The floors of this Tulare County fire station are literally crumbling away. Tulare County Fire Division Chief Ted Mendoza says a large crack in the side of the building was from the 1983 earthquake in Coalinga.
Mendoza says in the last few years the building became so unsafe that the county shut it down and built a trailer in the backyard to house the firefighters. Since then, the building has been victim to vandals and walls have been bashed in.
"And so at this point in time to house a firefighter in this building we just haven't felt it was safe," said Ted Mendoza.
Tulare County Fire still uses the garage of the building to house a 1987 fire engine, but if you take a look at the engine lights, you might notice the engine just barely clears the ceiling.
Thanks to a recent approval by the Tulare County Board of Supervisors, the Tulare County Fire Department will spend more than half-a-million dollars to demolish the current station and replace it with two new engine bays for Alpaugh.
"The intent is to replace it with a big medal building."
Alpaugh residents we spoke to were excited to hear about the new facilities.
"If it's going to improve and get the fire dept a little bit bigger I think that's a good idea," said Maira Cadena of Alpaugh.
The county will use another half-million dollars to build a brand new fire station in the rural community of Badger, which is on the opposite side of the county.
Mendoza says currently, Badger is 40-minutes away from the nearest fire station. "Most of the calls are typically medical aids so the ambulances are responding but they're coming from the bottom of the hill also from the valley floor and so this will allow us to improve the service up there fire engines water pumps."
Tulare County is still finalizing the purchase of the property in Badger. Both projects are expected to be complete by next summer.