Station 34 is moving to Mt. Clef Boulevard


Image contributed by Ventura County Fire Department

Ulises Koyoc, Reporter

Thousand Oaks Fire Station 34 will be relocated to an upgraded facility on Avenida de los Arboles and Mountclef Boulevard. Development of the new station is anticipated to begin by fall 2020 and is estimated to cost $8.2 million.

The 58-year-old present building was opened on June 15, 1961 and has seen little remodeling since. There was even a time when both the fire department and a Sheriff’s Office shared Station 34, according to the Ventura County Fire Department’s website. Station 34 was also the first fire station in the county to establish a traffic signal controller, allowing firefighters to command traffic signals at intersections during emergencies. 

Heather Sumagaysay, public information and marketing officer for the Ventura County Fire Department, said via email that the land where the new station will be built was purchased from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church of Thousand Oaks for $1.25 million. Sumagaysay expressed that not only does Station 34 need a new building, but the city of Thousand Oaks will also benefit from it. 

“Fire Station 34 needs a modern facility to better serve the community of Thousand Oaks and Ventura County,” Sumagaysay said. “A new station is needed to meet the ever-expanding demands of a modern fire department that is centrally located and in close proximity to calls for service.” 

Chuck Scherrei, a fire captain for Station 34, said he is enthusiastic about the new station for many reasons. According to Scherrei, Station 34 is one of the busiest stations in the county, but traffic delays are perhaps the biggest issue the station faces. Sumagaysay also recognizes this issue.

“The current station is located on a busy intersection that can be unsafe and has a large easement that prohibited rebuilding a replacement station on the existing site,” Sumagaysay said.

Another problem Station 34 has encountered is the lack of a “dirty area” for crew members who are typically covered in debris after fire calls. The debris from fire calls is extremely harmful and can cause cancer Scherrei said. However, the new Station 34 will accommodate its crew members with its own “dirty area” to store and clean toxic equipment. 

According to Scherrie and the site plans, the new station will be much larger than the previous station, thus offering opportunities for community gatherings.

“We are looking forward to community events we can’t have here [at the current station] because it’s too small,” Scherrei said. “But I think the big win is the traffic issue.”

Richard Hurst, a Cal Lutheran faculty member, sent a letter to the Thousand Oaks Acorn in 2017 to express his thoughts on having a new fire station on Mountclef Boulevard. According to Hurst, many citizens besides himself shared concerns about the new station, but were not heard. Hurst said building a new station on a street regularly used by Cal Lutheran students and faculty could be problematic. 

According to Sumagaysay, project leaders are working to overcome the worries of citizens.

“Overall, feedback has been supportive of the project,” Sumagaysay said. “At the June 2019 meeting, community members… shared feedback about noise, sirens, drought tolerant landscaping and seeing traffic safety improved along Mountclef and Avenida de los Arboles. Traffic engineers from the City of Thousand Oaks were in attendance… and are looking into the communities concerns about the intersection.”

Director of Campus Safety David Hilke said via email that Station 34 and Campus Safety have an excellent relationship. According to Hilke, having Station 34 closer to Cal Lutheran would improve response time in case of an emergency. Even in large scale emergencies like the Woolsey Fire, Station 34 proved to be an essential partner for Cal Lutheran, Hilke said. 

“During the Woolsey Fire, Station 34 was instrumental in keeping Campus Safety informed regarding the expected path of the fire, local evacuation zones and locations for emergency evacuation shelters,” Hilke said.