It’s fire, land and water. All places Tega Cay firefighters can get to faster, with the opening of a second city station on Stonecrest Boulevard.
“It is a huge move for the city,” said Mayor George Sheppard. “It's fire and safety, which is something the city has been concentrating on for a while.”
Firefighters celebrated a ribbon cutting July 8 for the new station at 1195 Stonecrest Boulevard. Chief Scott Szymanski said the new, modern station will keep city residents safer.
“It's going to be great,” he said. “It's going to give us our same response time to this side of the city that we have how, to (the other) side of the city.”
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The 6,500-square-foot station includes four sleep quarters, meeting and office space, two pull-through bays and three trucks, including a ladder. The total cost was $1.8 million.
“We are very pleased to be opening the station almost five months ahead of schedule and under budget,” said Charlie Funderburk, city manager.
Tega Cay began on a peninsula, an area that since became known as historic Tega Cay as the city grew to include other areas like Stonecrest. The first and until now only fire station was located well within historic Tega Cay. Also until recently, there wasn’t a direct connection between the two parts of the city.
Then Hubert Graham Way opened.
“It's now the connector of the city,” Sheppard said. “You don't have to go out of the city to go into the city. You can go right there.”
With the road, it isn’t that the newer station will serve newer Tega Cay and the older station its historic area.
“The new station is going to be serving the traditional areas of Tega Cay and the newer areas,” Sheppard said. “With Hubert Graham Way being there, it allows us to serve both.”
While most fire stations aim to get water to the fire faster, the new one also gets the firefighter to the water faster. Each station will have a fire boat, meaning one each above and below the dam. One designed for lake use, the other for river conditions.
“Below the dam we need one for swift water rescue,” Szymanski said.
Tega Cay received almost a dozen calls last year for help on the water. The department got calls on the lake and river. The new boat on the river can help when people get stuck in rising water.
“The kayakers get out there and the other people walk across the water, and they let the water out of the dam and people get stuck,” Szymanski said.
Land for the new station was donated to the city a decade ago by Stonecrest developer Herman Stone. The growing department now has 17 paid and 20 volunteer firefighters. The new station will have three paid firefighters there around-the-clock, with three more there during daylight hours.
“We're increasing our fire services, which is something we need to do,” Sheppard said.
A new truck came with the expansion, to be stationed at the older firehouse while others are moved to the new station.
While city staff and firefighters are excited about the new equipment, they are most excited for how the new station can make their city safer.
“By having a station on the western and eastern side of the city, our staff will be able to further decrease the response times on calls for services,” Funderburk said.
“We have also begun swift water rescue training and have four certified personnel already. This station will allow us to more quickly respond to rescue calls for incidents below the dam on the Catawba River as well.”