MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- After years of planning, Manhattan firefighters are now staffing two new fire houses and expanding services to the city’s growing west side.
The department marked the grand opening of Fire House No. 5 on Vanesta Drive over the Labor Day weekend. In late July, Fire House No. 3 opened on Amherst Avenue.
The 1998 Fire Services Master Plan identified the need for two additional fire station in the city limits of Manhattan. Officials found that by relocating the aging Fire Station No. 3 from 3131 Anderson Avenue and only adding one additional fire station instead of two could still provide adequate fire service. Old Fire Station No. 3 on Anderson Avenue opened in 1968.
Construction of the two new fire stations was authorized by the city commission in January 2011. Construction began in April 2011.
Manhattan Fire Chief Jerry Snyder told WIBW: "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... 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."
"I like it because they have numerous ones and they’re able to get here real quick and since I work over here, it’s nice knowing that there’s a firehouse right there. There are a lot of new subdivisions opening up over here so it’s nice that the firehouse is right there," said Derich Carlson who lives and works in Manhattan.
The Amherst Avenue facility houses $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.
Fire House No. 5 on Vanesta Drive is the department’s hazardous materials station. It houses a pumper/ladder truck, hazardous materials truck and the department’s brush/grass fire truck. The department serves as a regional hazardous materials response team for the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office. A public restroom and water fountain are available on the outside of the station for users of the Linear Trail.