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Manteca needs $2.2M more to build fire station in southeast

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POSTED January 12, 2017 12:55 a.m.

Manteca is short $2.2 million needed to build the city’s fifth fire station that’s planned for the northwest corner of Atherton Drive and Woodward Avenue in the southeast corner of the city.
The balance needed to build the $3.1 million station will come from fire impact fees paid by growth that will include primarily future homes the station will serve. The $3.1 million does not include the cost of purchasing and outfitting a fire engine that is running about $500,000 as well as the ongoing cost of 24/9 staffing.
Interim Fire Chief Kyle Shipherd is updating the Manteca City Council on the status of the project when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.
It will serve the fast growing neighborhoods around Woodward Park where there are already 1,250 homes outside of the targeted response time if five minutes.
The city targets five-minute response times for two critical reasons. Trying to get fire units on the scene of an emergency or fire within five minutes 90 percent of the time is a national standard. Typically a response in five minutes or less produces a better outcome whether a person has had a heart attack or if a structure has caught on fire.
A fire department report to the council 11 months ago noted Manteca fire engines were arriving at emergency calls within five minutes 82 percent of the time. But when it comes to the 1,250 homes south of Woodward Avenue and east of Main Street, fire crews arrive on scene within five minutes less than 10 percent of the time.
The city last year hired RRM Design Group for $150,000 to produce 30 percent of the design work that includes site plan, elevations, preliminary structural engineering, electrical, heating and air conditioning, specification book and value engineering. The firm designed the fire station on Lathrop Road as well as the Manteca Transit Center.
The work is at the point elevation treatment will need to be selected. Once that is done, the 30 percent design work is expected to be completed by late spring.
It is being designed as a template station so it can be used as the basis for future stations.
It will be 2,000 square feet smaller than the Lathrop Road station as the community room has been eliminated while the accessory rooms have been reduced in size.
Even so, the estimated cost was $3.1 million as of July 1. When the city first started talking about moving forward with the station three years ago the cost was pegged at $2.6 million.
Councilman Richard Silverman, who asked for the status report, has been pushing to make sure the department has adequate staffing.
Among cities in the region of roughly the same population as of January 2014 Manteca has the lowest firefighters per capita. Manteca’s population in 2014 was 71,948. Manteca was served by 41 firefighters. Turlock with 70,364 residents had 45 firefighters, Lodi with 63,338 residents had 54 firefighters, Folsom with 73,096 residents had 55 firefighters, and West Sacramento with 49,891 residents had 62 firefighters.
Those numbers reflect the six additional firefighters Manteca hired with a federal grant that allowed full staffing 24/7 at the Lathrop Road station plus the manning of the rescue squad 24/7 that has helped address quicker response times to the Woodward Park area.
 The plan was to use the additional personnel to help gear up for staffing the fifth station. Manteca will soon have to fund those six positions from its own pockets.
If the city keeps the six positions and builds the station in the next few years they would be in a position to have 24/7 staffing of a two-man rescue squad. It is an effective way to chip away at response times since roughly 90 percent of all calls handled by Manteca Fire in a typical year are medical emergencies.
It is the same strategy the city used to open the Lathrop Road station by Del Webb at Woodbridge. The city was able to fund the nine firefighters needed to staff a three-man engine 24/7.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com

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