The Trafalgar Volunteer Fire Department has the equipment needed for most emergency situations but may need two engines to bring those tools to the scene of an accident.
Before a larger engine can be purchased, the department needs a bigger station. The Trafalgar Volunteer Fire Department and the Hensley Fire Protection District Board took the first step toward building a new station by purchasing 19 acres of land near State Road 135 and State Road 252 for $275,000. The land purchase was paid for with savings and money from department fundraisers.
Taking multiple engines on a run leads to higher fuel costs and adds mileage to the trucks, Chief Brandon Shireman said. The current station, which is 45 years old, is too small for some of the larger trucks, which could hold more equipment, he said. He estimated 25 percent of engines produced would not fit into the station.
Building costs or construction dates for a new station are not known yet, according to a news release from the department.
In a few cases, one engine was already on a call when a serious vehicle accident happened and some of the equipment needed for the vehicle accident was on the first engine. Larger engines would allow the department to carry more equipment and allow every engine to have an entire set of tools.
“We’ve called another department to help, so it’s worked out,” Shireman said. “But it would be nice to have all of the equipment on one truck.”
A new station will be designed to allow for the department to grow. Beds would be one of the main needs if the department evolved into a full-time staff. The Hensley fire district covers 30,919 acres and nearly 4,000 residents in Hensley Township and portions of Union and Franklin townships.
“We’re volunteer right now, but in the future it could change to have a paid staff,” Shireman said. “In case of something like that, we want to be able to fit those needs into the building.”
The district will keep six of the 19 acres purchased, allowing enough room for the new building and potential future expansion to the facility. The remaining 13 acres will be sold. Mike Hodge, president of the Hensley Fire District Board, said multiple properties were considered, but a five-acre lot in the area cost $270,000, nearly equal in price but with much less land.