BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
The Menlo Park Fire Protection District, which also serves East Palo Alto, is hoping to keep up with growth on the east side of Highway 101 by adding today (Jan. 7) a new ladder truck with firefighters to the East Palo Alto fire station at 2290 University Ave.
Also today, the fire district is moving a “light rescue” truck — about the size of a pickup truck — to the Belle Haven neighborhood Station 77 at 1467 Chilco St. in east Menlo Park to respond to medical emergencies there.
The moves come six months after the San Mateo County civil grand jury slammed the district for not planning for the extensive growth occurring in east Menlo Park and East Palo Alto.
East Palo Alto last year lifted its building moratorium, which was imposed because of a water shortage. Now that the city has obtained water rights from Mountain View and Palo Alto, applications for new construction projects have been steadily coming in.
Adding units to the east side should free up personnel on the west side who sometimes had to respond to east side emergencies.
Growth is expected to continue.
“Our ideal goal is to be either slightly ahead of, or right behind, these impacts when they actually occur so they don’t significantly deteriorate or impact public safety and our ability to effectively respond,” Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said.
Schapelhouman has been steadily replacing aging fire stations in the district. Station 6 in downtown Menlo Park was completed last year. The next station to be replaced is Fire Station 4 at Alameda de las Pulgas and Valparaiso Avenue.
The fire district will hold two events today. At 1:30 p.m., the new ladder company will be dedicated at Station No. 2 in East Palo Alto. At 3 p.m., the district’s light rescue unit will be dedicated at Station 77.