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New San Diego Fire Stations Break Ground

Above: San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, third from left, was on hand to help fire and local officials break ground for the county-funded project.

San Diego County officials broke ground Thursday on a new $3.5-million fire station in Boulevard.

Aired 1/23/14 on KPBS News.

San Diego County officials broke ground on a new fire station in Boulevard. The facility replaces an outdated fire station in the rural area.

San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob was on hand to help fire and local officials break ground for the county-funded project. She said the station will be a key part of an effort to control backcountry wildfires in the region.

"It is an investment in saving lives and property," Jacob said. "And this is where our big fires start."

Right now, firefighters can't live at the existing station and that means no around the clock fire protection.

The new station will change that.

When complete, it will include living quarters in just less than 8,000-square-feet of space that features energy-efficient upgrades. Herman Reddick with the San Diego County Fire Authority said volunteer firefighters will be the first to staff the station when it opens next year.

"Once they are in place, then we'll bring in the Cal Fire career folks. They will be in place and work together side by side," Reddick said. "In the future, we'll bring in other assets such as medical units and equipment, so this will be a central location in the back country for this part of the county"

That will make it easier for firefighters to snuff out wildfires before they become huge conflagrations, according to Jacob.

"All told, the county, since the Cedar Fire, has invested some $285 million for more fire engines, better stations, better communications, notification procedures," Jacob said. "So we're far better prepared today than we were in 2003, as a result of the county's investment. And this is just one more step."

This is the 16th rural fire building project the county has undertaken since 2008.

Mission Valley

The city is is opening a second new fire station, a 16,000-square-foot building in Mission Valley. It will be across Friars Road from Qualcomm Stadium, where a temporary facility has been for seven years.

The two-story structure will have 16 dormitory-style rooms and five vehicle bays, according to the city of San Diego.

Two fire vehicles and the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department's Hazardous Materials Team will be located at the facility.

The HazMat crew will move from Mira Mesa to the more centrally located new facility when it's complete, SDFRD Chief Javier Mainar said at a news conference.

The new station also will reduce response times. According to Mainar, the fire trucks now are required to make right turns onto eastbound Friars Road, even when the address to which they are responding is to the west.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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