Firefighter specialist David Woodard Jr. looks forward to a new roomier fire station.
That’s because the Fresno Fire Department has operated out of a house since 2005 at Ventana and Celeste avenues west of Highway 99.
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“I’m very excited for this move to happen. It’s long overdue,” Woodard said. “We’re kind of confined (at the current location). We will have more room to spread out. We will have better access to the streets so we can serve our community better.”
The ceremonial groundbreaking for the $7 million fire station was Monday morning on a two-acre plot on Shaw Avenue east of Grantland Avenue.
Move Long Overdue
“This is going to meet the needs for response times, improvement in this area as it continues to grow. We are excited about that.” — Fire Chief Kerri Donis
“Our west of Highway 99 area has experienced tremendous growth over the last 20 years,” Soria said. “I also want to thank residents for their patience, because I know that many of them wanted to see this a long time ago.”
Reflective of that growth, a new Central Unified high school campus is underway nearby at Grantland and Ashlan avenues.
“This is going to meet the needs for response times, improvement in this area as it continues to grow. We are excited about that,” Fire Chief Kerri Donis said.
Development of a Permanent Station
City officials expect the new facility will open in early 2021.
Half of the construction costs are from the city’s general fund. The other half is from interdepartmental loans that will be repaid through impact fees on homes, apartments, commercial, and industrial developments.
The city bought what was once a vacant lot in two transactions. The first purchase took place about 15 years ago, city fire officials recalled. When the initial plan for a two-story firehouse did not pan out, it was more economical to purchase the adjoining lot. The city did so in 2015.
Donis said the new station will be “value engineered” and built with blocks and a stick frame. Other stations, Donis said, are built for around $10 million.
Plans for the New Station
Donis said the new station will have three bays and six bedrooms and could potentially be expanded. Initially, the station will house two fire apparatuses, with more to come.
“This plans for that future growth. In the meantime, those bays can be used for storage of our reserve apparatus,” Donis said.