It was bittersweet for retiring Chief Jeff Eastman as he dedicated Fire Station #3 in Fox Hills last Saturday. It was his last official act before he retires this week after 32 years in the Culver City Department.
The new station replaces the station on Segrell Way in Sunkist Park which will close after the move is completed. Firefighters will begin moving into the station shortly. The station is expected to be fully operational by February.
Virtually impervious to earthquakes, Eastman was asked if the fire rigs would still move out of the station when an earthquake hits. He said the station would still follow the protocol of moving the trucks and engines outside but announced this station could “withstand a nuclear blast.”
The new station has three giant bay doors both front and back for vehicles to pull into while the antiquated Segrell Station, built in the early 1950’s, require rigs to backup into the single door double bay.
Scheduled for 10 a.m., the ceremony was delayed as councilmembers were attending the funeral of Avery Clayton, founder of the Mayme A Clayton Library and Museum on Overland Avenue. Finally with tours completed the dedication was underway. City Public Works Director Charles Herbertson, whose department was responsible for overseeing the construction, thanked former and current councilmembers and city staff for the support they received on building the station.
The ribbon cutting had Mayor Andy Weissman using the Jaws of Life tool; the department uses to extract victims trapped in vehicles, to cut the ceremonial tape, a yellow “Fire Line Do Not Cross” tape used by the fire department.
Eastman talked about all the mixed emotions of leaving the Segrell station where he once served, “leaving that station and coming here.” He talked about missing the neighbors in the community. The Segrell Station will be demolished after the move and the property sold for residential housing. The proceeds from the sale were one tool the city used to fund the building of the new station.
Members of the public received tours of the new station, including the second floor living quarters where firefighters will spend their time waiting for the next call. The question of the day was asked on a tour with Culver City Firefighter Juan Fregoso by an observance young man, “where was the fire pole the firefighters slide down when the bell rang.” Fregoso explained that due to workplace liabilities from possible injuries the preverbal fire pole had been replaced by using the stairs.
Chief Eastman paid tribute to Project Manager Paul Bilodeau, who was gunned down last January while working late in the construction trailer at the site.
“Paul made sure the job was done correctly and looked after the city’s interests,” Chief Eastman said, “This led him to work late. He was our eyes and ears on this project often working late. Tragically on January 2nd his life was taken. A plaque in his honor stands in the entrance of the new fire station.”
Bilodeau’s family was at the ceremony and received warm applause. No arrests have been ade in the murder.