Fire Station 39

San Rafael Neighborhoods Association is pleased to announce that Fire Station 39 will re-open on December 16th, 2013 after being closed on April 27th, 2011. Station 39 was closed for 964 days. Mallcraft, Inc. has completed the renovations and Engine 39 and the station’s crews will once again be housed at the station that first began service in 1949.

Remodeled FS 39 pic

City officials have stated the station is scheduled to open in December of this year. Residents are eager to have Engine 39 & Company back in the neighborhood. Engine 39 is staffed, each shift,  with a “4 On-A-Truck Model” which means three (3) firefighters and one (1) Paramedic.

FS 39 Sep 2013a


On April 27th, 2011 Pasadena City officials closed station 39. The city cited engineering reports presented to city staff in August 2010. These reports examined all 8 stations in the city. The reports concluded that station 39 had serious issues that quote, “In the event of a seismic event, the second floor of 39 could collapse onto the 1st floor…” The degree of the seismic event was not listed. City officials decided to error on the side of caution some 8 months later in April. The public voted in the building in March 2011.

Residents were stunned. It was the first time they had heard that the station was in trouble. The community organized, and later formed San Rafael Neighborhoods Association, to insure;

1). A temporary station would be installed including the fire engine,

2). That Station 39 would be re-built, or to re-enforced the structure.

Over several months the community went to city hall, attended community meetings, write letters, etc.   Fire Chief Downs and the city proposed three measures – all soundly rejected by the majority of the residents;

1). Over-lapping circles of coverage using stations over 2-2.3 miles away as 1st responders to a fire.

2). A patrol truck w/ 100-200 gallons of water designed for minor brush clearance – not a house fire.

3). A back-up rescue ambulance to be station at a home in the service area.

Unhappy with the response, the community went door to door to get signatures on a petition asking that the city comply with a temporary station w/ a fire engine, and that the city commit to rebuilding station 39 or re-enforce it so it could be reopened.

Over 620 signatures were obtained and presented to the city council in Sept. 2011.

In Oct, a home is destroyed by fire. The 1st engine on scene takes over 8 minutes to get there. The National Standard is 4-6 minutes. The fire caused $750,000 worth of damage and was a complete loss. Had a temporary station been installed the engine would have been on scene in less than half that time. Fortunately, no one was trapped inside or injured.

City officials approve the $2.4 million dollar retro in late 2011 and now the community waits until that project gets under way in 2013. The construction time is 9-12 months. Officials hope to re-open station 39 in the 4th quarter of 2013 – another 500 days from now.

City leases a home to locate the ambulance and states there will be no temporary fire station with a fire engine.

The community has had to endure some 447 days thus far without a fire engine and crew. Assuming the retro happens, the total time without a fire engine and crew will be over 2 ½ years.

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