There’s a new house with new neighbors in southeast Manteca.
It’s a 6,711-square-foot “showcase home” that serves as the Manteca Fire Department’s fifth fire station.
Manteca Mayor Ben Cantu uncoupled the fire hose Wednesday morning to officially open the $4.5 million station on the northwest corner of Atherton Drive and Woodward Avenue. By 9:30 a.m. the first three-man shift was ready to start responding to emergency calls.
The station was designed to blend in with surrounding homes to the point that the city used European manufactured tempered glass doors that open in accordion fashion for the engine bays facing Woodward Avenue. Besides a further refinement of the design of the Lathrop Road station that was the first in the city to try and replicate residential architecture, Station No. 5 marks two significant milestones for Manteca.
*It is the first new station that did not replace an existing station built in Manteca in more 40 years that was fully staffed when it opened. There are three firefighters working three shifts.
*For the first time in at least three decades, more than 90 percent of Manteca’s residents are now within 5 minutes response time of where firefighters are based.
The 5-minute response time is critical to have firefighters to arrive on the scene for the best outcome in fires and medical emergencies, especially heart attacks and strokes. Given a growing number of homes in the area served by the station have state-mandated fire sprinklers that help hold fires in check until firefighters arrive, the biggest positive impact will be on medical calls that constitute the bulk of emergencies.
The station features a basic “L” design with four dorm rooms, two offices, living area, exercise area, task specific rooms and bays designed to accommodate larger apparatus than the standard fire engine company if need be.
There is enough space in the living quarters for a shift of five firefighters instead of three that now man an engine. That means one option the station could ultimate house could be a 24/7 manned engine company and a 24/7 manned rescue unit. The station is expected to handle first response to the bulk of the accidents near the Highway 99/120 Bypass interchange. Those freeway sections in the past eight years have had 1,700 accidents, 900 injuries and 17 deaths.
The explosion of plastics, home electronics, and other toxic materials now found in a typical household makes firefighting a lot different than it was even a decade ago. That’s why the new station is the first in Manteca set up where firefighters returning from a fire will go into a decontamination room first to shower and secure their turnouts before entering their living quarters and the rest of the station to eliminate the possible spread of toxics.
Prior to Wednesday it took the closest stationed fire engine eight to 10 minutes to arrive at calls in southeast Manteca where there are more than 2,600 homes outside the targeted 5-minute response time.
The design of the station now being built will serve as a template for the sixth station that may be pursued in southwest Manteca in the general area of McKinley Avenue and Woodward Avenue.
Currently, growth patterns suggest placing a second fire engine company at the Union Road station — the busiest of the city’s four stations prior to the opening of the Woodward location — could adequately serve growing southwest Manteca for years to come.
Depending how the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, a public open house is being planned for the fall. A virtual tour will be provided of the new station on the city’s website at some point in the near future.
“We'd like to thank our new neighbors for their patience during the construction process,” Fire Chief Kyle Shipherd said.
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