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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Nevada City CAL FIRE Fire Station Nearing Completion

 Cal Fire station construction coming along

 A crew works along the roadside in front of the driveway as part of the construction project at Cal Fire Station 20 in Nevada City Thursday morning.
Photo for The Union by John Hart
Drivers passing through the intersection of Zion Street and Ridge Road in Nevada City over the past year have watched the progress on the construction of a Cal Fire station located there.

The $6.2 million project that began in February 2010 is about 60 percent finished and on track for an August completion, said Leia Riley, project director from the California Department of General Services.

Once complete, the upgrade will include a new barracks and mess hall, administration building, apparatus building, auto shop and dozer shed, Riley said.

“The buildings on the site were very old and didn't meet current codes and didn't meet operational needs of Cal Fire,” Riley said.

Cal Fire's new auto shop will have five bays for fire engines, replacing the existing two-bay structure, said Randy Smith, Cal Fire Deputy Chief for Fire Protection Operations.

Additionally, the new five-bay facility will have several lifts to allow quick access to the underside of fire engines for faster repairs, Riley said.

Once completed, the upgraded facilities will have the capacity to house 10 permanent staff members year-round, plus nine seasonal firefighters during the summer and fall, Smith said.

Along with the upgraded auto shop, the station will have the addition of an on-site heavy equipment mechanic, Smith said.

“Most agencies try to keep their repairs in house because of cost,” Smith said.

With an increased ability to store engines properly, Riley said the new facility will act as an area hub where surrounding Cal Fire stations will come for repairs to their engines in the offseason.

“It's coming along well,” Riley said. “This new facility will be great for the community.”

The administration building is almost completed, Riley said. As are the combined new barracks and mess hall, which Smith expects to have personnel moved in to by late March or early April. After staff is moved over to the new facilities, the old administration building, barracks and mess hall will be demolished.

Construction on the project has been in accordance with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, Riley said.

Trees removed from the site were either milled for benches or other structural uses or employed in fire training exercises, Riley said.

“Though it's been a change for the facility — everything from the aesthetics of the building to landscaping plans — I think the project is progressing well,” Riley said. “I hope to see it at its completion stage.”

Funding for the upgrade came from bonds, Smith said, which are set to mature/expire in August. Local companies Empire Fence Co. and Hansen Bros. Enterprises contracted to work on the facility.

“I love it. It's a lovely area in the woods,” Riley said. “And it's coming along really nicely, right on schedule.”

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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