MIDLOTHIAN – The rebirth of Fire Station No.1 in Midlothian is set for the first week of June 2020.
As the City of Midlothian has grown over the years so has the need for additional services.
Currently, the Fire Department staffs three Fire Stations strategically located in the City.
“One covering the northeast side of the city, one covering the southwest side of the city, and the new one that will provide continued coverage for the central part of the city and the expanding westside,” said Midlothian Fire Chief, Dale McCaskill.
McCaskill began his career as a volunteer firefighter with the Midlothian Fire Department in 1986 and returned in 2007 as the Deputy Chief over training in 2007.
He was named Midlothian’s Fire Chief in 2015.
The new Fire Station No. 1 will replace the Fire Station currently located at 235 N 8th Street. That station was built in the mid-1960s.
The total cost of the new Fire Station No. 1 is $8,100,000 and will be located on 2.067 acres of land at the corner of US Highway 287 and W. Main Street.
“The new building location will allow the Fire Department better access to highway infrastructure, thus expanding the area of coverage,” said Chief McCaskill. “This has enabled our City to eliminate the need to add an additional Fire Station to the west in future years as the population grows in that region of the City.”
When voters approved the bond referendum in 2017, the population of Midlothian was 26,000 residents. An estimated current population is 33,807 and since 2017 the city’s expectation for growth has been an additional 20,000 residents in the coming decade.
The new Fire Station No. 1 is 18,000-square-foot with fully modern facilities and the ability to house 12 firefighters per shift. There is also a dedicated training room, state-of-the-art alerting system that will reduce reaction time for response, a tornado shelter, and interior finishes that will provide a clean and safe environment. Additionally, a museum-like foyer will showcase the station’s own 1918 Model T fire engine.
Overall, the Midlothian Fire Department employees 60 Firefighter/Paramedics that work on three different platoons. There are also six employees in Fire Administration that include the Fire Chief, Assistant Fire Chief, EMS Battalion Chief, Fire Marshal, Fire Inspector and Administrative Assistant.
“Midlothian’s new Fire Station No. 1 is going to be a facility worthy of the community’s confidence and pride,” concluded Chief McCaskill. “It has been built with state-of-the-art fire prevention and protection services in mind. With the exponential growth in homes and businesses, we want to be poised to safeguard the lives and property of our citizens for years to come.”
City of Wilmer’s New Fire Station in the Works Too
Construction is still underway in Wilmer for that city’s new fire station. The original completion date was summer 2020, but with the COVID-19 pandemic staff said timing might slightly change.
Wilmer’s current station is 66 years old.
Wilmer Fire Chief Mark Hamilton said, “The fire department has outgrown the current station a long time ago and needs more room for both equipment and personnel.”
The new Fire Station will be located at N. Goode and Distribution Way and is on the same side of the highway as the city’s upcoming new school.
“This location gives the fire department direct access to the Pleasant Run Road bridge, which is the only bridge over the train tracks in the event of an emergency and a train is blocking the crossings in town.”
Progress on the City of Hutchins Public Safety Building
The City of Hutchins new Public Safety Building, which is meant to house the Fire Department is still at a standstill.
City Administrator Trudy Lewis said “We haven’t hired a new contractor as of yet. I can provide you with a full update as soon as we have the details. I don’t expect to take anything to our city council until May in this regard.”
That building saw a hiccup when the original company hired, Denco Construction was set to begin preliminary construction work last summer and start the project in the fall of 2019. The contract was terminated due to the company’s inability to complete the work as contracted.
While the city lost no money thanks to the bond company immediately stepping in, new Request for Proposals for contractors had to be initiated.