Arlington building its first two-story fire station to serve Great Southwest Industrial District

Posted Wednesday, Oct. 02, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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One of the city’s oldest fire stations will be torn down and replaced with a two-story facility that will not only serve the Great Southwest Industrial District but will also be equipped to respond to emergencies at large-scale public gatherings downtown and in the entertainment district.

The Arlington Fire Department’s Office of Special Events, which provides emergency management and response for concerts, games and other major events at venues such as the Levitt Pavilion, AT&T Stadium, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and River Legacy, is currently located at the Ott Cribbs Public Safety Building downtown. But its response vehicles and specialized equipment, such as rescue gear, decontamination equipment and hazardous materials air monitors, are spread out at locations throughout the city because of storage issues, Battalion Chief Jeff Holloway said.

A 2006 management study recommended creation of a consolidated location for the office, which will now be housed at Fire Station No. 5 when it is rebuilt next year. The station at 2921 E. Randol Mill Road, just east of Texas 360, is less than two miles from the stadiums and four miles from downtown.

“We have stuff scattered across the city,” said Hollway, who said the Special Events office has handled 370 major events, including Super Bowl XLV and the NBA All-Stars Game, since December 2011. “This will help us consolidate a lot of our equipment at one location.”

The existing 4,000-square-foot Fire Station No. 5, at 2921 E. Randol Mill Road, is set to be demolished in late spring or early summer. The new 10,000-square-foot station — with its taller, wider bays and doors that can open within four or five seconds — is scheduled to open by the end of 2014, construction manager Alf Bumgardner said.

The office’s battalion chief, captain and two emergency planners will relocate from downtown to the station’s second floor. No additional firefighters will be assigned to the station but would go there to retrieve equipment for a special event.

While it will be the city’s first two-story fire station, firefighters won’t be sliding down a pole when calls for help come in, Battalion Chief Bill McQuatters said.

“As much as we would love to have one, those are a thing of the past,” he said.

The entire project, which is largely bond funded, is expected to cost about $1.7 million, Bumgardner said.

On Aug. 20, the Arlington City Council approved a $351,720 contract with RPGA Design Group, Inc., of Fort Worth, to design the rebuild project.

Bumgardner said the station will be built with durable, quality materials designed to improve the look of the aging Great Southwest Industrial District.

“We want to try to make a statement in that area to encourage revitalization of the Great Southwest Industrial area,” Bumgardner said.

Promoting private investment and improving curb appeal in the 8,200-acre district, created in the 1950s, is among the Arlington City Council’s goals. Some warehouses and other commercial buildings in the built-out district, which makes up about 13 percent of Arlington’s overall tax base, have fallen in value because they no longer meet industrial business requirements, officials have said.

The crews that staff Fire Station No. 5 will temporarily be housed at Fire Station No. 11 on Ballpark Way during construction. The firefighters will remain in their service district during day time hours to quickly respond to calls, McQuatters said.

Engine 5 will move to Station 11 at Ballpark Way — mostly at night. During busiest parts of day they will stay in the district.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Susan Schrock, 817-390-7639 Twitter: @susanschrock

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