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San Marcos soon to have quicker fire responses

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The finishing touches are being placed on the new San Elijo Hills Fire Station, and it is set for its grand opening this Saturday.

The fourth fire station in the city of San Marcos is a 14,000-square-foot facility and will have a four-engine bay, which will be attached to a two-story office and dormitory. It can accommodate up to 11 firefighters per day, but will start with four when it opens.

The building will also house an ambulance, a paramedic engine, trail-rescue vehicle and a wild-land engine.

Fire Station No. 4 will be the first to operate on sustainable energy in the city and will be LEED certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The $4.9 million project will include recycled building material; solar panels, which will generate 80 percent to 90 percent of the fire station's own energy; and storm runoff supplies, which will allow a majority of water overspill to be captured onsite and treated before it enters the storm drain.

Also 75 percent of the fire station, which was designed by WLC Architects Inc., will have daylight access and some areas of the building, like the apparatus floor, won’t have to utilize indoor lights during an entire sunny day.

“This state-of-the-art facility will further improve fire and emergency medical response times to southwestern San Marcos and the southern heart of the city area,” San Marcos Mayor Jim Desmond said last week in his state of the city address. “Energy conservation was at the forefront of our minds as we constructed this new station. The idea here is that San Marcos is thinking ahead and working to do its part in taking care of the environment.”

Construction started in January 2007 in the southwestern part of the city and will be located on a three-acre lot on top of a hill at 204 San Elijo Road, giving firefighters a quick and easy downhill access to California State University, San Marcos, the San Elijo Hills community development and other parts of the city.

The fire station is something that was needed due to the extensive growth in the city over the last few years, according to Jenny Peterson, communications officer for the city of San Marcos.

“San Marcos has been very forward thinking in terms of creating a sustainable development project,” Peterson said.

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