For more than half a century the Los Angeles City Fire Department Fire Station 62 at 3631 Centinela Ave. has served the Mar Vista community.
But community growth and fire department changes over the years have created the need for a much larger updated facility to meet future demands.
A new $8 million Fire Station 62 at 11970 Venice Blvd., Mar Vista, will replace the current facility, which has become deficient in meeting seismic safety, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, building code and separate gender accommodation issues, said Brian Humphrey, city fire department spokesman.
Construction of the new 16,130-square-foot City Fire Station 62 began in the early summer and is expected to be completed by the fall of next year.
The current city Fire Station 62 was built in 1950 to serve a “lightly populated and primarily residential six-square mile district of ocean-view homes,” Hum-phrey said.
But the 4,190-square-foot station has since become outdated and inadequate for providing “timely and effective response” to community needs, Humphrey said.
The demands of emergency services, operational advances at the city fire department and the growing population of the Mar Vista community during the past 50 years have led to the need for a new Fire Station 62, city fire officials said.
While the current Station 62 has been a fixture of the Mar Vista community for more than half a century, some community members say they are excited at the addition of a brand-new facility.
“I’m very happy that we will have a new fire station here and I feel very safe and secure about it,” said Leslie Anne Smith, a Mar Vista resident who lives near the Venice Boulevard station site. “It’s nice to have a fire station in such a high density area.”
Another resident, Dorothy Garven, expressed some concern about the noise of fire engines driving by her home, but added that she is in favor of an updated station for the community.
“We always had good service from the old station, but they (firefighters) deserve to be in a building where they will have enough space and updated facilities,” Garven said.
Community members and several civic and community leaders, including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl, and 53rd District State Assemblyman Ted Lieu, attended a ceremony Monday, October 17th, recognizing the construction of the new city Fire Station 62.
Los Angeles City Fire Chief William Bamattre, also attended.
Villaraigosa noted that funding for the new station was provided by Proposition F, a city fire facilities bond program approved by city voters.
The mayor said that since the original fire station was built in 1950, “Mar Vista has grown a bit,” but the new facility will be able to “meet the needs of this growing community.”
“It will increase the ability of Mar Vista to respond to large-scale emergencies,” Villaraigosa said. “This will be a great asset for the community and the city.”
Rosendahl, a Mar Vista resident, said the much smaller original station 62 was not “totally equipped,” but the new station is equipped for both male and female quarters. The facility will also have “easy access” to allow fire engines to respond to emergencies, he said.
“This blends in to our community,” Rosendahl said.
Garven and Smith agreed with the councilman, saying that the construction of the new fire station adjacent to the Mar Vista Library, 12006 Venice Blvd., will help enhance resident goals of making the area a “community center.”
“It’s another step in the plan of upgrading this area,” Smith said.
City engineer Gary Lee Moore said many members of the Mar Vista community participated in the design phase of the new station.
Esthetic features of the energy-efficient facility will include several exterior windows that will be illuminated with fiber optics. Other features will include natural light and a highly efficient air conditioning and heating system.
Chief Bamattre said “multitasking” has become a main challenge for the fire department and the new station 62 is designed to help the department handle future demands.
“This station will be built to meet the challenge of a changing future,” Bamattre said. “This is a tremendous addition to the community.”
City Fire Station 62 Captain Frank Semenza said the new facility will house 18 firefighters — six firefighters per shift. The station will serve primarily the Mar Vista community, as well as surrounding areas of Venice.
The new station is designed to support multi-role emergency response needs and will enable fire units to respond more quickly to emergencies, Semenza said.
“We will be able to deliver more quality service to the community,” he said.
The firefighters at the current Fire Station 62 are ready to make the move out of the outdated facility, which has no heating or updated air conditioning system, Semenza said.
When the new station is finished, it will have a storage area for the relief apparatus used for brush fires, as well as easy access for vehicles leaving and entering the station, he said.
Although the current facility has suited Fire Station 62 firefighters well over the years, they look forward to continue serving the community from their new home, Semenza said.
“It’s been a very good station and we will miss it because we’ve developed a good relationship with the neighbors, but we will be able to do the same here,” he said.