HUNTERSVILLE – The town’s newest fire station on Eastfield Road still has the new-car smell, but this new neighbor could make a big difference for residents of Skybrook, Olmsted and other communities in the southeastern part of the town.
Crews from the new station can respond to calls east of N.C. 115, depending on traffic and the time of day, in two to three minutes, Assistant Fire Chief Jim Dotoli said. Previously, crews responding from Station 1 near Town Hall averaged 12 minutes getting to homes in the Skybrook area. The new station serves as primary responder for any call in a 5-mile radius.
Crews began staffing Station 3 for full 24-hour days on Nov. 1, but some firefighters, who all work part-time for Huntersville and rotate among stations, are still getting their first look at Station 3. Monday was shift leader Ben Reagan’s first day at the station.
Firefighter Paul Ferrell, 26, still hadn’t had a chance to try out the new propane grill on the back patio off the kitchen. Firefighters Patrick Mason and Matt Bandieramonte rounded out the four-person daytime crew. Two firefighters stay at the station at night, with volunteers on call.
The new 14,363-square-foot building cost $3 million, including construction, architectural services and testing, and it sits on 2.5 acres just east of Eastfield’s intersection with Prosperity Church Road. The new station has an automatic mutual aid response agreement with the adjacent Mallard Creek Volunteer Fire Department.
The front of the new station’s three big bays are filled with an engine-company truck and water tanker, previously housed at Station 1, and the Huntersville Police Department’s RV/mobile command center. The new station can sleep nine firefighters and two officers and also boasts day and dinning areas, an exercise room and a satellite police office.
The town will likely build its next fire station, which is probably five or more years away, in the southwest portion of the town closer to Beatties Ford Road, Assistant Town Manager Gerry Vincent said.