Chesterfield Fire Department awaits approval for new station
CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Inside of the bay of Midlothian's Station 5, you'll find firefighters' gear and engine ready to go at a moment's notice. The station property is owned by the Forest View Volunteer Rescue Squad, but career firefighters with the county also call it home.
As Chesterfield continues to grow, Chesterfield Fire knows they need to have adequate resources to serve the community.
"When our crews arrive on scene, they're going to go ahead and do what they're trained to do and sometimes, out in this area, we have to wait a little longer for that ladder truck to arrive," explained Lt. Jason Elmore. "The average response time to get a ladder truck on scene, is approximately 13 to 14 minutes."
Elmore says the engine company alone can get to a fire in about seven minutes with hundreds of gallons of water, but the closest ladder truck has to respond from Bon Air, extending the full response time. Their goal is to have an "effective response force," which includes three fire engines, at least one ladder truck, an ambulance and two battalion chiefs.
The need for an additional ladder truck to cut down on response times is one of the many reasons the fire department has spent years making plans to relocate Station 5 on Midlothian Turnpike, to a larger facility near Charter Colony Parkway, about a mile away.
"They carry other equipment, like the jaws of life. They carry extrication equipment, ropes and things for search and rescue and technical rescue," explained Elmore.
The department has held community meetings to go over plans for the station and explain the need for a new station to the public. Elmore says they have received community support, as many acknowledge how rapidly Chesterfield continues to grow.
"With more people is going to be the increased call volume, and we want to be prepared," he explained. "Over the next two years, we have 2,000 more homes being built out in the western part of the county."
The Chesterfield Planning Commission was scheduled to hear the zoning case for the fire station at the their April 17 meeting. It will then move on the Board of Supervisors to review in May.
Elmore says the project would cost roughly $12 million, and they would ideally open the doors in 2020. Once Station 5 relocates, the current Midlothian building will be operated by the Forest View Volunteer Rescue Squad.
Copyright 2018 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.