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WATAUGA COUNTY – Boone Fire Department is making progress on a third fire station in the Bamboo area, aiming to improve efficiency and ensure equality throughout the district.

Aside from offering better fire protection to east Boone residents, the construction of a third station may help homeowners lower their insurance rates, said Chief Jimmy Isaacs.

Since the fire department purchased the roughly 0.8-acre property in February for $210,000, the building’s transition from residential home to fire station has been steady.

“We started looking at a third station about five years ago,” Isaacs said. “One reason that finding property took so long was because we just had a very, very narrow window that we could put that station in and meet the required purpose.”

Like other fire districts statewide, Boone is rated on a one to 10 scale based on an array of factors, including the location of the stations, equipment availability, access to water supplies and quality of communication systems.

Within Boone town limits, property owners enjoy designation as a public protection class three, Isaacs said, while any properties within five miles of a station are rated class five.

Between five and six miles from a station, properties are noted as class nine, and those outside six miles are rated class 10, resulting in “exorbitant rates for insurance,” Isaacs said.

Isaacs said a small portion of Boone’s district was within that least favorable class designation, including portions of Heavenly Mountain and George Hayes Road.

“This station will do away with all the protection class 10 within the Boone fire district,” Isaacs said.
After looking for property off and on for about four years, the fire department finally settled on a home and land on Buchanan Street off Bamboo Road, not far from Mount Vernon Baptist Church.

Isaacs said small-scale demolition within the house began in March. Walls have been moved, new heating and sprinkler systems are being installed and remodeling is under way.

About a month ago, crews demolished the attached garage to make room for an expanded space with three truck bays. Cinderblocks continued to be delivered Tuesday to begin fleshing out the garage skeleton starting this week.

Isaacs said the goal is to contain costs while ensuring the station’s appearance meshes well with the residential area where it is located.

Funding for the project will come from the rural fire tax, Isaacs said. The garage addition is expected to cost about $350,000. Other costs include remodeling work inside, the purchase of a new engine to be delivered in November or December, and the hiring of one new staff position, he said.

“The main thing that we’re trying to do here was make sure people were seeing a return on their fire tax,” Isaacs said. “Yeah, we’re having to spend some money, but hopefully that will see a return.”

When all is completed, Boone Fire Station 3 will host one tanker, one engine and one pickup truck utility vehicle and will be staffed by one person at all times, Isaacs said.

Isaacs said he hopes the work will be completed by the start of 2014, and residents should begin seeing benefits immediately in their homeowners’ insurance.

“We’ve had some people experience a significant drop. We’ve had people see a minimal drop,” Isaacs said. “It just all depends on who the insurance carrier is.”

Watauga County Fire Marshal Steve Sudderth noted that Boone will be the first department in the county to have three stations. Blowing Rock and Foscoe both have two sites.

“Anytime they build a new station, I’m excited for it,” Sudderth said.

IREDELL COUNTY – Firefighting efforts in southern Iredell will get a big boost when the spacious new fire station of the South Iredell Volunteer Fire Department opens next summer.

Groundbreaking ceremonies for the 14,800-square-foot building are Sunday at 3 p.m. at the corner of Linwood and Brumley roads, just southeast of Mooresville. The public is welcome.

Deputy Chief Brian Weatherman of the SIVFD said the new station has been in the planning stages for five years. “We’re hoping to begin construction on Sept. 16 and have it completed by the middle of July of next year,” he said.

Weatherman said the new station will cost $1.9 million, funded by the countywide fire tax.

The new building will be a quarter- to a half-mile from the current SIVFD station, which will be closed when the new building opens.

“It’s too small, and we’ve outgrown it,” Weatherman said. “There are no living quarters, or office space, and the building is not up to code.”

Currently there are 30-35 members on the department’s roster, operating out of a 5,000-square-foot building that has only two drive-through bays for fire trucks. Weatherman said the department has seven trucks and one car, leaving six vehicles to be parked outside.

The new station will have five truck bays, living quarters, office space, and a community/meeting room. It will also contain a dayroom, two kitchens, bathrooms, laundry room, and a workout room.

“It will be a bigger station and we’ll be able to provide a better service for the community and eventually have 24-hour coverage out of it,” Weatherman said. “Most weekends we have that now, but we can certainly provide that with a bigger station.”

BEAUFORT – This town’s board of commissioners on Monday agreed to move forward with a plan to construct a satellite fire station near the Core Creek bridge on Highway 101.

But before that happens, the town first wants to get some assurances from the county that it will be reimbursed for the cost.

The town and the county have been working on an arrangement to provide better fire protection services for a swath of residences in the county leading back to the bridge. That area is well outside of the town’s boundaries, but the county contracts with the town fire department to provide services.

While the town is overseeing the construction of the project on a parcel near the N.C. Forest Service building, the county is funding it by levying an additional 1.5-cent fire tax rate on people who would benefit from the service. Total cost for the project, when engineering and other fees are included, exceeds $500,000 and the county doesn’t have all that money available yet.

However, the town can take what has already been collected by the county, which is about $353,000, and pay the remaining amount out of pocket so it could begin construction. The county would then continue to collect that revenue from the 1.5-cent tax and hand it over to the town.

But before doing that, the town wanted some guarantee that the county would continue the tax rate and pay the money back.

The town won’t find out the county’s position until Monday, when the County Board of Commissioners meets to consider the request. Even if the county gives its consent, it’s still only a gesture, as a board can’t commit a future board to such an expense.

But the gesture will be enough for Beaufort. On Monday, Commissioner John Hagle made the motion to contract with Thomas Simpson Contracting for $474,553 to build the satellite station. The motion was contingent on the county giving its approval when it meets, and the town wants 2-percent interest on the $160,000 it puts toward the project. The arrangement is also contingent on the town attorney’s approval.

