New emergency center replaces the ruins of Porterville library

Senator Melissa Hurtado secures $10 million for Porterville in order to build a new Emergency Operations Center intended to enhance city fire and police capabilities

PORTERVILLE – The city of Porterville will build a new public safety operations center where two of their firefighters perished just two years ago thanks to some generous funding from their state senator. 

Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Bakersfield) secured $10 million for the city of Porterville to build a new Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in place of where the former library once stood. The library was destroyed in a fire that killed fire captain Ramon Figueroa and firefighter Patrick Jones in 2020. The new EOC building will not only provide an essential public safety service, but will also have a memorial to honor both Figueroa and Jones. Senator Hurtado presented the $10 million check to the city of Porterville on Oct. 11. 

“The protection and preparedness of our community’s public safety and its residents is one the city’s highest priorities, with the grateful support of the Figueroa and Jones families and Senator Hurtado, this essential facility will certainly benefit and enhance,” Mayor Martha Flores said at the event.

The EOC will be a “critical coordination hub” in case of an emergency, according to Porterville’s administrative analyst Yuriko Velarde. It will be the main location that public safety departments will flock to for crisis response and recovery. The building will not only serve Porterville, but will also serve the greater southeastern part of Tulare County, according to Velarde. 

“As the city continues to grow, so does the needs assessment for both police and fire protection, and this state-of-the-art facility will not only enhance local police and fire protection but will add needed technology in a modern EOC in an effort to continue to provide the best public safety to the residents of the city of Porterville,” Velarde said.

The city plans to build more offices for public safety administration in the new EOC, though there are no solid plans for these offices yet, according to Velarde. The new building is just in its planning phases, and the structure and layout for the EOC is still underway.

Velarde said that as the city gets larger, the needs for fire protection and the police become more demanding. The new EOC will enable the departments to become more efficient and also provide better technology for all first responders and administration that will use the building. The funding for the project comes from Assembly Bill 178, which is part of the Budget Act of 2022-2023. A large part of the Budget Act’s general fund is designated for fire relief and disaster recovery. 

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