When Fayetteville firefighters moved last fall into the new Station 93 on the Piedmont Fayette Hospital campus, they had the satisfaction of knowing the station’s existence at all was largely the work of the city’s fire department personnel.
Months later, when the fire department had a metal fire engine garage installed next to Station 93, again it was their own sweat equity that made it possible.
City of Fayetteville leaders have talked for years about building a brand-new fire station on the west side of the city to protect homes and provide emergency services on that growing side of town, but because Fayette County’s Station 11 on nearby Flat Creek Trail was able to respond to western Fayetteville so quickly under the mutual aid agreement, the city never moved with urgency in the direction of building its own station out there. At least not until the county last year headed toward dissolving that mutual aid agreement.
Also during the days of the previous mutual aid agreement, Fayette County shut down its Fire Station 4, which is located one city block away from Fayetteville’s Fire Station 91, moving its firefighting apparatus to other county stations and moving the ambulance inside Station 91. Back then, firefighters from the city’s Sation 91 were considered first responders to the east side of unincorporated Fayette County as part of the mutual aid agreement.
With little notice, Fayette County last year reopened Station 4, which turned out to be part of its move away from the mutual aid agreement. And that’s when Fayetteville Fire leadership, seeing the writing on the wall, so to speak, began looking for property on the west side of the city to establish their own fire station.
After months of wrangling through mutual aid talks, the city and the county did come to a new mutual aid agreement, but part of that agreement involved the city having its own presence on the west side of Fayetteville.
Not long after initiating a property search, firefighters discovered the available house still located on the property since developed by Piedmont Fayette Hospital. The hospital was using it for storage and had considered using it in the future in some kind of support services way. When the fire department showed an interest in renting it, hospital officials quickly welcomed them onto the property and entered into a lease agreement with them.
According to Fayetteville Fire Chief Alan Jones, his crew got the house ready for move-in within two weeks, just in time for a Sept. 30 opening. The fire engine, however, didn’t have a garage.
The garage project was trickier, because a new industrial-strength concrete pad had to be poured to support the weight of a fire truck, and the sporadic cold weather that began in October made preparing that slab a difficulty
The same firefighters who had located and renovated the hospital property house then turned their attention on breaking up ground and pouring the new slab. Jones says they were hoping to have the fire engine garage project completed in time for their early February ISO inspection, and they just did get the work done in time.
“Our personnel did a lot of the work to help the city meet the budget limitations,” Jones said. “Now our response times to the western area of the city are in line with what the rest of the city is getting.”
Fire Captain Keith Harris was on the front line of helping get the grounds ready for building the fire engine garage, and he has the highest praise for his fellow firefighters who pitched in to get the job done. Harris also said former Fayetteville firefighter Chris Stanley donated the site plan drawings necessary to get permits and approvals.