Rapid response: City dedicates fire station on growing west side

HARLINGEN — Nearly 200 people turned out yesterday morning under dubious skies to dedicate the city’s 8th firehouse — Fire Station No. 2.

The $1.5 million station will give the city’s fast-growing west side quicker response times than those offered by Fire Station No. 7 on Dixieland Road.

Station 7 will still take care of half of the west side and then Station 2 will take care of pretty much all the way to FM 800, and they’re going to cover Palm Valley and parts of Primera, and then south to the arroyo,” Assistant Fire Chief Cirilo Rodriguez Jr. said yesterday. “It’s a pretty big coverage area but it’s going to cut what Station 7’s average time was in half.

“You’re looking at, within the city limits, two, three minutes” in response times, he added. “Which is where we need to be and where will we be.”

The city’s west side out to FM 800/Bass Boulevard is one of the hottest-growing municipal sectors.

New housing developments are rising on Garrett Road, and just down Stuart Place Road where it crosses I-2/Expressway 83, a number of new commercial projects are under way.

Those include a new Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, a new emergency clinic and retail locations at Stuart Place Crossing, as well as a new headquarters building for Texas Regional Bank.

“This is your fire house,” Mayor Chris Boswell told the crowd.

“These projects like the fire station, once they’re built and you walk through here and it’s a beautiful facility and you say, this is really great, but you may not realize how much work and effort goes into trying to get a project like this done,” he said.

“From site selection to planning to determining how to fund it and determining how to staff it — the chief did some very creative things in figuring out how to staff this fire station within the budget that we have,” Boswell said.

“And it’s all been a great effort of teamwork to make this happen and bring it together,” he said.

The new firehouse has bays for two trucks, but just a single fire truck will be housed at the station, Rodriguez said.

“Currently, since the trucks are self-sufficient, it takes three to four firefighters to run the trucks now,” he said.

“The plan is to have one fire truck as soon as we open,” he said. “After that, if the city grows, hopefully we’ll start manning with three extra people and a second truck.”

The new truck is a 2,000 gallons-per-minute pumper which also doubles as a rescue vehicle, the chief said.

Fire Station No. 2

COST — $1.5 million

LOCATION — Stuart Place and Brennaman roads

ACREAGE — 6.09 acres

COVERAGE — West side of Harlingen, Palm Valley, parts of Primera

STATIONS — It is the city’s 8th fire station