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Steele Creek Fire Department Has Groundbreaking for Third Station and is in Talks to Share Charlotte Fire Station #38

(July 15, 2023) The Steele Creek Fire Department broke ground last Wednesday on new Station #3 on the southeast corner of Youngblood Road and McKee Road. It will service the Palisades and nearby unincorporated areas in the Steele Creek Fire District. It is expected to be completed on February 14, 2024.

Steele Creek Fire Department Board President Mike Baxley, County Commissioners Arthur Griffin, Susan Rodriguez-McDowell, George Dunlap, and Elaine Powell, and Chief Chris Hardin break ground on the new fire station. (Above.)

Steele Creek Ladder #2 displays the American flag at the site of the groundbreaking. (Right.)

Beginning October 1, this ladder truck and four Steele Creek Fire Department fire fighters per shift may be stationed at Charlotte City Fire Department Station #38. The Steele Creek Fire Department and the City of Charlotte are in talks to allow joint occupation. The Steele Creek Ladder Company 2 would be the only ladder truck at Station #38.

The Steele Creek Fire Department was established in 1954. Originally named the Steeleberry Volunteer Fire Department, it served rural communities in Steele Creek and Berryhill Townships. Over time Charlotte has annexed most of their service area, but most annexation stopped in 2011 when the North Carolina annexation law was changed. Charlotte Fire Stations #37 and #38 were located where they are in anticipation of Charlotte annexing all of Steele Creek, but since annexation is now rare, their locations remain on the edge of the city limits.

The Steele Creek Fire District still covers about 28 square miles with a 2020 Census population of a little over 17,000. The department responded to 1,620 calls in 2021 and 1,865 calls in 2022. They expect over 1,900 calls in 2023.

The Steele Creek Fire Department has removed "Volunteer" from its name, as it has a fully paid staff of fire fighters. It currently employs 66 fire fighters, including part-timers. Their latest hiring efforts that were needed to staff three stations will put the total at around 81 when new Station #3 is operational.

Current Steele Creek Fire Station #2 is within the Charlotte corporate limits, and response times to the growing areas of unincorporated Steele Creek exceed the goal of a six minute average. The department needs their stations to be located closer to the areas the department serves. The new station and joint use with the city station will improve the survival rate for medical emergencies and the ability to fight fires before they get out of hand. A fire doubles in size every 60 seconds. The department also owns property on Woody Point Road that is available for future use.  

New Station # 3

This station will be located at 16315 Youngblood Road, on the southeast corner of McKee Road. It will be built to the standards of the Charlotte Fire Department in case the City of Charlotte ever takes over service. It will have 12,500 square feet on two floors and accommodate eight firefighters. It will have three bays, each about 60 feet deep, so it could ultimately house up to 6 vehicles. The bays will have doors on each end, allowing trucks to drive through. The station will include a meeting room suitable for community use. Construction should be complete around February 14, 2024. Construction cost is about $6 million. Click on the following links to see images of Station 3 Exterior, Station 3 Interior First Floor. Station 3 Interior Second Floor, and Station 3 Site.

Current Station # 2

The current Station #2 (below) at 13225 S Tryon Street will remain open until the new Station #3 is complete and operational. Atrium Health has purchased the land, but the Steele Creek Fire Department will be able to continue to use the station as long as it's needed. The Coca-Cola sign and other artifacts will be moved to the new station.

Current Station # 1

Current Station # 1 at 8700 Steele Creek Road will continue to provide fire and rescue service to the northern part of the district. It recently had its sewer system upgraded, and there are plans to add a bunk room on the right side. At some point, the city is expected to annex the new River District development, which will include areas in the northern part of the fire district. When that occurs, the city will provide fire service to that area. The City has rezoned a parcel for future use as a city fire station.

Charlotte Station # 30

Unrelated to the Steele Creek Fire Department plans, the City of Charlotte plans to build a replacement to Station #30 on Beam Road just north of the Vehicle Operations Center, as shown on the map.

Charlotte ETJ Fire Protection Service District

The Steele Creek Fire District is within the Charlotte ETJ Fire Protection Service District, which covers unincorporated areas around Charlotte. Property owners within the district  paid 10.15 cents per $100 assessed valuation in taxes this year. (Up from 8 cents last year.) This is expected to generate $8,985,761 based on an estimated assessed valuation in the Charlotte ETJ Fire Protection Service District of $9,033,638,802. The revenue raised is divided among six departments and the Charlotte Fire Department, which services unincorporated areas where volunteer departments have been disbanded. Steele Creek Stations # 1 and # 2 previously had three paid fire fighters in each shift. Increased funding in the county's 2023 budget has allowed an increase to four paid fire fighters per shift.

Follow the Steele Creek Fire
Department on Facebook at facebook.com/steelecreekfirerescue.

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