Why was Fire Station 39 closed?
The City recently closed neighborhood Fire Station 39, near Avenue 64 and Colorado Boulevard, because an independent safety audit showed it posed a “significant risk of structural failure” in a major earthquake (see full study at www.cityofpasadena.net/fire).
What are the immediate plans for a temporary site?
After looking at over 400 potential sites (which were deemed unacceptable due to narrow streets, topography, size and/or condition of the properties), City staff identified the lower playground of the San Rafael Elementary School as the best site. The City and Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) are in discussions regarding the terms of the proposed City use of the property. City staff is preparing to have the current Station 39 torn down as a possible backup location in case the school site is not available. Of course, that would mean a new temporary location would still need to be identified before construction of the replacement facility could begin.
As a 24/7 response site, what impact will the temporary facility have on the adjacent neighborhood?
Historically, Station 39 responds to an average of about 2 calls per day so the impacts on the neighborhood should be minimal. It is a common misnomer that red lights and sirens are used every time a fire vehicle leaves the station. When responding in residential neighborhoods at night, the siren is only used when traffic is encountered. Firefighters are very good neighbors. It has been said that “the two most difficult things for a Fire Chief to do are to open a neighborhood fire station and close a neighborhood fire station.”
What fire suppression and medical equipment will be housed at the temporary site?
The Department prefers to house a regular fire engine with four personnel if the site can safely accommodate the equipment and temporary living quarters. However, a smaller two-person vehicle may be necessary based on site constraints. In either case, paramedic services will be restored.
Where are Engine 39 and the personnel who worked at that station currently assigned?
Engine 39 is currently in Reserve status and used by other stations to ensure optimal performance, which is dramatically decreased when parked for long periods of time. The crew members assigned to Station #39 prior to its closing have been used to fill existing vacancies within the Fire Department. The engine will be returned to servicing District 39 as soon as a replacement station can be built
What is the approximate timeframe to open a temporary site and how long is temporary?
The actual time frame for opening the temporary Station is predicated on reaching agreement with the Pasadena Unified School District for use of the San Rafael School site and the City obtaining a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). The City’s goal was to have the temporary Station #39 open before the end of the year, but this no longer seems possible based on the recent concerns expressed with using the school site and the extended time associated with obtaining the CUP.
What does the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) process for a temporary site involve and how can the public participate?
A Conditional Use Permit involves developing a clear description of how the temporary station will operate as well as an analysis of the potential environmental impacts, in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). This analysis will consider amongst other things traffic and noise. The application for the Conditional Use Permit will be considered by a Hearing Officer at a publicly noticed hearing wherein any interested party may speak in favor or in opposition to the proposed land-use.
How will a temporary site be funded while also seeking money for securing and rebuilding a new station 39?
The temporary station and the design for the new station are being funded with capital funds remaining from the recent seismic retrofit of City Hall. Capital funds to build the replacement station have not yet been identified and will likely need to be combined with the funding needed to resolve the structural and operational issues at six other fire stations in Pasadena. The total cost of which is estimated at $70 million.
What is the anticipated timeframe to build a new fire station?
The design phase of the project, which is already underway, should be completed in the Fall of 2012. Construction is estimated to take between 18 and 24 months after the contract is awarded. However, the construction contract cannot be awarded until funding has been identified and appropriated to the project.
Have 9-1-1 response times varied as compared to before the closure of Station 39?
The closure of any station will likely have impacts on response times within that district and across the City as fewer personnel are available to respond to simultaneous calls. District 39 has seen an average increase in response times of approximately two minutes since the station closure.
Who is currently responding to 9-1-1 calls in District 39?
The Fire Department has automatic aid agreements with surrounding fire agencies. As a result, the closest available fire agency will respond. These include: Los Angeles City, South Pasadena, and Pasadena’s own Stations #31 and #38.
Download District 39 Fact Sheet & FAQs
For further questions or to request a firefighter to present to your neighborhood group, please contact Emergency Management Coordinator Lisa Derderian at (626) 744-7276 or Lderderian@cityofpasadena.net