By mid- to late-summer Kennewick firefighters will move into a new firehouse in southwest Kennewick.
[blockquote quote="The new station is much needed to improve our efficiency, our capabilities and our reliability," source="Fire Chief Vince Beasley" align="right" max_width="300px"]
Nearly 50 Kennewick firefighters, police and city officials gathered, shovels in hand, on Oct. 13 for the groundbreaking on the new $3.5 million facility at the corner of Kellogg Street and 10th Avenue. With a nod from Fire Chief Vince Beasley, everyone dug a shovelful of the rocky ground.
“I’m proud of you firefighters — the dirt didn’t fly,” said Beasley. About a week later, construction crews began digging in earnest, preparing the foundation for the new structure. “I’m told it should be completed in nine to 10 months, or less, depending on the weather this winter,” Beasley said.
It’s been 20 years since the city last built a fire station, said Kennewick Mayor pro tem Don Britain. “That was Station 4 on 27th Avenue and Ely Street. Since then the city has grown 62 percent,” Britain added. The new station at 6016 W. 10th Ave is necessary to improve the time it takes to respond to fires and medical emergencies in the southwest part of the city, Beasley said.
“The new station is much needed to improve our efficiency, our capabilities and our reliability,” he said. “With this location, if one station is out on a call another will be able to cover any emergencies that come up. This will enable us to give better service to our citizens.”
The proximity of the department’s existing fire stations — Station 2 at N. Morain Street, Station 3 near the Benton County Justice Center and Station 4 at 27th Avenue — provide excellent service to their areas, but can’t meet the response time goal of four minutes for emergency medical calls and five minutes for fires in the area of 10th Avenue. In an emergency, every minute counts, said Beasley.
“Although we’re called a fire department, 75 percent of the calls we receive are for (emergency medical services), mainly heart attacks and strokes,” Beasley explained. “Those first few minutes are critical to protecting the heart in case of heart attacks and the brain in the case of strokes.”
The 12,553-sq.-ft.-station will have living quarters for six staff and space to house up to four fire and emergency medical service units. TCA Architecture Planning in Seattle designed the new fire station and Meridian Construction of Spokane is the general contractor. The station will be built of materials requiring minimal maintenance and the landscaping will include native vegetation and rock to reduce water consumption. Britain said the city also plans to build a sixth fire station in the Southridge area, but no date for construction has been set.
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