Pasadena Fire Department

Pasadena Fire Station 39 to be Vacated as the result of Seismic Stability Studies

Contact: Lisa Derderian
(626) 744-7276 (office)
(626) 945-5169 (cell)


Built in 1949, Pasadena Fire Station #39, located at 50 Avenue 64, will be vacated effective Wednesday, April 26, 2011. This station currently houses four Fire Department safety members per shift (three shifts) and one Fire Engine.

As part of the Fire Department’s 2005-2010 Strategic Plan, an evaluation of Fire Department facilities was identified to anticipate the needs of a continuously growing population and to improve the Department’s existing aging infrastructure.

Analysis of all eight Fire Stations for building and site areas, services performed, functional efficiencies, structural integrity and aesthetic conditions were conducted. The study prioritized categories as related to the life and safety of the crew, the buildings structural integrity and the operational needs of the Department.

Of the Department’s eight Fire Stations, Station #39 was identified for potential structural failure if subjected to significant seismic loads. Station #39’s construction consists of masonry bearing walls, wood frame floor and a wood framed roof. The report states, in part, “There is significant risk of structural failure of the 2 ½” steel columns supporting the lintel in masonry opening. This portion of the second floor is in danger of collapse when subjected to seismic loading. Safety of the fire crew and protection of equipment is paramount and should be addressed without delay.” In addition, the study found that there is no practical manner in which to resolve Station #39’s structural deficiencies.

“Firefighter safety is of utmost concern and this closure is of a critical, time sensitive nature so as to not jeopardize the crew and apparatus. A large seismic event is imminent, even though we can’t predict when it will occur. As first responders, our Firefighters need to get to an emergency in a timely manner. According to this report, in the case of a significant earthquake the crew members assigned to Station #39 could very well need rescue themselves. We recognize that we cannot afford to wait to take action,” states Dennis J. Downs, Fire Chief.


The United States Geological Survey (USGS) sites specific data that indicates probable seismic accelerations. This data was utilized to determine design standards to withstand seismic loads, as outlined in the California Building Code as “Essential Service Facilities.” All new Fire Stations built in California are required to be built to this Essential Service Facility standard.

“Pasadena Fire Stations #31 and #38 in combination with Aid Agreements with adjacent agencies, which include the City and County of Los Angeles, will help in maintaining response times in the area served by Station #39,” adds Downs.

Downs went on to state, “The City Manager has recommended allocating a $400,000 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) request to initiate design and entitlements on the replacement facility. This action helps to ensure that Fire Station #39 will be returned to service in the shortest amount of time possible.” 


Posted: 4/25/2011 05:00:00 PM