A rendering of the proposed Fire Station 9 project in Los Cerritos. Courtesy of the city of Long Beach

Work on a new Fire Station 9 in Los Cerritos could begin in the next few months now that the Long Beach City Council approved a $19.7 million construction contract at its Tuesday meeting.

The fire crews serving Los Cerritos have been displaced from the area for years, but a new two-story station — which includes a bay with room for three apparatus as well as sleeping quarters, separate restrooms and a community room — will bring them back to the neighborhood.

“You’re going to see a significant reduction in response times,” Long Beach Fire Department Chief Dennis Buchanan said.

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The city also had to purchase land for the new station at 4101 Long Beach Blvd., which raised the total price for the project to $31 million. The city said $8.8 million will be funded by the Measure A sales tax and $22 million will be covered by municipal bonds.

City officials said it could take as long as 32 months to finish construction, which is expected to start with demolition in July.

A vehicle is parked at a building at 4101 Long Beach Blvd., which will become the new Fire Station 9 in Long Beach, Tuesday March 5, 2024. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Buchanan said a drive-through feature of the station’s garage won’t require fire trucks to be backed into the bays, which will help protect firefighters from exhaust fumes, and the new traffic signal at Randolph Place and Long Beach Boulevard, which can be controlled by the station, will make pulling out easier.

The new station will be just a few blocks from the old Fire Station 9, which has sat empty since 2019 because of what the city said were persistent mold issues.

Fire Station 9’s crew is currently located at a temporary station near the intersection of Cherry Avenue and Wardlow Road, something that’s delayed response times.

The original Fire Station 9 is expected to be sold to the owners of Gemmae Bake Shop with the council scheduled to approve the deal at its March 19 meeting.

The owners of the popular Filipino bakery in West Long Beach have said they intend to convert the old fire station into a production site with a small dining area located in the station’s old reception room.

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.