Central Texas fire department looks to expand

Posted at 6:14 PM, Feb 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-03 15:20:07-04

A Central Texas fire department needs to expand because it would like to be able to respond more quickly to all the emergencies.

Central Texas News Now's Brooke Bednarz rode along with Copperas Cove firefighters to a house fire Thursday to see first hand why they need more firefighters for a quicker response time.

The Copperas Cove Fire Department has three fire stations, but their third station only has two on staff per shift.

"Those two persons, that staff, will be responding to whatever emergency comes in first in that response area," Deputy Chief Gary Young of the Copperas Cove Fire Department said. 

 "If we have one apparatus go out on a call, say an EMS call, then the fire truck is out of service and it makes that fire truck unable to respond to fire calls," Copperas Cove Fire Chief Michael Neujahr said. 

That leaves the other vehicles unstaffed and out of service. Last year alone, Engine 3 was out of service for 1,008 calls and the ambulance was out of service for 151 calls. 

"Fire trucks or ambulances, respectively speaking, have to come from one of the other fire stations to come back into that district," Deputy Chief Young added. 

Meaning response times could be much longer. 

"In a life or death emergency or in a structure fire situation, increased response times are not ideal," Fire Chief Neujahr added. 

Currently, Copperas Cove really relies on Station 3.

"The call volume in the district where fire station 3 serves, the call volume has steadily risen every year," Deputy Chief Young said. 

The Copperas Cove Fire Departments believes now is the time to hire more people and add more stations.

"Ideally, we'd like to staff another six personnel, three firefighters and three Lieutenants, to be staffed over three different 24-hour shifts," Fire Chief Neujahr said. 

Those changes, the fire department says will help them provide the right amount of support to Copperas Cove. 

The new proposed Fire Station Four would be a joint-use station and provide space for the Copperas Cove Police Department on the east side of town as well.

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