CARLSBAD — The voters of this seaside community will have plenty of big decisions come November.
One of those decisions includes whether or not to construct a new Fire Station No. 2
on El Camino Real and Arenal Road.
Carlsbad Fire Chief Mike Davis is seeking public support for the question and said the station, along with station No. 1, are the only two of the six in the city required to go on the ballot should rehabilitation or construction costs total more than $1 million due to Proposition H. The other firehouses fall under a reserve account and do not require a vote.
The projected price tag to rebuild the dilapidated station No. 2 is between $7 million and $10.5 million, which is not taken lightly by Davis. The new facility would be a two-story building with current amenities.
“It’s falling apart,” the chief said. “We’re looking forward to delivering quickly. We’re asking the question and we are going to be as swift as we can be to get our community a new fire station.”
Davis stressed the importance of the new facility, although it will not come with some of the amenities as seen in station No. 5, which was recently constructed. Nevertheless, the structure, which is more than 50 years old, is in the midst of a major plumbing issue and does not meet city, state and firefighting standards.
The current station does not meet height and length requirements for fire engines and does not have the ability for firefighters to wash hoses and turnouts, refill breathing equipment and no gender specific bathrooms.
Current fire engines, meanwhile, must be lowered to fit into the bays due to the height limitations.
Also, newer fire engines have been extended by 18 inches due to emission controls, which takes diesel exhaust and re-burns it to prevent pollution, the chief said.
In addition, it is the busiest station in the city responding to 4,000 calls annually out of the 19,250 citywide responses last year, Davis added.
“It was built to house one firefighter,” he explained. “We had to do some retrofitting over the years as we got busier. It now has five full-time personnel. We can’t put modern fire engines in it.”
Fire officials presented a report to the City Council several weeks ago detailing preliminary aspects of the new station.
Although the report detailed building on the current site, Davis said if a larger piece of land becomes available, the department and city would look into building on the new location in the immediate area.
He said no concrete plans are in place, as the department is waiting for the results of the ballot question before committing funds for architecture and other designs.
However, Davis said if the question passes, the department would work as quickly as possible to construct the new station.
“It would meet the architectural designs of the neighborhood, which this one (the current building) does not,” he added. “I had a meeting with the neighbors and it was wonderful.”
Davis also said he is open to speaking with any resident about their concerns, the cost or possible construction of a new station.
The question will appear on the ballot as, “Do the voters of the city of Carlsbad approve spending existing city funds from various sources, including the General Fund, in an amount to exceed $1 million to construct a replacement for Fire Station 2 located at the intersection of El Camino Real and Arenal Road for an estimated cost range of $7 million up to $10.5 million?”