Demolition of Studio City's only fire station was slated to get under way this morning, after Department of Water and Power personnel spent Thursday disconnecting the building's electrical and plumbing lines.
Crews were expected to begin removing the roof of the 47-year-old building today and knock down walls early next week.
Station 78, near the intersection of Coldwater Canyon Avenue and Ventura Boulevard, suffered damage in the Northridge earthquake and ensuing aftershocks, and was eventually deemed unsafe, forcing crews to move out.
The plan now, said Capt. Louis Roupoli of the department's building administration office, is to raze the damaged structure but leave in place the existing concrete slab to support heavy equipment. Temporary structures will then be installed at the site and the firefighters of Company 78 will be able to return to their district while a new, permanent station is erected.
While the Jan. 17 temblor initially left the pale, stucco building with only minor damage, officials said aftershocks eventually made it unsafe, and firefighters were moved to a neighboring station in mid-April.
Other fire companies were called in to help cover the area--one of the San Fernando Valley's busiest for medical calls--but all had to come from greater distances, causing response times to double in some cases. No problems from the delayed responses have been reported, but the situation has continued to worry officials and residents alike.
While crews begin razing the old station, officials will continue to seek funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state Office of Emergency Services to pay for the demolition as well as a new and almost certainly larger building, Roupoli said.
At 4,700 square feet, the old station was less than half the size of most modern stations, and officials would like to increase the square footage of both the new building and surrounding lot.
At the top of the department's list for a possible new site is a corner of the nearby Studio City Golf Course, though no deals have been made for the land.
The demolition of the old Station 78 is expected to last about a month, and Roupoli said temporary trailers would be installed and ready for the returning crews in about four months.