Waco firefighters who were housed at fire station 5 in the 2600 block of Speight Avenue have been operating out of the Central Fire Station on Columbus Avenue since at least last month.
Fire Chief Bobby Tatum said fire station 5, which was built in 1958, is in need of repairs and is being evaluated to see if a change of location is needed.
"I delayed repairs to that station until we decided if we were going to remain there or the possibility of moving station 5 to a different location that would provide better coverage for the city," Tatum said. "Right now, we are looking at ensuring, we don't spend money on repairs if we are going to build a fire station.That decision will be contingent upon if we are going to build a new fire station."
He added is not uncommon to temporarily close a station for repairs or for training.
Fire station 5 is one of the fire stations, the fire department is asking the city to invest on as part of the Capital Improvement Projects for the next fiscal year. That request includes $500,000 to buy a property for that station and $250,000 to rebuild that station closer to a developing area like the Central Texas Marketplace.
"Looking where [fire station] five is located and the demand we are seeing. It's in our best interest to relocate station five to New Road and Babgy area," Tatum said.
This is an option that Waco city spokesman Larry Holze said the city council will take a closer look at before investing in repairs of the almost 60-year-old station.
"The key thing is not maybe what's wrong with the building. We are looking at it in our overall plan and design for the best fire service and protection for our citizens," Holze said. ""Location, location, location, functionality. Can we get the right kind of machines out of there easily and safely? Those are two main things we are going to invest in any repairs to the building."
The Waco fire chief said having the three-person crew from fire station 5 out of Central Station does not affect the response time.
"I know in four minutes, a fire engine from Central fire station can cover station five's territory. We also have station nine and station 4, that can also respond in 5's territory," Tatum sad.
The council will stat deciding its capital improvement priorities next month. Council members will make the ultimate decision in August when they finalize the budget.
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