Jan. 28--SPRING LAKE -- A proposed second fire station in Spring Lake could cut response time in half for firefighters racing to burning homes in Manchester.
The fire station is part of a long-term capital improvement plan through 2024 approved Monday night by the town's Board of Alderman.
Board members voted to support projects in the plan but did not commit any funds.
A second fire station was requested as a result of lengthy response times caused by the distance, as well as complications caused by a road project meant to alleviate increased traffic.
The Spring Lake Fire Department logs about 1,700 calls for service annually, said Assistant Fire Chief Jason Williams. About 400 of those calls come from Manchester.
Currently, it takes firefighters between nine and 10minutes to drive from the station on Ruth Street to Manchester, Williams told the board. The new station proposed for a location on N.C. 210, could cut response time to less than five minutes, Williams said.
"Time is killing us to go down to that end," he said. "If you watch your house burn, that's everything you have. That's life shattering. The quicker we can get there, the better off."
The location of the new station would allow firefighters to circumvent an overpass carrying South Bragg Boulevard traffic. The overpass is part of an $83.7million transportation project, which is partially funded by the Department of Defense.
The overpass project was necessary to accommodate an influx of traffic moving from southern Harnett County through Spring Lake and onto Fort Bragg, Mayor Chris Rey said. It would, however, take firefighters on a detour from the Ruth Street station up to Manchester.
"Because of the massive amount of traffic that's coming through, they had to expand the boulevard," Rey said.
There is no set time for construction of the station to begin, but officials have proposed $1 million for the project in the fiscal 2015 budget.
Officials are looking at grants to help pay for the new station, said Town Manager Ken Metcalf. It would cost about $50,000 to purchase the land and $950,000 to construct the building.
Spring Lake receives about $90,000 from the county fire tax to cover Manchester, Metcalf said.
The new fire station would hold one rescue truck and one fire engine, Williams said. Firefighters would be paid, and some would volunteer.
Among other improvements in the town's long-term capital improvement plan are new police vehicles, upgrading vehicles in the public works fleet and a splash pad and pool for Ruth Street Park.
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