Chesterfield County

Chesterfield firefighters say new station could improve response times

Whenever a fire breaks out in Chesterfield, the goal is to have a crew there in under seven minutes.

Station Five located across from Midlothian Middle School consistently makes that goal, but for the past three years, the station has failed in another area.

"To get what we call an effective firefighting force within a specific amount of time," said Lieutenant Jason Elmore with Chesterfield Fire and EMS. 

An effective firefighting force consists of three fire engines, a ladder truck, an ambulance, and two battalion chiefs on scene within 11 minutes.

The engines carry water and are responsible for fighting the fire, while the ladder truck is responsible for rescues and responding to crashes.

Station Five, built decades ago, has never been big enough to hold a ladder truck, meaning they have had to wait for stations from either Hull Street Road, or the other end of Midlothian Turnpike for their ladder trucks.  

For the past three years, Station Five has failed 78 percent of the time to meet the county's goal. Their average effective firefighting response time has been 14:30, and it's happening in one of the fastest growing parts of the county.

"Over the next couple of years, more than 2,000 new homes are being planned for in this area," said Elmore. 

It’s why firefighters are hoping the county approves plans for a new fire station that will be located at Midlothian Turnpike and Charter Colony Parkway on property Chesterfield already owns. It would cost about $11.2 million and would include a ladder truck.

But first, the county has to approve those plans. If they do construction could begin next year.

Firefighters are hoping the planning commission approves a permit for the plans next week.. Supervisors could vote on it by next month.

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