Voters to decide on fire station $
anyone who lives in Blaine has heard some mention of the
bond for the new fire station. Although it has not yet been
voted on, the fire department is ready to make things happen.
We need a station that we can man, sleep and respond out of instead of sleeping in the trailer, said Chris Hollander, a volunteer fire fighter for fire district #13. At the current fire station on Yew Avenue, facilities are inadequate for meeting these needs and volunteer firefighters are sleeping in an old, donated trailer that sits behind the station, he said.
Right now we carry around a pager and we could be anywhere when they page us, Hollander said. If it beeps, we drive our own cars to the station, get ready to go and then we take the apparatus to the persons house. Sometimes nobody shows up and other times more than enough of us come.
Fire chief Mike Campbell says they are working to implement a sleeper program that guarantees there will be at least two volunteer fire fighters on call at all times. If the bond passes, we will be able to do this effectively, he said. When this system is implemented, volunteers will give up one night a week with their family to be at the station, sleeping in the trailer.
Campbell said they are still looking for a location for the new fire station. Its so vague at this point, he said. Were still really looking. We havent identified a spot just yet.
A design committee, made up of mainly Blaine individuals and a few from the fire board, have met and are working towards finding the best possible location and design, Campbell said. We have to consider where volunteers live, he said. We also have to predict where future growth will occur. The city gives us the best predictions of where this might happen. The committee is looking at other stations and facilities, he added. We are looking at cost per square foot. We want to build the best product possible, but we want to keep it at a reasonable price. Although the bond is for $1.6 million, we dont intend on spending that much.
The new facility would include sleeping quarters, a training room, a kitchen and office space for reception. The station will be staffed 24 hours a day with paid staff working during the day and volunteers at night. It is not a possibility, Campbell said in response to the question, of whether the new facility would be a headquarters for the newly formed North Whatcom Fire and Rescue Services. This station is solely intended for the Blaine community..