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Lathrop Manteca Fire remodeling J Street station
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The City of Lathrop is expected to undergo steady growth over the course of the next decade. 

And the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District wants to make sure that there are personnel in place as that happens so that residents don’t experience a The lapse in the service they’ve come to expect from the agency that has been meeting the emergency needs of the community for more than 80 years. 

Currently the district is preparing a plan to remodel Fire Station 31 – which serves the heart of Lathrop on J Street – to accommodate even more firefighters as they plan on bringing new apparatus acquisitions online. 

According to LFFD Chief Gene Neely, the renovations to the district’s longtime home base will allow for the full-time staffing of a state-of-the-art rescue unit that was purchased in 2015 with Measure C funds. 

“We received grant funding that allowed us to pay for nine full-time firefighters, and we’re going to implement three of those on Rescue 30 at Fire Station 31,” Neely said. “The only problem is that it’s too small right now for us to be able to do that, so we’re going to add more living quarters so that we can staff that unit full-time in order to have it available for the community.”

Because of Lathrop’s unique community makeup – a mixture of massive factories, large warehouse buildings, residential dwellings and standard commercial properties in addition to a river, an interstate and a railyard – the rescue unit provides an additional dimension to standard fire response that other units aren’t equipped to handle. It will carry specialized equipment for big rig truck extrication, trench collapses, building collapses and confined space and rescue. It also provides responding personnel with the ability to lift heavy objects off of people if they were to be pinned in, and tow heavy objects like cars or trailers. 

The expansion, which will be paid for by a mixture of developer fees and general fund money – none of which will come from the district’s 40 percent allotment of Measure C funds it receives – is cheaper, Neely said, than having to construct a new building.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t new buildings in Lathrop’s future. 

The city’s first fire station in River Islands, which is being paid for by the developer, is between 12 and 18 months away from being staffed with the personnel that Neely was able to cover through the SAFER grant – the FEMA grant for staffing for adequate fire and emergency response. 

The district has received the grant in the past, which allowed them to maintain staffing levels at all of its fire stations in the face of drastic cuts that could have led to brown outs, and Neely said that when coupled with Measure C the tandem has been a lifesaver in terms of providing the service that residents have come to expect. 

“It’s been a real pivot point for us in terms of being able to meet those needs,” Neely said of Measure C. “We wouldn’t be able to staff our stations with 3-person companies without the assistance of Measure C. 

“We’re being funded with property tax values and override, which helps, but Measure C adds that much more and allows us to provide the level of service that all of our residents expect and deserve.”

Once all of the approved construction takes place in Lathrop, River Islands will have two fire stations, and another will be constructed to serve the northwestern section of town near Dos Reis Road. 


To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.