■ Kyle Selby / Reporter
Hemet’s Fire Department will soon be home to three new battalion chief commanders, and as a result, Fire Station No. 1 is getting a much deserved makeover.
“I am excited to report that we are currently finalizing the fire battalion chief testing process,” announced Hemet Fire Department Chief Scott Brown at the Feb. 14 City Council meeting. “In total, we have 12 applicants from various parts of the country, well-qualified both educationally and professionally. We currently anticipate bringing three battalion commanders on board by April 1.”
In order to meet that deadline, some accommodations need to be made to these incoming battalion chiefs’ respective workplace, which will be in the command area of Fire Station No. 1. The office space, existing offices and living quarters are slated to be “revamped” to accommodate their additional needs, and to a create a “more usable workspace and more efficient working and living conditions” for Brown’s new command staff.
“The project itself is essentially going to reconfigure the rest areas, expand the existing restroom facilities and expand office space for the addition of the command staff previously approved by Council,” explained Public Works Director Kris Jensen at the City Council meeting where she and Chief Brown requested project funding. “When the project is under construction, we’re also going to take care of some deferred maintenance on the facilities side. So while walls are open and while things are happening, we’re going to do some other work as well.”
$95,000 from the Fire Suppression Facilities Development Impact Fees budget was approved by the Hemet City Council to fund the project, but Chief Brown believes that the cost will come in well below that.
According to Brown, he and their facilities management team are in the process of finalizing and reviewing submissions from bidding contractors interested in spearheading the project. The process will continue throughout this week, and a selection is expected to be made by the end of it.
With the impending emergence of the new command staff, the pressure is on to keep this project’s wheels on its tracks. Brown says that the project is expected to last three to four weeks, hoping to meet their expected deadline of April 1, which is subject to change depending on developments.