City’s west side closer to eighth fire station

HARLINGEN — The city’s fast-growing west side appears to be moving closer to having its own fire station.

Today, city commissioners will consider a $1.2 million contract with Harlingen-based Pietra Construction to build the city’s eighth fire station.

The station would help the fire department cut response time in half along the city’s west side, Fire Chief Rogelio Rubio said yesterday.

“It’s important that response time be prompt,” Rubio said. “Fire doubles every minute; medical calls are very important.”

The proposed 5,277-square-foot, two-story station would be built at the corner of Stuart Place and Brennaman roads.

Now, the city’s Dixieland Road fire station often handles emergency calls to the west side.

From Dixieland Road, it often takes fire trucks six to eight minutes to get to the west side, with its western boundary at Bass Boulevard, Rubio said.

He said the new station would cut response time to about four to five minutes.

The project comes after years of planning.

In 2003, voters approved a bond issue to build the station on five acres purchased for about $240,000.

“It will be a great benefit,” City Manager Dan Serna said. “As we annexed more areas, we saw the need to have a fire station on the west side.”

The station would offer fire protection service to newly-annexed areas, with direct access to Interstate 69.

Rubio shifted firefighters’ schedules to staff the new station without hiring new firefighters, officials said.

In July, some area residents and neighbors opposed plans to build the new station, arguing the proposed facility would bring noise, devalue their homes and help lead to the area’s commercialization.