Virginia Beach, Va. (WTKR) - Virginia Beach Fire Officials hope a new fire station and new equipment in the Town Center area will increase their response reliability.
The new two-story station is being built off Columbus Street, just west of Town Center. It will replace the current Station 7 located on Thalia Road.
In addition to the new building, Virginia Beach will also add a new ladder truck to Company 7, as well as base one of the two heavy rescue technical response squads there.
The population growth around Town Center has increased the call volume for emergency service, but only one engine has been assigned to Station 7.
"It was just too many incidents, too large of a call volume, for that one engine to handle, explained Virginia Beach Fire Battalion Chief Amy Valdez. "So, we decided it was time to move up."
The new ladder truck will enable firefighters to fight unique challenges brought on by taller buildings in Town Center and also redistribute the current ladder trucks throughout the city.
"The ladder truck is critical for reaching high rise structures and for special risks but the other thing that we're doing is we're increasing the reliability of the units that respond to this area," Valdez explained. "The west side of the city is still going to get the same coverage and we'll add a ladder truck here in the center of the city."
The new ladder truck will add what Valdez calls "bench depth" to Company 7, which means if the engine truck is out on call, the ladder truck would still be able to handle additional calls that came in.
"[Currently] if Engine 7 was on a call, they had to wait for the next closest engine which was coming from one of the surrounding regions," Valdez explained.
The current building Station 7 on Thalia Road will be converted into an EMS station housing an ambulance once the firefighters move out.
"Previously when the fire truck was there, they didn't have the space for it," Valdez commented. "It's not only going to improve our fire protection, but it's going to improve emergency response for the city overall."
The second floor of the new Fire Station 7 will centralize administrative offices for the Virginia Beach Fire Department.
The new building is slated to be complete by the end of the year.