San Rafael, CA – The modernization project for the 48-year-old Tomales Fire Station, which started construction in November 2018, has progressed to a new phase of work: erecting the steel frame and walls. Weather permitting, the project is expected to be completed by January 2020.
The new Tomales Fire Station, taking shape this summer, is expected to be completed by this winter.
The $6.7 million project, led by Marin County Department of Public Works
(DPW), will result in a new, efficient facility for West Marin that exemplifies today’s standards for an essential services building. The building is being constructed on the same site as the old facility. During construction, the region’s fire safety services are being operated out of a temporary facility less than a mile away at 26701 State Route 1 in Tomales.
The winter months focused on removal of the old facility (including salvaging of the old materials for reuse), site prep work, underground plumbing installation, and building a retaining wall. The concrete footings were in place by the end of April 2019, and in May the 8,653-square-foot concrete slab was poured for the new building’s floor. The pre-engineered metal building materials arrived in June and the frame and panels are now being erected as the new station is beginning to take form.
Other exterior site features are also progressing, including bio-retention areas for stormwater management, parking areas, concrete slab for an emergency generator, concrete slab for water storage tanks, related fire sprinkler systems, and various native plantings.
Marin County Fire Department stations were assessed in a 2010 Fire Facilities Vision Plan, and it became evident that the Tomales station did not meet modern fire facility requirements, including seismic codes, equipment capacity and service demands. The necessary improvements required a complete redesign of the building from the ground up. Following the 2010 study, the Marin County Board of Supervisors began setting aside reserve funds to pay for the modernization of the facility.
The new essential services facility has been environmentally designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) status. This effort includes a photovoltaic solar array to power the facility, infrastructure for electrical vehicle charging stations, and an upgraded, on-site septic system for greater capacity. The environmentally conscious, contemporary design is intended to compliment the unique landscape of West Marin with characteristics reminiscent of the region’s ranch-style architecture.
The old station, constructed in 1971, was only designed to house a single-engine company with living quarters for one firefighter. However, the station now serves the largest area of any Marin County Fire station, including Tomales, Marshall, Dillon Beach, and Chileno Valley, as well as being the only one that supports a local volunteer fire company and responds to Tomales Bay emergencies. Additionally, the station provides mutual aid to the Sonoma County communities of Two Rock, Bodega Bay, Valley Ford, and the U.S. Coast Guard. To handle those extensive responsibilities, the facility has three fire engines, water search and rescue equipment, and during fire season, a six-person crew for wildland fire protection under contract with California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as CAL Fire.