Submit Content

County Staff, Residents Quarrel Over Potential Locations for New Fire Station 8

The last planned community meeting on the topic of Fire Station 8’s potential relocation turned heated quickly as residents strongly objected to the county staff’s recommendation to move the fire station to what’s now a salt dome at 26th Street N. and Old Dominion Drive.

The county plans to replace the aging fire station with a larger, “state of the art facility,” which requires the station to be relocated to a larger piece of land or for the current building to be torn down and rebuilt. For the most part, residents at the meetings have objected to any relocation of the fire station, citing the station’s history and importance to the surrounding community, among other issues.

“I have been at these meetings and at every one of them, one or two or five people have suggested either a newer cooperative station or a new station for emergency medical services in the northern part of the county and leaving Fire Station 8 renovated and modernized where it is,” one neighbor said. “And yet immediately that suggestion is dismissed and does not appear on any of these studies that you present. It doesn’t look like you have taken back suggestions in any form for your consideration.”

County staff are planning to recommend the salt dome at 26th Street N. and Old Dominion Drive as the location of the new Fire Station 8 to the county manager. The county manager will then draft a recommendation that will be made to the County Board.

The site at Old Dominion Drive and 26th Street N. is only one of the possible 19 locations that fit the parameters set by the County Board. Under these guidelines, the new location had to improve response times in North Arlington, have at least an acre and a half of land, be county owned or have a willing seller, have access to an arterial road and not exist in a resource protected area. The total cost of acquiring the land and building the new four-bay station also had to be $12 million or less, according to Deputy County Manger Carol Mitten.

Throughout the process, the largest concern has been improving response times to homes in North Arlington, said Deputy County Manager James Schwartz, who previously served as the fire chief.

If the fire station is relocated a minute north to 26th Street N. and Old Dominion Drive, 3,000 more homes will be able to have a four to six minute response time from the fire department, police and emergency medical services, he said.

In most of the county, emergency services are able to get to people within four to six minutes, except in the far northern most part of Arlington, where times can be eight or 10 minutes, he said.

“A person that’s in cardiac arrest must receive basic life support, that’s CPR, in four to six minutes or there’s irreversible brain damage,” he said.

Cardiac arrest is only one of the medical emergencies that are time dependent. Others include strokes and heavy bleeding, Schwartz said, adding that a minute can also make a big difference in a house fire.

“It’s these knowns that drive the importance of response time,” he said. “We have to get to them very fast.”

However, moving the station to the salt dome location won’t quite guarantee a four to six minute response time for every North Arlington resident, Schwartz said, which residents at the meeting found unacceptable.

“All of us in this county, before any other expenditure, should be able to be safe in our homes and have fire, ambulance and police. Those are the things we pay taxes for and if you can’t guarantee that for everybody in the county, you’re not doing your job,” one neighbor said.

County staff will also give the county manager information about four other sites, including the fire station’s current location, that could house the fire station if the $12 million restriction was listed, Mitten said.

For the most part, her comments about including the four other sites fell on deaf ears. Residents expressed frustration with the county’s process, with many of them saying it seemed as if the county planned to recommend the 26th and Old Dominion site regardless of their comments.

“So it seems to me in all of these meetings, as your slides state, staff recommends 26th and Old Dominion site, so that seems like it was your target goal the whole time. I’m sort of feeling that these meetings are nothing more than lip service,” said resident Allen Beland, who owns a house near the fire station.

Residents also repeatedly asked for a task force, similar to the one set up for Fire Station 3 in Cherrydale. Mitten explained that the county staff could not call for a task force as it falls under the County Board’s duties. When residents asked her to recommend the creation of a task force, she said she did not know what the task force’s charge would be.

“If I’m going to be honest, I don’t see what the task force would do, but I am open if someone can articulate with some specificity what a task force would do,” Mitten said.

While there was a loud response from opponents of relocation, not all residents present at the meeting were against a new fire station location.

“I support the relocation of Fire Station 8 because we deserve to be served by a state of the art fire station that will meet the needs of this service area for the next 50 years,” said Darnell Carpenter, a High View Park resident, “which is a four-bay facility that can house the equipment and apparatus needs projected and unforeseen for the next 50 years in a facility that can accommodate the training and housing needs for both genders, as well as using this opportunity to provide a solution to remedy the gap in service to the thousands of households at the northern most area of our service area.”

Recent Stories

The four people reported to be seriously injured when a car plowed into Ireland’s Four Courts last night may not have survived but for the quick actions of fellow pub-goers…

(Updated at 7:55 a.m.) Ireland’s Four Courts in Courthouse caught fire after a car barreled into it at the height of dinnertime Friday. The fire is now out after a…

After a steamy stretch, Mother Nature is rewarding us with a pair of new-perfect days. We hope you are able to get out there and enjoy the weather tonight and…

Adoptable Pet of the Week: Kimchi

The adorable Kimchi, a black and white Guinea Pig is the newest Adoptable Pet of the Week.

Do you struggle with anxiety, depression, stress, grief, trauma or anger? Are
you ready to make a change?

Lauren K. Nickum, LCSW, CSAC from Peaceful Mind Solutions is now taking new
clients for psychotherapy. Lauren has over 10 years of experience treating
mental health disorders and general life stress in adults and adolescents. For
more information visit
peacefulmindsolutions.com.

Submit your own Community Post here.

(This Community Post was written by Signature Theatre and underwritten by Embracing Arlington Arts.)

Signature Theatre just released single tickets for all 33rd season productions, which highlights the organization’s long-time relationship with legendary composer Stephen Sondheim. Beginning with the musical adaptation of The Color Purple and irreverent No Place to Go, the season continues with three Sondheim musicals, the DC premieres of Off-Broadway hit Which Way to the Stage and Pulitzer Prize finalist Selling Kabul, the Tony Award®-winning rock musical Passing Strange, and return of Signature’s cabaret series honoring legendary artists.

“Last November, the world lost an icon. The death of Stephen Sondheim was a blow to everyone in the theater community. Signature Theatre would not be the same without Sondheim — he IS Signature’s ‘signature.’ This season, we are honoring the legend with productions of Into the Woods, Pacific Overtures and Sweeney Todd dedicated to his memory. These shows represent the diversity and range of Sondheim,” said Signature’s Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner about the new season.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

MEGA Wine Tasting

Join us Sunday, Aug 28 from 12-3pm for our MEGA Wine Tasting

How it Works:

We’ve invited all our wine vendors that we work with to bring 6-10 wines in their portfolio (wines that are usually not carried at Osteria

Running & Strength Training Group Workout #1

Join our first workout of Coach Kate’s fall Running & Strength Training Program on Tuesday, August 30 at 6:30 a.m. at Oak Grove Park.

First/trial session is Free Of Charge. If you would like to join the program — which

×

Subscribe to our mailing list