Fire department seeks sub-station

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By Ben Bomberger, Reporter

BRIDLE CREEK — Following suit with another volunteer fire department in Grayson County, the Independence squad will seek an old school building to further benefit residents of its coverage area.

Independence Volunteer Fire Department Chief John Smith told The Gazette that his department is looking to take over Bridle Creek Elementary when it closes next month to place a sub-station at the building.

While the decision ultimately lies with the board of supervisors, the county's School Facilities Committee is busy holding meetings to find out what community members want.

The first meeting was held last week, with a second scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, at 7 p.m. at the elementary school.

Smith said support from the citizens has been positive, and if given the opportunity, his department would look at creating a three-bay station with the ability to park units two-deep.

Initially, the department would have one pumper engine and a tanker, and add additional units as necessary.

Smith estimated that roughly 70 percent of the department's calls are west of Independence — in the direction of Bridle Creek. The sub-station, he said, would certainly increase response times towards that direction.

Now, members who live near Bridle Creek — including Smith — must drive all the way to Independence, before gearing up and heading back that way.

Smith said he has several members who live in that area, and the sub-station would allow them to respond and be on scene quicker.

Along with the quicker response times, Smith added that residents in the community also would benefit from lower insurance premiums.

Bridle Creek Elementary is six miles from the Independence fire station, putting the majority of those residents out of the required five-mile radius to receive an insurance discount.

With the sub-station in Bridle Creek, Smith said nearly all of the residents in IVFD's coverage area would be within five miles of either station.

"If we place a sub-station at Bridle Creek, that envelops almost all of the western end of our district," Smith said, leaving just a few homes close to Flat Ridge and Troutdale.

Smith encouraged citizens to come out to the meeting Thursday to talk with fire department members and find out how the community can not only get involved, but also get behind the fire department's idea.

Though he isn't sure whether the sub-station would increase membership, Smith said he's hopeful that it will.

"We can use any more interested and willing volunteers," Smith said. "We certainly want to encourage anyone that's interested to come and talk with us."

The meeting is open to the public and will begin at 7 p.m.