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The Ventura County Fire Department officially started a project today to build a new fire station in Santa Paula to replace existing Fire Station 29.

“We are excited to start work, building a modern fire station to serve Santa Paula and the surrounding area,” Fire Chief Dustin Gardner said. “The new Fire Station 29 has been designed for larger, modern fire apparatus and will provide the space we need to add an aerial truck company, enhancing our response capabilities for the community.”

The new, two-story station will include seven dorm rooms and quarters for a battalion chief.

Fire Department officials were joined by elected officials and executives from Ventura County and the City of Santa Paula, and retired Santa Paula firefighters for a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony.

Architects designed the new station to blend into the surrounding, historic downtown area. Additionally, it will include a small museum where a vintage Seagrave fire engine that served the city of Santa Paula will be displayed along with photos and other fire service memorabilia.

Construction could take two years to complete. The project is estimated to cost about $12 million.

While the station is under construction, VCFD is operating an engine company out of an adjacent, temporary facility next to the California Oil Museum.

This is the first Ventura County project being built with a project labor agreement, which will put local labor earning prevailing wages to work on building the station.

The Ventura County Fire Department’s first headquarters was located in Santa Paula. The city operated its own fire department until 2018, when it merged with VCFD.

“Consolidation created the opportunity for renewal with some of the facilities that we had difficulty keeping up,” Santa Paula City Manager Dan Singer said. “One hundred years from now, what’s being built is going to be looked at as a fixture of the community.”