A need for expansion and the opportunity to save some taxpayer dollars prompted a unanimous vote by the Pine-Strawberry Fire Department governing board to purchase two lots east of Station 42 the fire station in Strawberry and has been open for business full-time since May 25, 2001.
"In our five-year-plan we would have been acquiring new property and building a new station and at a greater cost," P-S Fire Chief Paul Coe said.
A commercial lot to the east of the station was advertised for sale, but would have been useless to the station without the property and log cabin in between. Firefighter Mike Roggenstein asked property owner Rose Harper about selling.
"It really wasn't for sale," Harper said. "I intended to do a gift shop there this summer, but since it was my fire department and I saw their need, I said OK."
The agreed upon price for the two lots and the existing 900-square-foot home is about $119,000, Coe said. It came down to a simple question, Coe said. "Do we spend a-half-million or more to find new land and completely rebuild or spend about $250,000 to stay where we are and expand?"
The primary reason for the expansion is to add engine bays, Coe said.
The Strawberry station is home to five vehicles including two ambulances, a rescue truck, an engine and a water tender. Unlike the Pine station, where the four bays are only one-vehicle deep, Station 42 only has two bays.
"We currently have trucks stacked in up to three deep. It causes a significant delay if we have to respond with a vehicle that is in the back of the engine room," he said. "We need to expand our engine room base, crew quarters and decontamination areas."
Decontamination areas are used to clean up the emergency medical services equipment the paramedics use.
"Eventually we plan to use (the house) as crew quarters," Coe said.
A parking area, water storage, training props, and an exercise room are also a part of the goal for the small strip on Fossil Creek road.
Escrow on the property is scheduled to close in mid-April, Coe said, after the County Attorney's Office has a chance to review the contract.