Fire stations of the world: The Newport Beach Fire Department in Orange County is relocating its station 2 in Lido Isle, US
The City of Newport is situated in California’s Orange County in the US and has eight fire stations strategically located to serve its communities. Newport Beach is the only city in the county that has a complete combination of high-rise buildings (both residential and commercial), wildland and urban interface, cliffs, a freeway, a bay, a harbour, ocean, jetties, two piers, the world-famous Wedge, a ferry, a Ferris wheel, a peninsula, eight islands accessible only by a bridge all while being directly under the path of John Wayne Airport. The City of Newport Beach Fire Department's Fire Station 2 is currently located at 475 32nd Street. The station was built in 1953 and is located on a 11,612-square-foot parcel. The structure is at the end of its useful life and no longer meets the operational needs for fire equipment. Lido’s new Fire Station 2 will make emergency response better on the Newport Peninsula and beaches. The new two-storey fire station building will be 11 068 square feet. It will have more than enough room to fit the station’s three vehicles: a ladder truck, a fire engine and a paramedic ambulance. Fire fighters will have a new kitchen, day room and fitness area. There will be 12 dorm rooms. Especially important is a room where fire fighters can clean and decontaminate their turnouts after responding to fire calls. The room will have an extractor machine that can remove the carcinogens associated with fighting fires.
The Newport Beach Fire Department was established in 1911 and offers a full-service, 24/7, 365 days-a-year fire, lifeguard and emergency medical services. “The Newport Beach Fire Department has been protecting residents, businesses and visitors for nearly 110 years on land and in the ocean with our operating principles of safety, service, professionalism. Operationally, the department is staffed with eight-fire stations spread throughout the city, a lifeguard headquarters located at the base of the Newport Pier, and a lifeguard sub-station in Corona del Mar,” stated Fire Chief Jeff Boyles.
Fire Operations has 38 full-time personnel consisting of battalion chiefs, captains, paramedics, engineers and fire fighters. Lifeguard Operations has 15 full-time personnel consisting of a chief lifeguard, battalion chiefs and captains and approximately 220 part-time, seasonal lifeguards. Fire Prevention includes the fire marshal, four full-time life safety specialists and one part-time life safety specialist. Fire Administration has eight full-time staff and three part-time staff with the responsibilities of the department's $54-million budget, payroll, purchasing, facilities management, EMS billing and managing the Fire Medics Programme.
An opportunity for a more suitable site
It was scheduled to be rebuilt, onsite, with preliminary work starting in 2018. Due to the limited space available on the current parcel, a new station would solve some but not all of the issues. Fire Department personnel would still have to contend with circulation and onsite parking challenges.
When the City of Newport Beach staff saw the potential to purchase a larger parcel located just 0,3 miles away, they went to work on evaluating the suitability of the space in terms of circulation, response times, street access, neighbourhood impacts and more. The new site, located at 2807 Newport Boulevard, is optimal to maintaining the high level of service the Newport Beach Fire Department (NBFD) provides to residents and visitors.
On 12 September 2017, the City Council approved the purchase of the parcel at 2807 Newport Boulevard, known by many as the former McDonald's site. Much work lies ahead before the fire station is relocated. Over the next approximately 18 months, the City's Public Works Department will oversee project planning and design, permitting, entitlement and environmental work. Once those tasks are completed, the construction work will commence and continue for about 14 months.
The current Lido Fire Station
It was the place of action for many of Newport Beach’s fire fighters. Fire Station 2 located on the site of old City Hall on the Balboa Peninsula was a good place to get training. The peninsula offered lots of opportunities for calls. There was plenty of activity at the beaches, lots of cars, residences built close together, bars, Pacific Coast Highway and a nearby Hoag Hospital.
“It’s our busiest, active and most diverse fire station,” said Fire Chief Jeff Boyles, recalling his own start there as a young fire fighter and later as a captain. “It offers a lot by way of challenging your skills as a fire fighter.” Now, those who serve at Lido Station and the community that surrounds it are in for a treat. The old 1950s-era building, built near Newport Beach’s old City Hall and presently next to Lido House Newport Beach, is being replaced. The new station will be rebuilt four blocks away on 28th Street. The $9,3 million project was recently given the OK by the city’s Planning Commission and the City Council has approved its concept and design. In June 2020, the council included the cost in the city’s capital improvement budget. In October, the council is expected to award a contract for construction.
Officials said plans for groundbreaking could happen late this year. The fire station will be built on an empty lot, purchased by the city that once housed a McDonald’s. The first calls for service of the station could happen by May 2022.
Architectural designs considered for the fire station included a Cape Cod-like Lido style with a tall tower, an urban contemporary look and a modern style.
Chief Boyles said he looks forward to the new station. It will meet all seismic standards and will be equipped with technology that will aid fire fighters in their response times. “We will be able to hit a button that turns all the traffic signals red and turn the lights to green for our engines,” he added.
Still, seeing the old station go down will be bitter-sweet. “That was my favourite,” he said. “I liked working there.”
Sources: Newport Beach Fire Department, Orange County Register and aerial photograph by D Ramey Logan