photos by Zeena Gregg Photography

The dedicated men and women serving Stations 24 and 47 proudly live up to providing the highest level of emergency and rescue services, hazard prevention and safety education to ensure the protection of life, property and environment for the community.

Serving the eighth largest city in the United States and the second largest city in California, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department is a multi-faceted organization that provides city residents with fire and life saving services including fire protection, emergency medical services and lifeguard protection at our local San Diego beaches.

SDFD protects the 92130 community out of two fire houses: Station 24 serves Carmel Valley, Del Mar Heights and surrounding areas out of their station located at 13077 Hartfield Avenue. Station 47 serves Pacific Highlands Ranch with their station located at 6041 Edgewood Bend Court. In total, SDFD covers 331 square miles, 17 miles of coastline extending 3 miles offshore and services more than 1.3 million people.

Captain Wilson out of Station 47 and Captain Ziegler representing Station 24 provides 92130 Magazine readers with some insight into the operations of their stations and their teams of public servants.








with Station 24’s John A. Wilson

and station 47’s Dana Ziegler


What is the structure of the fire station, in terms of personnel and shifts?
Station 24 has an engine company (four personnel: Captain, Engineer, Firefighter/paramedic and Firefighter) and an ambulance crew – 2 personnel.

Station 47 has an engine company (four personnel: Captain, Engineer, Firefighter/paramedic and Firefighter)

There are three divisions at each station, alternately working 24 hour shifts.

When was the station opened, and how does it compare to the other stations in the department?
Station 24 opened in its present location in 1993. Station 47 opened in 2008. It is the newest fire station in San Diego.

What equipment is the station equipped with?
Each station has a fire engine. Station 24 also has an ambulance and a brush engine (fire engine specially designed for fighting canyon and brush fires – staffed by the same crew as the fire engine).

What is the typical shift at the station?
Our 24 hour shift usually starts with a morning meeting to discuss the activities for the day, followed by house work, apparatus and equipment maintenance. Once those are completed, the crew participates in a mandatory physical fitness program and shop for the day’s meals. In the afternoon, we conduct training drills and perform fire inspections. At any time of the day or night, we are available for emergency responses.

Firefighters often become known for their cooking skills – does the station have a resident “top chef”, someone who has a reputation for good meals?
Station 24’s resident “top chef” would have to be Firefighter Maria Gibson on “A” Division who assumes all the cooking duties for her crew. She makes many great meals but her meatloaf is the bomb!

How many emergency calls are dispatched from the station per month on average?
In Fiscal year 2011 (July 2010-June 2011) Station 24 responded to 1593 calls, or 132.75 per month. Station 47 responded to 432, or 36 per month.

What is the most common type of call to which personnel at the station respond?
The vast majority of calls for both stations (and all stations in San Diego) are medical aid calls.

Station 24 responded to 1158 medical calls and 72 fires in FY11. The remaining 363 calls were of various types. Station 47 responded to 294 medical aid calls and 45 fires.

Carmel Valley residents hear a lot about the “brown out” situation involving San Diego Fire-Rescue. Can you give us some details on this situation and how it affects Carmel Valley residents?
The brownouts ended citywide in July 2011. We’re pleased that the Department is fully staffed to provide service to all of our communities.

Is there anything unique or unusual about the station?
Station 24, located in the north-western most part of the City of San Diego, is bordered to the north by the Cities of Del Mar, Solana Beach and Rancho Santa Fe. We have a great working relationship with these fire departments and often run reciprocal automatic aid calls that select the closest and most appropriate units based on GPS coordinates to the emergency location.

What type of on-going training for personnel at the station occurs on a regular basis?
Station 24 conducts a variety of training on a daily basis. We are a cliff rescue response station, so we often drill with ropes and equipment for victim extrication from high and low angle rescue situations.

What is the most common misconception about firefighters and emergency personnel?
That we are all good cooks.

Can you describe the most gratifying aspect of serving the residents near the station?
Generally, the residents of this community call us when they need us. Around the holidays, many express their gratitude by coming to the station with loads of goodies that are greatly appreciated.

How can community residents schedule fire inspects or visits to the station?
San Diego Fire-Rescue does not conduct residential fire inspections.
Station visits may be requested through the Department website  Fire stations are open daily between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. for tours and visits on a prearranged and approved basis.  Visitors are welcome to meet firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians and see the equipment used to keep their neighborhoods safe.  Tours are limited to groups of 20 or fewer (adults and children). We request one adult for every five children visiting our facilities. Children must be at least five years old.





Did You Know?
On May 17, 1869, the Pioneer Hook & Ladder Company was established in San Diego with a budget of $250 and a volunteer staff of 50 people. John Valintine was appointed Fire Chief.

By 1872, the Department had acquired its first Engine Company – consisting of a thin, high wheeled, horse drawn wagon with 12 buckets hung over the side for hand-filled bucket brigades – at cost of $900.
By 1887, volunteers used steam engines to battle fires. San Diego had two horse drawn steam fire engines, a hose wagon with 3,500 feet of hose, and eleven horses.

San Diego’s population grew from 3,000 in 1880 to 30,000 by 1887. On August 5, 1889, a City Charter Amendment established the San Diego City Fire Department. The department started with forty-one men, eleven horses, two Steam Fire Engines; one Hose Wagon, two Hose Carts, one Hook & Ladder; and 4,000 feet of hose. The total worth of the department, in materials, apparatus, horses and equipment, was $22,572.75.  The newly formed San Diego Fire Department was lead by Chief Engineer A.B. Cairnes.

Did You Know?
Visitors are welcome to see San Diego’s Fire-Rescue Department history up close by visiting the San Diego Fire House Museum – Pioneer Hook & Ladder Company, 1572 Columbia Street in San Diego.  (619) 232-3473. The museum is open Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Call 619-232-3473 for more information.

Did You Know?
In 1904, a new era in San Diego firefighting began with the appearance of the city’s first fire hydrants. Firefighters no longer had to draw water from wells and cisterns to extinguish flames.

Did You Know?
In 1919, the San Diego Fire Department christened the first gasoline powered fire boat in the world. The boat, the “Bill Kettner” was built from the keel up at the San Diego Fire Department shop, by firefighters. The fire boat had the ability to pump ten powerful hose streams and had two deck guns.


San Diego Fire Department Chief Javier Mainar

Javier Mainar was appointed Fire Chief for the City of San Diego on October 13, 2009 and confirmed by the City Council on Oct. 19, 2009. He joined the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department as a fire fighter in 1980, and progressed through the ranks of the Department. He became the Assistant Chief of Support Services in 2006.

As the Assistant Fire Chief, Mainar was responsible for Logistics areas of the Department for all Fire, Emergency Medical and Lifeguard Services, including Personnel, Budget, Fleet, Facilities, Fire Prevention, Dispatch, and Information Technology Services.

Chief Mainar’s former assignments were as firefighter through Battalion Chief in Operations; a supervising fire and bomb investigator with the Metro Arson Strike Team (MAST); Human Resources Officer; and Plans Officer for the Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR). During the October 2007 wildfires, Mainar was the City’s Incident Commander, directing the firefighting operations within the city in the largest wildfire in San Diego’s history.
As Chief, he directs a department of more than 1,200 people with a budget just under $200 million. His salary is approximately $166,000.

Mainar has an Associate degree in Fire Science from Miramar College and a B.A. in Public Administration from San Diego State University. Chief Mainar is 52 years old, married and has three children; a son who is a firefighter in the department, and two younger daughters. They live in Rancho San Diego.