For the next few months, residents near Napa High School should expect to hear more fire sirens.
Napa Fire’s only ladder truck, normally based at the downtown station, will be parked at Fire Station No. 2 on Park Avenue, while its home base, Fire Station No. 1 on Seminary Street, undergoes a $700,000 seismic upgrade.
Station No. 2, which underwent seismic renovation a decade ago, now houses 18 firefighters — twice as many as normal.
With the extra people, the day room where firefighters write reports, eat and watch television is a little tight, Capt. Jeff Taylor said.
“We’ll make the best of it until they tell us to move back,” Capt. Steve Becker said. The downtown station is expected to be back in action by the end of the year.
Fire Station No. 1 remains home to one fire engine, which will be parked outdoors until the seismic work is done. Firefighters assigned to that engine recently moved into a modular housing unit in the parking lot next to the station.
The ladder truck, which is equipped with a 105-foot ladder, primarily responds to structure fires, car crashes and other emergencies citywide. It would respond to any fire in one of the city’s taller buildings, which are clustered downtown.
In 2012, the ladder truck responded to 9 percent of the city’s more than 7,600 calls.
“Because of the services that it delivers, you want it in the central part of the city,” Becker said.
Long term, Station No. 1 will again be the home of the ladder truck, but the station’s second engine, along with a heavy-duty pickup truck dedicated for medical emergencies, will move to a planned fifth fire station on Browns Valley Road. The Browns Valley station, at the intersection with Laurel Street, could open as early as January 2016, Fire Division Chief John Callanan said.
More than 69 percent of the department’s calls in 2012 were for medical emergencies. A slight majority of the city calls originate north of Lincoln Avenue, Callanan said.
The department’s biggest challenge remains the number of simultaneous calls to Fire Station No. 2 and Fire Station No. 3, on Trower Avenue, Callanan said. Citywide, the Fire Department runs two or more simultaneous calls 50 percent of the time, he said.