City Approves Replacing Natomas Fire Station

Fire Station No. 15 in South Natomas / NatomasBuzz.com file photo

Fire Station No. 15 in South Natomas / NatomasBuzz.com file photo

BY ROBYN EIFERTSEN
THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

An outdated fire station in South Natomas will be replaced as part of the final budget approved last week by the Sacramento City Council.

The new firehouse will replace Fire Station No. 15 currently located at 1591 Newborough Drive near the corner of Truxel Road and West El Camino. The council also voted to replace fire station No. 14 at 1341 North C Street.

The council OKd $10 million to replace both stations as part of the 2015-16 budget.

The council voted 6-3 on the city’s proposed operating budget and capital improvement program that included funding Fire Stations No. 14. and 15.

Fire Station No. 15 primarily responds to calls for South Natomas, Sacramento Fire Department spokesperson Roberto Padilla said. Fire Station No. 14, as well as other stations in Sacramento, also respond to fire calls for South Natomas, he added.

Padilla said both stations are outdated and do not have enough room for neither the fire apparatus nor firefighters. For example, Fire Station No. 15’s fire engine “is almost unable to fit,” according to a May 3 post on the fire department’s Facebook page.

“It’s obsolete,” said Padilla of Fire Station No. 15. “(The station) was supposed to be temporary. That was the original idea in the ’80s.”

Fire Station No. 14, he added, was built in the 1940s.

“You pose a risk to the community if there’s a structural issue, like an earthquake,” Padilla said. “And the equipment can’t get out.”

A new site for each fire station is in the planning stages, Padilla said. Both will be located with a half mile from their current sites, he added.

Currently, city officials are looking at putting Fire Station No. 15 in Park Plaza, located at 1640 West El Camino Avenue, according to David Gonsalves, district director for city Councilman Jeff Harris, District 3. Planners are looking at building the new Fire Station No. 14 on the corner of Ahern and North B streets, Gonsalves said.

Over the years, the city has twice modified Fire Station No. 15’s structural frame to allow for newer model fire trucks to park inside, said Yadi Kavakebi, city facilities and real property management superintendent. Each modification cost between $15,000 to $20,000, he said.

About $4 million from the city’s general fund and $4 million from Measure U monies will pay for the new fire stations. Voters passed Measure U in 2012 to restore city services including facilities.

Another $500,000 from the South Natomas Community Infrastructure Fund and nearly $1.5 million from a general facilities benefit assessment will also be used to fund building the new fire stations.

During the June 9 meeting, Mayor Kevin Johnson and Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby and Council Members Larry Carr, Rick Jennings, Jay Schenirer and Allen Warren voted in favor of the budget and capital improvement programs. Council members Jeff Harris, Steve Hansen and Eric Guerra voted against the budget and improvement funds.

Both council members Jeff Harris and Steve Hansen, who represent areas in Natomas, cited concerns over possible budget overspending.