Yakima County District 3 firefighters trying to move on from old grocery store building
NACHES, Wash. - Yakima County Fire District 3 covers one of the largest zones from Naches all the way to White Pass.
Fire Chief Alan Baird said that due to the large zoning area, they need equipment for house fires to water rescue and the room to store all their gear is just about full.
“Fire services change. The amount of calls, the type of calls. All of that has changed. Our equipment has increased, the size of equipment has increased over the years,” he said.
Firefighters at District 3 have made the most of the space they've been given. However, over the years that space has run out.
The building they're currently using was a super market, which means it wasn't made to accommodate everything fire fighters may need.
The volunteer based fire station has been in the old market building for about the last 60 years, but their staff and emergency call-outs have more than doubled since then.
They needed to add the water line and a tall drive -thru bay for the trucks and engines just to make it function as a fire station.
“It never was designed as a fire station,” Baird said. “The efficiency and moving things around has been pretty limited.”
District three fire commissioner Bob Tripp was an active firefighter for about 10 years at this station.
He said it's not only outdated but it puts the firefighters, who serve their community, in danger.
“The ventilation system in here pretty much doesn't exist,” Tripp said. “So, when the trucks start up, there's black smoke floating all around here and everybody is breathing it.”
During the next election in February, the county will vote to approve a $1.8 million bond to start working on a new fire station in Naches.
If passed, home owners in the district would pay an extra $70 for every $100,000 of property and it would be paid off in 20 years.
Tripp said they don't need a top-of-the-line facility, but one that gives firefighters the versatility they need.
“Last thing you want to see is your house on fire and the fireman standing at the station wondering how to get the door open,” he said.
If the bond gets passed, Fire Chief Baird said they would tear down the current station and build a new one in the same space.
He said the land is already owned by the county and it's in the perfect location to protect the community.