By Victor O'Brien
Killeen Daily Herald
Killeen's new fire station aims to cool off long emergency response times for the city's northern residents.
The Killeen Fire Department and city officials broke ground Thursday on a more than 10,000-square-foot, $3.5 million fire station in the 3800 block of Westcliff Road.
The new station no. 1, which will replace the station on West Avenue D, will fill a void in the city's emergency response zones that left residents near the new fire station about three and a half miles away from a fire station; the distance is more than double the one and a half-mile radius recommended by the Insurance Standards Organization, Deputy Chief Brian Brank said.
Jeff Ferrell, Killeen Firefighters Association president, said the relocation of Fire Station No. 1 and the opening of Fire Station No. 8 will help KFD to more efficiently deliver fire and emergency medical services to Killeen.
The changes are expected to allow KFD's firefighters and paramedics to reach residents sooner. The area the new station will cover was covered by Central Fire Station on 28th Street.
When the new Fire Station No. 1 is complete, Central Fire Station will service the area covered by the original station no. 1.
The station will offer several upgrades from the old station. It will house eight firefighters with bunks and shower facilities.
It will offer a training and community room, a gear-cleaning area to make supplies last longer and possess the capability to function as normal with the use of a generator should inclement weather cut power.
Fire Chief Jerry Gardner described the groundbreaking as a rare "career moment" that he has been fortunate to experience twice during his two and a half years in office.
The new station is scheduled to open around July 2009. The property was donated to the city by Gary Purser.
The building's contractor is Emerson Construction Co. Inc. Wiginton, Hooker and Jeffry Architects designed the building.
Contact Victor O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7468.