Station 64 Still Top Notch Despite Move

Novato firefighters in temporary station remain strong during a transition between old, temporary and new

Photos by Rem O'Donnelley

Back in 2012 the Novato Fire Protection District relocated one of their stations so it could be rebuilt. Talking with the firefighters, there have been some challenges for them but none that have affected their performance.

Fire station 64, also known as station four, was “deteriorating” Sandy Wargo, Public Information Officer for the Novato Fire Protection District said. While the old fire station facility had to go, a decision was made to keep the property. The district had to find a temporary home for station 64 while their original station was knocked down and a process for plans to eventually build a new one. A temporary space was found near Hamilton Marketplace and across the street from the Los Robles retirement community.

Their temporary home for the last 14 months consists of a series of trailers formed into a livable unit. There is also a storage unit and a large, beige tent that is their apparatus bay or garage where the fire engine is kept. “It's going smooth here. I think everybody is looking forward to the new station being built and getting back to our old location and getting settled in,” Captain Scott Freedman said.

Their temporary move took place in late 2012 and they have some items from the old station which includes tables, chairs, desks and beds. The kitchen appliances came with the new facility. It is temporary and the department has to make sure the rebuild happens. "We have to be on a timeline because of the (SMART) train coming through on this site,” Wargo said.

The crews have found there are some challenges at their new location, one of which is keeping fit. “One of the difficult things for them was the workout facility, problem one," she said.

Firefighters often work out at the firehouse when they have the lowest call volume, which is usually around 9 a.m. “This temporary station does not have a workout facility, the crews still need to keep in shape, not only to prevent injuries to themselves but to make sure that they can complete their job correctly. They have a contract with a local gym but that means firefighters have to leave the temporary station to exercise and that's not conducive to this kind of job,” Wargo said.

Some things have not changed. There are three firefighters assigned for each 48 hour shift, a Captain, an Engineer who drives the engine, and a Firefighter – Paramedic. “We're doing the same job that we were doing before and just as efficient,” Freedman said.

Some members of the community have expressed concern about response times due to the change in location. Wargo explained that this is the reason the Novato Fire Protection District kept the station going. “We're still delivering top notch service."

The Captain says all of the Firefighters are looking forward to the new, larger firehouse which will include the engine that they have now and the medic unit. "When that station is built it might house our new ladder truck (105' truck with an aerial ladder that they recently received) and an engine is what I believe is slated there, possibly an ambulance.” They are keeping in mind that this present facility is only temporary. ”We know we're only here for a little while, so we're not getting 100 percent settled in. We know we're moving and getting back into a more permanent structure," Freedman said.

In the meantime they want the public to know that they will continue to provide their usual, high level of service. "I want to let the community know that anytime anybody would like to come and take a look at the station, to schedule an appointment with me. They're welcome to schedule a tour with me," Wargo said.

To schedule a fire station tour at any of Novato Fire Stations, contact Fire Prevention Specialist Sandy Wargo at 878-2623 or swargo@novatofire.org

Roger January 30, 2014 at 08:30 PM
Sandy: Is it true that a Novato assistant fire chief took home over $400,000/ year just a few years ago? The IJ sued to get the total pay information to do an article on the top paid civil servants in Marin. The top four all worked in fire districts.
Sam January 30, 2014 at 08:31 PM
Roger, Try having trouble breathing and calling them ! When they get there quick and save your life you wont be complaining about anything. How much is your life worth ?
Roger January 30, 2014 at 08:56 PM
Sam: I would like to have two of them helping me at $200,000 each than just one for $400,000. That spreading of the big pay should be allowed since for every open fire job there are 100s of applicants.
Bubba six pack January 30, 2014 at 09:02 PM
I thought that making more than the president would get good grammar.-"It's going smooth here" You millionaires need to walk across the street to wrinkle city and let that retired school teacher run her red pencil over your essays before you post them, as we can do better for under $400,000 a year.
Richard Estado February 01, 2014 at 01:26 PM
Bubba six-pack: You should check YOUR grammar before posting. First off, your screen name "Bubba six pack" is incorrect grammar. Six-Pack pack is a compound word and should be written with a hyphen between the two words. Second, the phrase "It's going smooth here" IS the correct form of the sentence. "Going" is a noun modified by the adjective "smooth". Smoothly, which is the word that you probably thought should have been used, is an adverb which would not work with "going". I support our firefighters! Next time your house is burning down or you're taking your last breath, be sure to stop and ask your rescuer if they use proper grammar, because really, it might make a difference!
Bubba six pack February 01, 2014 at 04:07 PM
Sorry to put a crimp in your hose, smokey, but every sentence needs a verb, and "going" is the verb in that sentence, thus the need for an adverb, not an adjective. If you said "The going is smooth", you'd be okay, as then it would be a noun, and "is" would be the verb. Check with the KOA chief across the street. As for my name, I had to change it after I was kicked out for an earlier post supporting gay marriage. As for my house on fire, I think we can get 4 firemen for $400,000 a year instead of one administrator for that same amount, and tell the chief to work harder or consolidate the various fire departments to save administration costs, like Larkspur and Corte Madera did.
Hopkin February 01, 2014 at 04:43 PM
If Yoda said "Smooth going it is" or "Smoothly going it is", they would both be correct! Can anyone tell me why, or should I ask in the NUSD thread?
Sam February 01, 2014 at 04:55 PM
Hurry and do your asking as a real surprise is on its way. You can read the real comments on Graigs list rants & Raves next week . Honest Club members only
Hopkin February 01, 2014 at 04:58 PM
No, that thread is about math and I'm too lazy to start a separate grammar thread.
Bubba six pack February 01, 2014 at 05:00 PM
I think you're right in both cases. If my favorite retired teacher will stick her head out of her Airstream and give us a shout out, we'll all stand corrected.
Bubba six pack February 01, 2014 at 05:03 PM
Geez, E.P.! I'm totally chumming the water with bait here. Where are you?
Hopkin February 01, 2014 at 05:05 PM
Here's a hint: "Going smooth it is" and "Going smoothly it is" would not both be correct.
Bubba six pack February 01, 2014 at 07:53 PM
You're right again. Looks like we don't need scour the parking lot for our expert, but now I'm worried. you still out there teach?
Eileen Plunkett February 07, 2014 at 08:35 PM
Yes and feeling very smooth!!! I also am walking smoothly.


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