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Steele Creek to Get Two New Fire Stations . . . Eventually

(October 4, 2009) At a meeting of the Citizens Advisory Group for the Steele Creek Area Plan, Deputy Chief Rich Grainger of the Charlotte Fire Department discussed how the department provides timely fire and rescue protection in the incorporated areas of Steele Creek and has plans to cover additional areas as they are annexed.

He said their goal is to be on scene within 6 minutes of receiving a call 80% of the time. A fire station generally can meet this goal to provide timely service to an area within two and a half miles of the station. The city locates fire stations approximately five miles apart in most areas.

New stations generally are staffed by one engine company at all times. An engine company consists of one fire engine and four firefighters. As additional development occurs and needs increase, the station could also have a ladder company, consisting of a ladder truck and four additional firefighters. If calls for service increase further, the city could build a new, infill fire station in the area.

Currently four Charlotte Fire Department fire stations serve Steele Creek:

Steele Creek Fire Stations

Fire Station 26 opened in 1989 on South Tryon St near Westinghouse Blvd. It has one engine company and one ladder company.

Fire Station 30 is at a temporary location on Belle Oaks Drive off Byrum Drive. It has one engine company and serves the airport as well as areas south of the airport.

Fire Station 37 opened in 2007 on South Tryon St near Shopton Road West. It has one engine company.

Fire Station 38 opened in 2008 on Shopton Road West next to Withers Cove on Lake Wylie. It has one engine company. This location also has a boat house on Lake Wylie that can be used by both the police and fire departments. This station actually is outside the current Charlotte corporate limits. It provides services to newly annexed areas that are too distant from Stations 26 and 37 for them to provide timely service and will serve areas that will be annexed in the future without providing unnecessary duplication of services areas by nearby stations.

Stations 37 and 38 each have three bays, which will allow for the addition of ladder companies at a future date if needed. Medic or other emergency services can use the third bays.

The Steele Creek Volunteer Fire Department provides services to the unincorporated areas of Steele Creek from two stations, one on Steele Creek Road near I-485 and the other on S Tryon St west of Steele Creek Road. Volunteer fire fighters receive the same training as city fire fighters. The major difference is that volunteer fire department staff are not at the station at all times. They usually respond from their homes or other locations and typically cannot be at a scene as quickly as city companies can be. The Charlotte Fire Department does not automatically respond to calls in unincorporated areas but will respond when asked to by volunteer departments.

Charlotte expects eventually to annex all areas of Steele Creek. Once the city annexes areas in the southwest corner of Mecklenburg County that are too far from Station 37 for that station to serve adequately, the city will build a new station somewhere in the vicinity of the intersection of Youngblood Road and McKey Road. The city has not identified a site but continues to look for opportunities to acquire an appropriate property in the area. It is possible that the city might build a temporary station until a permanent one could be built.

Fire Station 30 currently serves facilities on the south side of the airport. However, a new Station 41 will be built next to the new airport runway that is under construction. Once Station 41 is in operation and Charlotte annexes additional area in the vicinity of Shopton Road, the city will relocate Station 30 from its temporary location to a site that can cover areas too far north to be adequately covered by stations 26 and 38.

On the map above, the black circles approximate areas within a two and a half mile radius of each current station. However, the actual service areas of the stations are different because the two and a half mile distance for timely service is based on road distance and access rather than absolute distance. New stations eventually will be built somewhere in the vicinities of the centers of the red circles.  There are no funding, schedule, or specific sites for the potential new stations at the present time.

Click on the map or HERE to view a pdf version of the map.

To comment on this story, please visit the Steele Creek Residents Association Message Board.