Check out Houston County’s new fire station
Houston County’s new $1.5 million Fire Station No. 6 is nearly ready to open its doors, though the fire chief isn’t quite ready to name a date yet.
“It’s getting close,” said Jimmy Williams, who also serves as the county’s emergency management agency director. “I haven’t set a date because it’s such a moving target.”
While the building itself is up, there’s still much be done from ordering beds for firefighters to a flag pole for the front of the station.
The parking lot still needs to be completed, plywood needs to be put up in the bay area to safeguard installation, and shelving needs to be put in place.
“We’ve just got a lot of finishing-up projects to do before we narrow down a date,” Williams said.
The station on the Ga. 247 Spur next to Perdue Farms is unique in that it will be the first county station to be manned 24/7 by the hybrid agency of full-time and volunteer firefighters.
The county has 20 full-time firefighters, with the volunteer part of the force fluctuating at about 65 firefighters plus or minus, Williams said.
The construction also marks the first time in more than 30 years that the county has built a station to create a new coverage area. Station No. 4 was built in 2001, but within the same coverage area.
That station was once at Ga. 41. The building it was in was sold, and the county built a new station on Ga. 26 in Elko.
“This is a totally new service area that we’ve got,” Williams said while taking The Telegraph on a sneak peak inside the new station.
The new station serves the industrial complex that includes Perdue Farms, Frito Lay and Cemex concrete company as well as residents along a 5-mile stretch of the roadway, including the Lea Glen Subdivision.
The new station also has a larger and taller bay area designed for a fire trucks with ladder and platform capabilities to rescue people from rooftops in a fire. Other large fire equipment will be housed there.
The station includes four bedrooms for firefighters with separate or shared restrooms and showers, office space and living quarters that includes a kitchen on the ground floor. A second-floor will remain unfinished until funds are available to develop that space likely for classroom firefighter training and other office use.
The station also houses separate living quarters that includes a kitchen and two bedrooms with restrooms and showers for the emergency medical service. Part of the bay area has been sectioned off by concrete for the housing of a Houston Healthcare ambulance. EMS will also operate 24/7 from the station.
A Perdue Farms subsidiary donated about 5 acres of land for that station, which was paid for through revenues from a 2012 special purpose local option sales tax, Williams said. International City Builders constructed the station.
Additionally, county engineers provided engineering services, while public work crews got the parking lot area ready for paving and did the landscaping, Williams said.
Houston County Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker said the county would have had to sink about $400,000 more into the project without the in-house work.
“They did all the site work, the grading, moving all the dirt and all,” he said. “Then, they did the landscaping, put in the driveways, the parking areas, and got everything read to be paved.”
Stalnaker said he’d like to see the station completed by June. Officials broke ground on the station in October 2015.