A fire station that laid vacant for more than a decade opened to a throng of community leaders and citizens who flooded the location to celebrate.
The opening of Roripaugh Ranch Fire Station No. 95 was commemorated with a blessing, speeches from local officials and a ribbon cutting Saturday, Jan. 6. The grand opening event also gave visitors the chance to tour different portions of the station.
Located on Calle Chapos in the Roripaugh Ranch area, the fire station will be the fifth in the city of Temecula. The others are located in Old Town, on Enterprise Circle West, on Pauba Road near the public library and in Wolf Creek.
Each of the stations will maintain a four person per engine staffing ratio to ensure a high level of fire safety, according to city officials.
“That is the nationally recognized standard,” Mayor Matt Rahn said during a speech. “It’s not the Cadillac version; it is the version of what is best for our community and I’m proud to be able to provide that level of protection.”
Each year, the mayor picks a particular theme to focus on, and Rahn said that the city this year will have theme revolving around public safety. That’s something he said has been important during his tenure on the council.
“When I came onto the city council three years ago, it was my understanding that the primary role of any city is public safety – protecting our community, making sure that it’s safe,” Rahn said. “And I’m proud that we’re opening the station today, and I’m proud that we’ve been able to work with our community to help them understand the importance of investment in public safety.”
The nonoperational station was revived largely because of Measure S, Temecula’s voter-approved sales tax increase. It had been sitting vacant for years.
A contractor was hired to build the station in October 2004. More than 90 percent of the work had been completed by spring 2006, but completion of the station never reached fruition. The developer ran out of money in the midst of the Great Recession.
Since the builder was unable to complete Butterfield Stage Road or the drainage systems necessary to support development, things grinded to a halt, 3rd District Supervisor Chuck Washington said during his speech.
“It literally took half a decade to try to unwind that mess,” Washington said.
He said that over time the city was able to recover funds and get Butterfield Stage Road and the drainage facilities completed.
Earlier this year, the city, bolstered by Measure S, approved spending $75,000 to install equipment, furniture and other fixtures and $868,030 to open the station and keep it staffed for the rest of the year.
“I could not be more excited as a Temecula resident that we have an additional station,” Washington said. “We came here almost 29 years ago with a 6-year-old, and she is now married, the mother of a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old, who also lives in Temecula, so our family has grown. I think a lot of the families in the area are growing, and we are being well served by our public safety agencies.”
At the conclusion of the speeches, guests could enjoy refreshments and tour the inside of the station. Guided tours gave visitors a chance to see most of the fire station, including some of the fire apparatus and an outdoor break area complete with a fire pit and planted succulents.