One of Madera County’s fire stations has been temporarily closed due to safety concerns over the building’s failing infrastructure, officials said in a release on Wednesday.
Fire Station 3, located in the Madera Acres area near Avenue 18 1/2 and Road 26, was closed due to a recent review by Cal Fire Division Chief Dave Allen.
Allen said the building, a trailer manufactured in 1970 and put on the land in 1986, had simply become too unsafe, and unsightly, for its full-time firefighter to stay in.
“We’ve had beds fall through the floor twice, once last month,” Allen said. “There’s possums and rats living underneath it, it’s just lived far, far beyond its lifespan. When it started getting a really bad stench I said move out of there.”
During the day, Allen said the station’s lone full-time firefighter and engine are being set up at the Madera County Sheriff’s Office, located a little over a mile away. At night, the engine and firefighter move to Station 6 in the City of Madera, about 3.5 miles away.
“The move hasn’t affected response times or coverage area,” Allen said. “It’s simply something we’ve needed to do for a while.”
Allen said plans are underway with the Madera County Board of Supervisors and the county’s Chief Administrative Officer Eric Fleming to choose a location in the Madera Acres area for a new station.
“The supervisors have been working hard to improve fire protection in the county,” Allen said. “The plans for design and build of this new station is all in the works.”
He said three pieces of land have been chosen for the new location, and a meeting could be held around July 10 to make a final decision. The old station land was being leased by the county for around $1,200 a month, Allen said.
According to the county’s website, Madera County consists of 17 fire stations, a fleet of 56 apparatus and support vehicles, and a staff including 32 career firefighters, 175 paid call firefighters, and seven support personnel.
Allen added the fire departments from both the city and county of Madera, as well as Cal Fire’s Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit, will have additional staff available and on call through the July 4th weekend and holiday.