August 23, 2021

San Diego Union-Tribune: Oceanside to get $3.5 million for new fire station

Oceanside will get a $3.5 million federal grant to help build the city’s new downtown fire station because of the location’s proximity to Camp Pendleton.

The relocated fire house on Civic Center Drive will replace the original Fire Station No. 1, built in 1929 on Pier View Way and said to be one of the oldest operating stations in the nation.

Located just 2.3 miles from the main entrance to the Marine Corps base, the city’s Fire Station No. 1 could be called to help extinguish a large fire on the military installation. The new Oceanside site allows a bigger station with more room for firefighters and their equipment, including a ladder truck to protect the six- and seven-stories buildings that are new to downtown Oceanside.

Oceanside purchased the lot with two old buildings that will be demolished to make way for the new station in 2004 for $1.6 million. The construction project is expected to go out for bids later this year.

Oceanside’s fire station is just one of 13 projects the United States and its territories to qualify for grant money from the Defense Community Infrastructure Program.

The federal funding will be used with proceeds from Oceanside’s Measure X to cover the estimated $18.6 million in construction costs. Measure X, approved by city voters in November 2018, implemented a half-cent sales tax for seven years to pay for public safety, infrastructure projects, road repairs and programs to help the homeless.

U.S. Rep. Mike Levin of San Juan Capistrano, whose district includes northern San Diego County and southern Orange County, said the grant was “excellent news.”

“The existing fire station ... lacks the ability to house apparatuses adequate to serve the growing downtown area of Oceanside and the adjacent area of Camp Pendleton,” Levin said in a news release. “I’m proud of the efforts taken, including my letters of support ... to secure this funding that is critical to both the safety of the firefighters and the surrounding communities they protect.”

Noted architect Irving Gill designed the old fire station along with the nearby original City Hall, now home to the Oceanside Museum of Art. Besides being too small to house the personnel and equipment needed there, and the structure is not earthquake safe.

Oceanside has a total of eight fire stations with 115 sworn personnel to cover the city’s 42 square miles, according to the city website.

By:  Phil Diehl
Source: San Diego Union-Tribune