Ribbon cut for new Fire Station 70 in San Pablo

San Pablo cuts ribbon for new state-of-the-art Fire Station 70
Contra Costa County and San Pablo officials cut the ribbon on the newly completed Fire Station 70 in San Pablo on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (All photos by Mike Kinney)

By Mike Kinney

The new, state-of-the-art fire station on 23rd Street in San Pablo is set to begin functioning with fire personnel on Monday, April 19, and will have a four-person ladder truck crew and three-person engine crew operating there this summer, according to Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ConFire) officials.

On Tuesday, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the newly-completed, $14 million Fire Station 70 at 23rd and Market streets.

The long-awaited two-story station was funded by a partnership between ConFire and the City of San Pablo in order to replace an inadequate station at 13228 San Pablo Ave., which operates out of modular buildings that were installed in 1992 after the permanent station was damaged by the Loma Prieta earthquake.

The new Fire Station 70 is more centrally located and will help improve fire and emergency medical response, Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“The new station can survive another Loma Prieta earthquake,” ConFire Deputy Fire Chief Aarron McAlister said. “It will be the hub of provided service to the community in the event of another large scale disaster.”

Fire Station 70 will serve as a lasting tribute to two fallen heroes. The modern facility has been dedicated in honor of Capt. Matt Burton and Engineer Scott Desmond, who died while attempting to save a married couple from their burning home on Michele Drive in San Pablo on July 21, 2007. Members of Burton’s and Desmond’s families attended Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Capt. Matt Burton (top left) and Fire Engineer Scott Desmond (bottom left). On right, an image from the groundbreaking ceremony for Fire Station 70 in April 2019.

The 15,000 square foot station features three apparatus bays, dorm rooms, offices, a kitchen, facilities for training and can house eight firefighters and two captains.

“Designed with cancer prevention in mind, the station will include state-of-the-art gross decontamination showers, turnout extractors, a decontamination sauna, and modern systems for extraction of diesel exhaust particulates,” according to ConFire. “The new station’s training props will allow for considerable training opportunities for crews including ladder work, rappelling and indoor all-weather training.”

ConFire Chief Lewis T. Broschard III called the new San Pablo station “long overdue.”

“The new Fire Station 70 is a fitting memorial to fallen firefighters Matt Burton and Scott
Desmond, offering enhanced facilities to support emergency services to both neighboring communities and the firefighters who will staff it,” Broschard said.