Town manager Charlie Burgess said there have been some difficulties with working on the project as it predates most people involved. “I know it predates myself. It predates many commissioners on the county level,” Mr. Burgess said.

The benefit of moving forward now is that homeowners will find some relief sooner. Properties outside of a five-mile radius from a fire station, like the ones in this district, are not considered to have fire protection by insurance companies. As a result, insurance premiums are significantly higher than in the town limits, and they recently went up again, said Mayor Richard Stanley.

Before coming to a decision, Mr. Burgess encouraged the board to look at the “greater good.”

“The homeowner needs some relief,” he said.

Under the current arrangement, the town should expect to be repaid in about three years. Commissioner Marianna Hollinshed said the town could get repaid faster, and cut the chances of a future county board from reneging on the arrangement, if it increased the fire district tax rate levied in that area.

Before the vote, Commissioner Robert Campbell reiterated that there were no guarantees the county would reimburse the town 100 percent. Mr. Burgess said every year a board can decide not to obligate money to something, such as a payment on a fire engine, but it isn’t likely. “Certain things you expect to happen,” he said. “I think the funding of a fire station is something we would expect to happen.”

After the vote Mr. Stanley said the town has a responsibility to the people it provides fire protection services to outside town limits.

“We have the obligation to serve them,” the mayor said.

CarolinaCoastOnline.com

HARRISBURG – Harrisburg Town Council members have debated for the past few months whether the location chosen for a new fire station is the best spot, and during Monday’s meeting they approved hiring an outside consultant to determine the best location for a new station.

Last year, the council budgeted $1.4 million for a new fire station located at Rocky River Road and Pembrook Road, to give residents on the eastern portion a better response time. But council members have debated if the spot is the best location for a new fire station.

Harrisburg Town Administrator Mike Rose said he’ll now begin the search for a consultant at the council’s request.

“They all felt like there was a need for the station and wanted to proceed with the building of the station, but would like to have a third party consultant group come in to review the potential site as well as other alternatives to make sure that we get the optimum site for the new facility,” Rose said.

Rose said they should have a consultant chosen by late February or early March. He said they have contacted one company and got a price estimate of $24,000 to $28,000. But that price was for the firm to do all the research, and Rose said they should be able to get a better price since they have a lot of the necessary data already collected.

The property was purchased in 2005 when officials saw the growing need for another station. Harrisburg Fire Chief Bryan Dunn has previously said that one of the reasons they agreed to place the fire station at that location was because at the time it was the only place they could purchase property at the time.

Harrisburg has grown since that decision was made, a factor that could affect the location of the station

“We’re starting to see new residential growth in particular that obviously after 2008 seemed to come to a screeching halt all over the place. Now, we’re getting more interest in residential development and building here,” Rose said. “So I’m sure we’ll take a look at where the projections are going for new growth.”

In the end, officials just want to make sure they have the best spot for firefighters to respond to calls.

“We prefer to try and make sure that when we locate this one we don’t regret it five or 10 years down the road because we should have moved it two miles over in another direction to get better coverage,” Rose said. “I think it’s as much a precautionary thing just to make sure that before we invest a million plus dollars in a station that we’ve made sure that we’ve got the right location.”

HickoryRecord.com

raleigh-feb-5-2013b

RALEIGH – The following apparatus and operational changes have been announced by the Raleigh Fire Department effective Tuesday, February 5, 2013, at 08:00 hours:

APPARATUS CHANGES

  • Station 1 – Fire Investigations Unit renumbered “Car 401”
  • Station 5 – Air-1 relocated from Fire Station 8
  • Station 7 – Rescue 2 removed from service
  • Station 8 – Air-1 relocated to Fire Station 5; Division Chief renumbered “Car 20”
  • Station 9 – Battalion Chief 5 placed in service
  • Station 14 – Squad 14 placed in service; Rescue 3 removed from service
  • Station 15 – Squad 15 placed in service
  • Station 16 – Deputy Fire Marshal renumbered “Car 420”
  • Station 19 – Rescue 1 relocated to Fire Station 21
  • Station 21 – Rescue 1 relocated from Fire Station 19, placed in service as Heavy Rescue

DISPATCH CHANGES

  • A Squad or Rescue 1 will be dispatched to residential structure fires
  • A Squad and Rescue 1 will be dispatched to commercial, multi-family residential fires and MVCs with entrapment
  • Working Fire Dispatch will receive Rescue 1 and a Squad if not already assigned
  • Confined Space and High-Angle incidents will receive Rescue 1, Squad 14 and Squad 15

STRUCTURE FIRE ASSIGNMENTS
Residential Structure – 4 Engines, 2 Ladders, Squad or R1, BC
Multi-Family Residential Structure – 4 Engines, 2 Ladders, Squad, R1, 2 BCs, FM
Commercial Structure – 4 Engines, 2 Ladders, Squad, R1, 2 BCs, FM

WORKING FIRE DISPATCH
DC, 2nd BC (unless already assigned), Air-1, R1 (unless already assigned), Investigator

MULTIPLE ALARMS
2nd Alarm – 3 Engines, 2 Ladders, BC
3rd Alarm – 4 Engines
4th Alarm – 3 Engines
5th Alarm – 3 Engines

HIGH RISE ASSIGNMENTS
Initial Dispatch – 5 Engines, 2 Ladders, R1, DC, 2 BCs, FM
Working Fire – Air-1, Investigator
2nd Alarm – 5 Engines, 2 Ladders, BC
3rd Alarm – 5 Engines
4th Alarm –  5 Engines
5th Alarm – 5 Engines

View the Raleigh Fire Department map at FDmaps.com.

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