing a brand new station," said Andrea Cardenas, City Councilmember of Chula Vista’s District 4.
The station was designed by Jeff Katz Architecture and constructed by EC Construction. Its exterior is designed to complement the look of the existing adjacent South Branch Library.
The CVFD said the project cost $9 million. It is the first of two new fire stations in Chula Vista funded by Measure P, the temporary 10-year, half-cent sales tax hike to fund critical infrastructure needs in the community. Collection of the sales tax began four years ago – on April 1, 2017 – and over its lifespan, is projected to raise $178 million.
The department said this new station is intended to serve Chula Vista for the next 50 years. It will be formally dedicated in May.
According to the city of Chula Vista, the CVFD’s 10 fire stations currently respond to nearly 23,000 calls annually while covering an area of more than 52 square miles and a population of 275,000. Across Chula Vista daily, the city said there are 49 firefighters on duty.