San Jose airport getting $22 million state-of-the-art fire station
A conceptual image of San Jose Fire Station 20 at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport. Photo by San Jose Fire Department.

To support growth at the airport and in San Jose, plans are under way to build a $22 million state-of-the-art fire station at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport.

Fire Station 20, which has operated at the airport for about 60 years, will be replaced with a new building, updated equipment and technology, and expand to serve downtown and freeways in the downtown corridor.

Mayor Sam Liccardo said as the city will be densifying its core, the station is critical to keeping thousands of new residents and workers safe.

“We need to continue to invest in this airport, to shine this jewel,” Liccardo said.

City Manager Dave Sykes said the airport is an important center for employment and a critical economic driver.

Erica Ray, a San Jose Fire Department spokesperson, said although Fire Station 20 has been enlarged in the past, it’s at the point where it has to be rebuilt.

“We are extremely happy to be able to expand our coverage in this area of town that is experiencing a lot of growth,” said Ray. “It will help our residents and businesses in the area receive a faster response time from us and better serve our community.”

The 18,300 square-foot station (the current station is 8,000 square feet) is expected to be completed by spring 2022. The current station, on the 880 side of the airport, will continue to operate until the new station opens on the west side of the airport by Coleman Avenue.

The relocation will also enable the airport’s future expansion, which includes adding a new terminal south of Terminal B and a hotel and parking garage.

The federal government provided a $10 million grant for the project.

“The new facility will allow us to invest in infrastructure to support new technology and customized firefighting equipment to keep passengers safe,” said Demetria Machado, airport spokesperson.

The station will house innovative firefighting equipment and rigs equipped to respond to the rescue of passengers and aircraft crews involved in accidents, said John Aitken, the airport’s  director of aviation.

The station, with its hybrid design for aircraft and firefighting rescue, will include an updated alert system, enhanced radio connectivity (with Silicon Valley Regional Communications System), improved safety equipment for diesel extraction and decontamination and computer network improvements

Fire Station 20 will house six firefighter dormitories, restrooms with showers, a kitchen, laundry and training rooms. Five vehicle bays are designated for airport use, with direct access to the airfield, as well as one to serve SJC’s neighboring residences and businesses.

Eco-friendly features include LEED Silver Certification, electric vehicle charging stations, electric kitchen appliances and water heater and a net zero and solar ready capacity.

Aitken said having the airport’s Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting operations facility and trained firefighters on site is critical to protecting passengers and employees. The facility will also serve increased development in North San Jose.

“I’m most excited to provide a fire station for our firefighters that meets the professional demands that they confront on a daily basis,” said San Jose Fire Chief Robert Sapien, Jr., “where they can train, prepare and respond both on the airfield and throughout the community serving our residents.”

In addition to serving airport operations, the station will serve residents and businesses in the immediate vicinity by housing an additional crew dedicated to community response. Although downtown already has fire stations, Fire Station 20 will be available when needed.

Contact Lorraine Gabbert at [email protected]

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