Breaking News
More () »

Carlsbad FD add temporary 7th fire station to better response times, keep up with population growth

In 2021, an evaluation found the Carlsbad Fire Department was lagging on response times and needed more apparatus and crew. The City is now making investments.

CARLSBAD, Calif. — The City of Carlsbad is moving forward with plans to address gaps in fire protection, by adding crews and a seventh fire station west of I-5.

The temporary Fire Station Seven will sit at the old Encina Power Plant site, on Carlsbad Blvd., just north of Cannon Road. Carlsbad Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Nick Ordille walked us through the site.

"To give us a fire station west of the tracks and west of the freeway...obviously we don't have any natural disasters that happen frequently thankfully, but when they do and those infrastructures are down, we want to have the ability to respond along the coastal corridor with a fire station already in place," Ordille explained.

In 2021, a ‘Standards of Cover’ evaluation found the department was behind on some response times and needed more apparatus and crews. 

According to this video from the city, the Department's goal is to get to a fire within 7.5 minutes from the first call.

Extra crews should get there within 11.5 minutes, if need be. However, the report found the Department was meeting those goals 74% of the time. A seventh station, west of I-5 and the train tracks, is part of the solution.

"The report identified the majority of our calls happen among the costal corridor," Chief Ordille said. "Over 50 percent of those calls [happen] between our Station 1 and Station 4; this site lands directly in the middle of those two busiest fire stations."

Ordille says the city is usually spared from major natural disasters, but fires do burn. In June, a fire near Buena Vista Lagoon burned ten acres and forced some evacuations.

In 2014, the Poinsettia Fire tore through at least two homes. Meanwhile, Carlsbad has some unique features and challenges; the coastal jurisdiction, McClennan-Palomar Airport, Legoland, and power plants all which fall under the Fire Department's care.

For years, experts have warned climate change could make fire seasons longer and more severe.

"We’re responding to fires throughout the entire year," Ordille said. "I’ve been to fires myself during Christmas time, with Christmas carols going off and it’s kind of interesting and unique."

Calrsbad Fire Marshal Randy Metz says they take that into account when working on fire prevention.

"I have a full-time staff member and her main responsibility is to work with HOAs throughout the City and homeowners to ensure all the vegetation that surrounds the various housing have been properly manicured," Metz explained.

Those prevention efforts in the community, renovations to Station 2 in La Costa, and the construction of the temporary Station 7 with its extra crews have Carlsbad on the road to tackling whatever fires may come.

"Fire seasons is year-round," Ordille said. "We're seeing bigger fires some of the top fires we've had have been over the past five years."

Ordille says as a firefighter, he's grateful for the investment the city is making in the Department. So far, the city is planning to spend about just under $2 million to build the temporary station. The city hopes to start construction next month and be operational by January 2023.

In the meantime, voters will have to approve construction on a permanent Fire Station 7 in the future.

WATCH RELATED: Who are the two candidates vying for San Diego County Sheriff? (September 2022)

Before You Leave, Check This Out