November 18, 2010 in Washington Voices

Firefighters report for work at new site

City plans to grow into spacious Greenacres station
By The Spokesman-Review
Jesse Tinsley photo

Capt. Mark Hill, right, and firefighter Brad Huffman stand by their truck Tuesday. They are part of the crew that will staff the new Greenacres Fire Station at 17214 E. Sprague Ave.
(Full-size photo)

Map of this story's location

If it’s possible to label something as having a new fire station smell, the Greenacres Fire Station has it. Firefighters started responding to calls from the new building, formerly known as Fire Station 10, on Tuesday.

The station is the first to be renamed as the Spokane Valley Fire Department switches from a numbering system to a neighborhood designation.

There’s no comparison to the mobile home firefighters were in before at East Sprague Avenue near Flora Road, said Capt. Mark Hill. “I love it,” he said. “It’s fantastic, all this top-notch stuff. It’s kind of overwhelming at first. I’m sure we’ll get used to it.”

The old Station 10 was started years ago as a paramedic station. Soon a garage and fire engine were added. Firefighters vacated the old station in July and responded from Station 7 on Evergreen Road while construction was ongoing. Hill said the Engine 7 and Engine 10 crews were “tripping over each other” but that it was nice to be able to work with another crew.

Hill estimates that it took crews between 30 and 60 seconds longer to respond to some calls because of their temporary location on Evergreen. “I’m just guessing,” he said. “I think we still maintained our standard response time of five minutes.”

Hill is also happy to see the new station name on the front of the brick building. “It’s going to take some getting used to,” he said. “I think I like it.”

The station is closely patterned after Station 9, which opened for business near Pines Road and 32nd Avenue in December 2008. It has a large kitchen, an exercise room, a spacious office for the on-duty battalion chief and living quarters.

Overhead lighting in hallways springs to life when motion detectors sense people walking. A huge truck bay holds two fire engines and two staff SUVs with ease. The bay was designed so it could house more engines and bigger engines in the future, said Chief Mike Thompson. A second section of living quarters was also put in for future expansion. “We know we’re going to be here a long time at this location,” he said.

“It’s kind of cavernous with just three people,” said Hill. “They built it for the future, to last.”

The construction came in a little under budget, which allowed the department to spruce up the old garage that still sits on the site and will now hold trailers with specialized mass casualty equipment. “It was a little easier to fix that other building,” said Deputy Chief Larry Rider. “There were things that because we could (afford it), we did.”

By mid-afternoon Tuesday the only hiccup was a door remote that didn’t work properly, but Hill didn’t seem to mind. “We’re all pretty excited and pretty giddy,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll find things (to fix) here and there. It’s kind of like buying a car. You have to drive it around the block a couple times and kick the tires.”

A public open house has yet to be scheduled but will likely be sometime in the spring.

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