City officials are nearing an agreement with a developer that would allow the city to build a new fire station to serve Augusta Street, Fire Chief Stephen Kovalcik said.
The city bought land on Faris Road, just down the block from the current Augusta Street station, in August 2015.
The current station’s two-story 60-year-old brick building’s bays are too small to accommodate today’s fire trucks, forcing the city to special order trucks that can fit into the bays designed for older models.
Firefighter living quarters are on the second floor and there’s no fire protection between floors. The building has no sprinkler system and the second-story sleeping quarters windows are sealed shut.
Building a new station in vicinity of the current station was critical because if it were moved one-quarter mile, it would leave gaps in coverage because Augusta and Faris is such a critical intersection, Kovalcik said. A new station could be built in 18 months.
Kovalcik said he expects a final agreement to be completed in about three weeks. Although plans for the current station have not been finalized, city officials have said they want it to remain standing.
In addition to finalizing Augusta Street station plans, Kovalcik said the city would soon begin looking for land on which to build a new Stone Avenue station. The Stone Avenue station has the same issues as the Augusta Street station in addition to being in a floodway.
The Stone Avenue station has flooded three times, Kovalcik said. In the most recent flood, firefighters had to retrieve their turnout gear that was floating down the road.
The new stations are part of a years-long effort to improve the city’s fire stations and response times. The city opened a new fire station on Verdae Boulevard earlier this year to help meet the needs of the growing Woodruff Road, Verdae Boulevard, and CU-ICAR corridor. But the new station also impacted city residents who live in the Pelham Road, Augusta Street and Stone Avenue areas as well.