Following a year-long construction schedule, the $5.74 million Point Loma Fire Station No. 22 at 1055 Catalina Blvd., officially opened Tuesday, July 24 with Mayor Kevin Faulconer , District 2 City Council member Lorie Zapf and interim Fire-Rescue Chief Kevin Ester on hand to join the community celebration.
The new facility at the western edge of Point Loma Community Park, replaces a much smaller station on the site that was home to crews after being built in December 1942 for $7,800. The new 6,180-square-foot facility has two, large, red-doored bays on the south side for fire engines, although a station captain said there are no current plans to add a second engine or a paramedic unit there. A redesigned driveway promises to reduce traffic disruptions on Catalina when the engines respond to emergency calls.
Faulconer told those gathered: “We’ve replaced an aging 76-year-old facility with a brand-new, modernized fire station that will serve the community for decades to come,” and added that it was designed to protect firefighters from the carcinogens they’re exposed to on the job with locker rooms that keep their firefighting gear away from their living quarters and separate washing machines, including one that will only be used to clean the gear of harmful substances. The new station also sports a solar installation to help power the facility and contribute to the City’s climate action plan goals.
Station 22 has one of the largest service areas of any station in San Diego covering 5.97 square miles, including parts of Ocean Beach, Point Loma, Shelter Island and Cabrillo National Monument. In 2017, Station 22 responded to 2,017 calls: 146 fires, 37 rescues, 1,342 emergency medical runs, 194 hazards and 15 service summons.
When construction began last June, firefighters were moved to temporary facilities on the property so there would be no interruption of services. Those temporary structures are being dismantled.
But not everyone has gone gaga over the new fire station; it has been nominated for a San Diego Architectural Foundation 2018 Onion Award: “A missed opportunity to be sure ... a mash-up of Spanish Mission and post-modern trellising doesn’t do justice to the new civic building,” reads an excerpt from the nomination.
Residents can weigh-in on the charge, voting ends Sept. 16 at orchidsandonions.org (There’s a second Point Loma Onion nomination: The new mixed-use condo complex “Bella Mar,” at Rosecrans and Byron. “It misses the mark, wasting the opportunity to anchor the heart of Point Loma Village,” critics wrote.