Construction is continuing on schedule for Hall County’s two new fire stations, though the recent rainy weather is slowing things down just a tad.
“They’re almost in the dry,” said Hall County Fire Chief David Kimbrell, explaining that the roofs are getting placed on the outside structures. “When they do that, then the weather won’t be a factor. They can continue to work.
“We really need a good week of dry weather,” he added.
Station 3 is being relocated from its previous Short Road home to the intersection of Will Wallace Road and Ledan Extension. The building covers 7,413 square feet, Kimbrell said.
The new Station 16 is being built at the corner of Mount Vernon and Shirley roads. It’s 8,742 square feet. Both stations are in the northern portion of the county and, in spite of the rainy weather, are still expected to open in April 2014.
The budget is set at $2.6 million. District 2 Commissioner Billy Powell said the funds are coming from special purpose local option sales tax money as well as some fire funding in the county budget.
The good news for residents in those locations is that they should see their insurance rates go down.
“To get the best insurance rating, you need a fire station within 5 miles (of your home) and a fire hydrant within 1,000 feet,” Kimbrell said. “This is an area where there are ... a couple of large areas (of people), and these stations will bring most of those into the 5 miles.
“That was the reason we’re moving (Station 3) to cover more people,” he added.
According to Kimbrell, a station in Clermont was moved a couple of years ago, creating a larger area of need for when Station 3 is moved. Station 16 will serve that area.
Powell and District 3 Commissioner Scott Gibbs, whose districts cover where the new fire stations are located, said their constituents are “ecstatic” about the additions.
“It’s going to drop their (fire) insurance,” said Gibbs, whose district includes the new Station 16.
Powell said some people, depending on the size and location of their house, may save thousands of dollars annually on their fire insurance premiums.
Gibbs added that the stations have been needed for a while, but when the economy dipped in 2008, the county could not afford to man a new station.
“We have remedied that problem, and we hope this will be some great savings for folks,” Gibbs said.
Station 3 will have one fire engine, while Station 16 will have both an engine and an ambulance. Two people are assigned per vehicle.
There are currently 29 people going through the 6-month training period, Kimbrell said.
“The biggest thing is the fire department is here to protect and serve the citizens, so these stations will allow us to better (do that),” he added.