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Carlsbad fire station
Carlsbad Fire Chief Mike Calderwood speaks during a June 22 press conference in Carlsbad where the city revealed a rendering of the new Fire Station No. 2 at the intersection of El Camino Real and Arenal Road. Photo by Steve Puterski

Carlsbad moves forward on new fire station project

CARLSBAD — Five years after voters approved Measure O, the city and Carlsbad Fire Department are ready to construct a new fire station.

The Carlsbad City Council held a press conference on June 22 with Fire Chief Mike Calderwood to unveil the renderings for a new Fire Station No. 2, located at the intersection of El Camino Real and Arenal Road in La Costa.

According to Paz Gomez, director of Public Works, the cost is about $11.2 million, and construction by Barnhart-Reese Construction is expected to be completed in summer 2022. The current crew at the station is operating from a temporary setup at the Dove Library, she said.

“The old station is very shallow and very short, so a lot of the modern fire equipment won’t fit,” Calderwood said. “The new station has modern size bays that are the right height and deep enough to fit a ladder truck.”

Councilwoman Teresa Acosta, who represents District 4 where the station is located, gave a brief history of the station, noting it was built in 1969 with wooden shingles, which ironically, she said, are a fire hazard.

Acosta said the city took over the fire station from the county, which originally built it, and La Costa became a part of Carlsbad in 1972 because those residents wanted the city’s fire protection.

Sparky the Fire Dog helps Carlsbad firefighters unveil a rendering of the city’s new Fire Station No. 2. Demolition begins next week, and construction is expected to be completed in June 2022. Photo by Steve Puterski

Acosta also noted when the station was constructed, just one firefighter was stationed at the house and responded to 250 calls per year. Now, the CFD has five firefighters/paramedics responding to more than 4,000 calls per year, she added.

But as the years have gone by, the station has fallen out of code and unable to house modern engines and other equipment, Calderwood said.

The new station is two stories and will nearly triple the current square footage. The building’s release point will come onto El Camino Real instead of going through the intersection, according to Steve Stewart, the project manager for the city.

Additionally, the new station will have more bedrooms, higher ceilings for new engines, rooftop solar panels and solar water heating, and electric vehicle charging stations. Calderwood said the added bedrooms will help with adding trainees and wildlife fire staff during red flag conditions.

“It’s going to be built all up to the latest codes, unlike what we have now,” Stewart said. “We have just about 3,900-square feet now, and the new station will be about 10,700-square feet.”

In 2016, the council approved Measure O to go on the ballot, which required the voters to approve the public works project because it cost more than $1 million. It passed with 71.4% of the vote.

From there, the city research other possible locations for the station, along with rebuilding on its current site, Gomez said. In the end, the city opted for its current location with some ingress and egress modifications to work in good faith with the adjacent residents and Omni La Costa Resort & Spa.

“Next week, we’re starting demolition,” Stewart said.

1 comment

nc4concern June 25, 2021 at 6:49 pm

How many buildings in Carlsbad that are so tall that the city needs a hook and ladder? Encinitas has a hook and ladder truck that spends most of the time on medical calls and the rest of the time driving around town.

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