Lexington fire officials are asking city leaders to consider building new fire stations over the next five to six years. Assistant Fire Chief Harold Hoskins estimates the cost of such a building project at about ten million dollars a year.
He says it would cover the expense of building new stations plus the personnel, vehicles, and equipment. While the number of residential fires nationally is on a decline, Hoskins says a popular housing design is creating buildings that tend to burn faster. “A two story single family dwelling rarely does not have this large open ground floor to second floor area, be it around the stair well or whatever. Those design features cause fires to grow quicker, they get hotter faster and progressing to what’s known as flash over where essentially everything in the room is on fire much quicker than it did say 20 to 30 years ago,” said Hoskins.
Hoskins says today's homes also include a lot more synthetic materials in furnishings and those items tend to burn hotter and faster. When it comes to new fire station construction, Vice Mayor Linda Gorton says population trends are a part of the decision making process. “It’s a tricky balance and I’ve seen that over the last 16 years. We’ve moved fire stations and put new ones in, depending on where our population growth is,” added Gorton. Hoskins, meanwhile, says the first priority is moving a New Circle road station to a site behind Eastland Shopping Center. He's hoping the mayor will recommend money in the upcoming budget. Other priority locations for new fire facilities are in Masterson Station, near the Polo Club community off interstate 75 and near the Athens exit off I-75.