News Release

SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB

DATE: December 16, 2011  

CONTACT: Steve Schmidt, 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108

 

LAKESIDE CELEBRATES NEW FIRE STATION

County Supervisor Dianne Jacob Jacob, together with officials from the County and the Lakeside Fire Protection District, formally unveiled Lakeside’s new $15.2 million fire station and administrative center today.
 
Jacob and Lakeside Fire Protection Chief Andy Parr said the world-class station — which County Supervisors funded with $14.5 million in redevelopment funds — would not only help improve fire protection and emergency medical response, but also be a centerpiece that could spark more improvements that fit Lakeside’s rural character.

“I can’t think of a better Christmas present than this fire station to the Lakeside community,” Jacob told the crowd that attended Friday’s flag-raising and ribbon cutting. “It’s pretty special.”

Lakeside residents will get their first chance to tour the new station from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, when the fire district holds an open house.

The two-story, 24,000 square-foot station replaces the district’s smaller, outdated Station #2 in Eucalyptus Hills.

All of the fire district’s current administrative services will be housed in the new station as well as a fire engine, reserve engine, ambulance, classroom and emergency operations center. The station can support a full strike team of 20 personnel, has 10 bunk rooms, a crew office with six work stations, two captain’s offices, a 1,500-gallon emergency fuel tank, and a training tower.

The Lakeside Fire Protection District provides fire protection and emergency medical services to roughly 60,000 residents in a 55-square-mile area. It includes the communities of Lakeside, Eucalyptus Hills, Moreno, Winter Gardens, Lakeview, Johnstown, Blossom Valley, Flinn Springs, Pepper Drive and other unincorporated areas of El Cajon.

People who attended Friday’s event watched as fire crews raised the flag in front of the station as the El Capitan High School Pep Band played the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and listened as Parr dedicated the station’s new Fire Protection District Board chamber for Rick Smith.

Smith, who passed away in February at the age of 67, was a 20 year member of the fire district’s board, a longtime member of the Lakeside Community Planning Group and a tireless advocate for building the new fire station.

Jacob, meanwhile, lauded County Planning and Land Use (DPLU) Director Eric Gibson and several DPLU staff for spending “countless hours” coordinating with Lakeside stakeholders to solidify the station’s project plans, developing the agreement between the County and fire protection district and processing the project’s permits quickly.

DPLU oversaw the County’s Lakeside redevelopment plan, known as the Upper San Diego River Improvement Plan. The plan provided the project with $3.5 million in cash and $11 million — $550,000 a year for 20 years — in redevelopment tax increment funding.

Parr told the crowd that he remembered standing with other firefighters on the property beneath the new station and trying to unfurl a map in October 2003, when the Cedar fire — the largest and most destructive of the four blazes that made up San Diego County’s 2003 firestorms — was raging.

Parr said he remembered thinking, “I wish I had a fire station close by that we could go to, that had emergency power, that we could roll out that map in relative calm and come up with a defense of the community of Lakeside.” He said firefighters needed a station that could house a strike team, a place with a kitchen, showers and beds to feed, clean and rest firefighters who were “off the line,” and where fire chiefs and emergency responders could plan strategy.

“This building,” Parr said, “is that place.”