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Steele Creek Fire Department Plans Two New Stations to Better Service Unincorporated Areas

(August 22, 2022) The Steele Creek Fire Department plans to build, equip, and staff two new fire stations by late 2023. The new Station # 2 will be located on Woody Point Road near Shopton Road West and service the Sanctuary, Chapel Cove, and other neighborhoods north of McDowell Nature Preserve along Shopton Road West.  The new Station #3 will be on the southeast corner of Youngblood Road and McKee Road and will service the Palisades and nearby areas.

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 are not ideal to serve areas within 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 but expects to receive 1,750 calls in 2022.

Current Steele Creek Fire Station # 2 is now 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 new stations located closer to the areas the department serves. The new locations 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.  

New Station # 2

This station will be located at 13227 Woody Point Road, about 650 feet west of Shopton Road West. The design of this station is complete, and construction will begin as soon as permitting is complete.  It will have 5,580 square feet with three bays on one floor and accommodate five firefighters. Construction should be complete in May or June 2023. The department has purchased a ladder truck for this station, and that will be the primary truck for the station. It will be the only ladder truck in Steele Creek. Construction cost is about $2 million. Response time to the Sanctuary, for example, will be reduced from about 10 minutes to about 2 minutes! The department plans to have a groundbreaking ceremony soon. Stay tuned for the details. See images of Station 2 Exterior, Station 2 Interior. and Station 2 Site.

Some neighbors are challenging the ability of the Fire Department to build a station on Woody Point Road. The Zoning Board of Adjustment will hold a hearing on the challenge on September 27.

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 September 2023. Construction cost is about $6 million. 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 at 13225 S Tryon Street will remain open until both of the new stations are complete and operational. Atrium Health has purchased the land, but the Steele Creek Fire Department will be able to continue to use the station until it is no longer needed.

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.

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 will pay 10.15 cents per $100 assessed valuation in next year's taxes. (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 will allow 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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