MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- As the city of Manhattan continues to expand, the Manhattan Fire Department is growing to meet the need for services. Two brand new fire houses are getting ready to open on the city’s west side.
Firehouse 3 will have a grand opening on Saturday. It’s located on Amherst Avenue near the Little Apple Honda & Toyota dealership.
Firehouse 5 is located on Vanesta Drive in the Grand Mere area and fire officials hope to have it open next week.
"Those areas were under-served for many years, especially the west and southwest areas. All of the city’s growth is to the southwest, west and northwest so these stations along with the airport station are going to serve the city for many, many years to come," said Manhattan Fire Chief Jerry Snyder.
The new facilities are replacing an aging fire station on Anderson Avenue built in 1968.
A fire services plan that was developed in 1998 identified the need for two additional fire stations inside the city limits.
"Some of the new growth areas out that way are experiencing 9-10 minute response times. Our goal is to get to 90% within 5 minutes so we were way over on that and by relocating these stations, we get pretty close to that goal and plus we’re going to get there quicker for the citizens and it’s also safer for our firefighters. The quicker we can get there, the quicker we can get in. With today’s modern construction, with truss construction in the roof and engineered I-beams which a lot of them are just wood chips glued together- fire and glue and wood makes for a deadly combination for us. As much as it is about protecting the citizens and their property, it’s also about protecting our firefighters.
A dozen new firefighters were recently brought on board to help staff the new fire stations.
The Amherst Avenue location will house $500,000 worth of rescue equipment for Task Force 2, the structural collapse team for Northeast Kansas. Members of several fire departments from across the region make up the team and a new tractor trailer was given to the task force by the Department of Homeland Security and the State of Kansas. The grand opening on Saturday, July 28, 2012 will be held from 10:30-12 and members of the public can tour the fire house and see all of the equipment.
The Vanesta Drive location will house the fire department’s hazardous materials equipment
Chief Snyder says the new stations were built with sustainability in mind and are expected to be functional and operating for 50 years.