Cayucos Station 11 was completed in November 2023, and took over a year to build

Cal Fire dedicated its new seasonal fire station just in time to put it to good use, while the old station gets a facelift.

Toni Davis, fire prevention specialist and public information officer for Cal Fire, said Cayucos Station 11 was completed in November 2023, and took over a year to build.

The new station replaces an old seasonal station at 108 Chaney Ave., in Southern Cayucos. The new station has quick and easy access to Highway 1.

It sports a double-engine apparatus bay, workshops, offices, and sleeping quarters, all located in a spot with a million-dollar view of the Pacific. 

According to the County Fire website: “Station 11 is one of the most unique fire stations in the State of California, with breathtaking panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. The on-duty crew is responsible for a unique and varying response area, including cliffs in Montaña de Oro State Park, ocean rescues from Morro Bay to Cambria, vehicle accidents, fires, and medical and hazardous materials incidents. 

The Cayucos fire station is ideally located for emergencies along this popular stretch of Highway 1, ensuring both citizens an visitors safety enjoy the area. Cayucos fire station is staffed 24 hours a day with a minimum of one fire captain and two firefighters. During peak fire season staffing, Cayucos Station is a seasonally staffed fire station.”

Cal Fire contracted Klassen Corporation to build the $10 million station. According to the company’s website, Klassen”was selected to provide general construction services for the new Cal Fire Fire Station in Cayucos. The project consisted of a two-bay apparatus building, barracks, and mess hall, combination building, storage building, and trash enclosure.” 

See for photos of the new station.

So while seasonal firefighters will mostly man the new station, for now, the Downtown fire crew from Station 16 has moved in.

That’s because the county is doing a major remodel of the old station on Cayucos Drive that was established in the 1930s and was the single-station home of the old Cayucos Fire Department.

That stand-alone, “volunteer” fire department was disbanded several years ago in favor of entering into a contract with Cal Fire/County Fire after a property tax hike designed to increase funding for the department was rejected by voters.

Cal Fire is the state’s fire department. SLO County contracts with Cal Fire to man and operate dozens of fire stations in many of the unincorporated areas of the county (some towns like Cambria and Templeton, have their own fire departments paid for through property taxes, while others like Los Osos and Cayucos contract it out). 

Normally, contracts for fire service are a good deal for a city or county, as a contract with a department as big as Cal Fire means any staffing problems that might have plagued the old department don’t happen with the vast manpower of Cal Fire. Indeed, firefighters from any Cal Fire/County Fire station could find themselves temporarily at another station to cover things like vacations or manpower shortages. The equipment, such as fire engines or rescue squads, are likewise dealt with.

Cayucos Fire’s failure at the ballot box left little choice for the fire district’s governing board, and Cayucos was broughtunder the County Fire umbrella at no additional costs to residents. The existing tax measures for the fire department continue to be collected and put towards the contract, with the County covering any shortfalls using other considerable taxes paid by Cayucos’ property owners.

The fire department moved out of the old Downtown station on April 22. 

“The move will allow SLO County Public Works to perform structural and cosmetic upgrades to the front of the apparatus bay,” Davis said. “Station 16 fire personnel will conduct business as usual.”

The changes will somewhat alter the look of what is an historic building in town.

According to Davis, “The improvements are intended to remove the center column between the two apparatus doors and create one taller [from existing opening of 10 feet tall to 12 feet tall] and from two, 12-foot-wide doors to one, new, 24-foot, 6-inch wide door.”

The county has to remodel the apparatus bay to accommodate a new fire engine that was recently ordered, Davis said.She added that the remodeling work should be done by sometime in July. Meanwhile, the crew will work out of the new Station 11. 

It’s the second remodel job the county has done on the old fire station, as it was first extensively remodeled with the change over to Cal Fire to put in sleeping quarters for the crew.

The remodel work is expected to take eight to nine weeks, Davis said. There’s another feature of the old station that will change — its iconic fire bell won’t be coming back.

“The bell will be reinstalled at its original location at the Cayucos Vets Hall,” Davis said. 

The new opening will allow the station to receive the recently ordered New Engine 16. The current scope of work is expected to take eight to nine weeks to complete and should be done by mid-July 2024. 

In other Cayucos fire news, the department teamed up with law enforcement agencies to do a series of active shooter drills. 

Also, the Cayucos crews participated in “active shooter drills” with law enforcement agencies, using Cayucos Elementary School as the scene of the drills. Drills were held May 4, 11, and 12. 

“This drill is in place to train on tactical EMS skills,” Davis said, “and interagency training with law enforcement. The topics will help continue education for potential active shooter incidents.”

Agencies that participated were Cal Fire, Morro Bay Fire Department, San Luis Ambulance Co., SLO County Sheriff, and California State Parks Rangers.

Feature Image: Cal Fire recently dedicated the new Cal Fire/County Fire Station 11 in Cayucos, located at 1401 Chaney Ave. Photo by Neil Farrell