Malibu-area fire station dedication set

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Active Member
May 18, 2007
United States of America
Malibu-area fire station dedication set.
New county facility cost $5.9 million

The Ventura County Fire Department on Tuesday will dedicate a new Malibu Station 56 on Pacific Coast Highway near the county line, which will replace a deteriorating facility donated in 1961 by Los Angeles Rotary Club No. 5.

The modern station, which includes a 75-foot radio antenna, cost county taxpayers $5.9 million, according to Abbe Berns, assistant director of fire services.

"The land cost was $1.1 million and the cost of construction was $4.8 million," Berns said. "We will sell a half-acre in the future to recoup some of the land cost."

The one-story fire station, with a driveway that opens onto PCH, provides two offices, a kitchen, adjacent dining area, workshop, three small bedrooms, two bathrooms (one for the public), storage rooms, and a workout room for the three shifts of firefighters who are on 24-hour duty.

Another part of the structure has a pair of two-story bays that will house two firetrucks, each valued at about $500,000 when fully equipped. A smaller "patrol" truck used to fight brush fires will also be at Station 56.

"What I really appreciate is that in the last two years, since it was announced the station would be built, is how the local residents have really taken to it — like this is their fire station," said Capt. Alex Sanchez.

The old Station 56 was a two-bedroom, one-bath apartment over a garage large enough to hold a patrol pumper. A structure, basically a two-story shed, housed a full-size pumper at the base of the steps leading down from the apartment.

"We've got a new house," said firefighter Rick Gonzales. "It's the nicest fire station I've ever been in — anywhere."

In 2005, some nearby residents questioned the height of the station's radio antenna when the proposal was reviewed by the county Planning Commission.

A compromise was reached after the Fire Department reduced the antenna height from 95 feet to its current 75 feet. The lower 55 feet is a latticed tower, topped by a 20-foot-long whip antenna.

Sanchez said the antenna, which will add three channels to the station's communications system and enhance communication with mutual aid responders, had to be located at the fire station because of security concerns and to provide "direct line of sight" with a relay tower near Point Mugu.

"We've always had dead zones in this sector because of the topography, and still do," said Sanchez. "But this antenna really boosts our communications capability. We do a lot of rescues, respond to a lot of accidents up and down PCH, and the enhanced communication will be a great help to us and the community."

The dedication ceremony is open to the public and will begin at 5:30 p.m Tuesday, with comments from Fire Chief Bob Roper and County Supervisor Linda Parks. Fire Station 56 is at 11855 Pacific Coast Highway.

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