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Fire Station No. 5 Ready to Roll

After 11 years in modular buildings, nine firefighters move into a new home and the city completes yet another project.

Which is the city's only fire station with two stories and a fire pole?

Fire Station No. 5, and before a gathering of firefighters, current and former city staff, family and friends, Mountain View's City Councilmembers and Manager dedicated the newest station on Thursday, Dec. 15.

Located at the corner of Shoreline Boulevard and Crittenden Lane, the 9,500 sq. ft. fire station will house Engine 5, Haz Mat 5 and the department's reserve truck. It has dorms, a living area, office space and a small gym. It will replace the modular buildings the firefighters had used since 1999 when the project was originally approved.

"While this is the end of our occupancy of that building, moving in for us is the beginning of a new history," said Chief Brad Wardle.

A fifth station was originally conceived in 1972 and the city purchased land for it a few blocks south at Charleston Road. "When the area consisted of a few farms and an active landfill," Captain John Miguel said.

However, the steady increase in fire-related calls over the years–"we went from 1,340 calls in 1972 to 5,080 calls for service in 1998," said Miguel–eventually drove the need for the construction of the fifth station.

The city's first LEED Silver building, the station complies with various federal water and energy conservation measures. Firefighter/Paramedic Mike Robbins, who served on the building's design committee, explained that solar panels on the roof will heat the building's water and even the paint meets green building standards.

One of the other significant innovations at the station include the doors. Instead of the traditional garage doors, these doors fan open and close within six seconds. Robbins explained that this ensures that engines and trucks clear the entry, and he added, in the event of en earthquake, the doors can be manually opened too.

Mountain View's former city manager, Kevin Duggan, attended the dedication. It was under Duggan that the 1998 City Council approved funds for the station and began construction–after many years of delay–in August 2010.

"It's wonderful. This was a long-term goal," said Duggan. "It's wonderful to see it all come into fruition," said Duggan about this long-term goal. "This, North Bayshore, is an important area in the community."

With as the city's largest employer, most people in Mountain View work in North Bayshore. Also activities and 's concert schedule–which can add anywhere between 15,000 to 20,000 people to the area on weekends–served as the impetus to improve the fire station on Shoreline Boulevard.

According to Battalion Chief Richard Alameda, the station now controls their intersection. This means that they can switch the traffic light to red if they need to exit the station, which improves safety.

And because "access onto the street is much easier, maybe it'll have some impact on response time," he said.

Firefighters from the different stations all expressed how wonderful everything had turned out and how thankful they were to the public and everyone involved.

But the nine firefighters on shift and their three battalion chiefs are probably the most grateful.

"This is beautiful, gorgeous," said Byron Chaney, a MV firefighter for 30 years. After six years in the modular buildings, he's excited for the new kitchen where he'll make his famous chicken picatta.

When asked how uncomfortable the situation had been before, he just smiled and said, "Oh, I'm not going to tell you."

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