San Marcos Fire Chief Les Stephens, Director of Public Safety Chase Stapp, Mayor Jane Hughson, City Manager Bert Lumbreras, and city councilmembers Ed Mihalkanin, Saul Gonzales and Melissa Derrick alongside other city staffers and guests fling dirt into the air at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new San Marcos Fire Station #2. Daily Record photos by Nick Castillo
San Marcos Fire Department breaks ground on new station
Friday was less than ideal to hold a groundbreaking ceremony with sprinkling rain and foggy conditions covering the area.
But the San Marcos Fire Department had waited too long not to celebrate the start of construction on fire station #2 located in the La Cima neighborhood off Ranch Road 12.
“We talked about maybe postponing this but dammit we’ve waited too long,” San Marcos Fire Chief Les Stephen said. “I hope to be back here in 10 to 12 months with an even larger group and this will look completely different and a total transformation of this.”
San Marcos’ current fire station #2 is located on Academy Street in a small duplex building built in 1954. The new one, which is being built as a part of the 2017 city bond, will be better equipped for a growing department and city.
“Our facility needs have grown just as our city has grown and we've continued to adapt to this growth with new stations to meet the needs of expanded population centers,” Mayor Jane Hughson said. “The fire station here at La Cima will house our firefighters and support staff safely, comfortably and efficiently so at the drop of a hat they will be ready to respond to the needs of our citizens at potentially one of the most important times in that citizen’s life. We're grateful for their dedication and we're fortunate that we have them to help keep us safe.”
Stephens speaks to the crowd during the ceremony.
City Director of Public Safety Chase Stapp said the new fire station will allow the fire department to continue to provide services to the community that enhance public safety.
“The San Marcos Fire Department prides itself on its ability to deliver first rate fire prevention and suppression services to our city,” Stapp said. “They do that by ensuring that they're well trained, well equipped and they're mentally and physically prepared to meet the difficult challenges of that job. As a community, I think we owe it to them to ensure that they have high quality, high functioning and highly efficient facilities from which to serve. The station that will soon be located on the site will be exactly that and I'm proud to be part of watching it come together.”
Despite the dreary conditions, Stephens called Friday's groundbreaking an exciting moment for himself and the department.
“As I was driving in this morning, I thought about a couple of guys I know that have been fire chiefs for 20 plus years and they've never had the honor of doing the groundbreaking or the grand opening of a new facility,” Stephens said. “It's a rare occurrence. These facilities, if done right, put in the right place and built right will last this community for over 100 years. And so, it's pretty powerful to think that I've been fortunate enough as the chief to get to do two of these in my time here.”