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Lathrop Manteca celebrates fire station opening at River Islands
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Lathrop Manteca Fire District Board members cut the ribbon for the district’s newest fire station – located in River Islands where the majority of the city’s residential growth is taking place.

In one respect, the official unveiling Sunday of the newly constructed River Islands fire station was no different than the ones that came before it. 

At the end of the day, those who staff the facility will be tasked with serving the public in times of need. 

But as the City of Lathrop continues to grow by leaps and bounds – with the majority of that residential growth focused in River Islands and on land west of I-5 – the construction of a fire station to serve that community and house the district’s administrative offices represented the dawning of a new era for the agency. 

“Sunday was a step forward for the district – not only did we establish an immediate need for the emergency response in the area, but we have laid the groundwork for the future,” Neely said. “We have accomplished this by building a fire station to accommodate for the future growth and by utilizing high quality construction standards that will stand the test of time. 

“We are proud of our staff and recognize they need the tools to be successful in the job, which is providing emergency response to all who need our aid.”

According to Neely, Station 35 will be the second in the district that was constructed to be able to accommodate two full crews working simultaneously – the first being Station 34 which serves the Mossdale development and the new residential and commercial growth around Lathrop City Hall. 

But when it’s fully staffed – which could take up to five years depending on whether the rate of growth in River Islands is sustained – the new station will operate both an engine and a truck company to meet the demand. 

A brand-new fire engine – custom-built by Pierce Manufacturing – was purchased with fire facility fees last year and delivered several months before the new station became operational. Neely doesn’t anticipate the need to purchase the ladder truck will come for several more years but noted that it will have to be ordered far in advance of when it will be formally put into service to allow for construction time. 

Hundreds of people – most of them residents of River Islands – were on hand on Sunday to see the inside of the new station and the apparatus that will be stationed there. The event formally marked the first time in a generation that the administrative offices of the district will not be located in Historic Lathrop. 

According to Neely, the decision to move the administrative operation to the new station made sense in more ways than one. With more than 11,000 new homes that will eventually be built in River Islands as well as other commercial and retail properties, focusing the district’s operation where the majority of the district’s residents will live seemed prudent, as did bringing the previously spaced-out administrative operation together under one roof. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.