County dedicates new firehouse

Franklin station to serve growing northwest area

November 25, 2003|By David Anderson | David Anderson,SUN STAFF

Responding to increased demand for fire protection in Baltimore County's fastest-growing area, the Fire Department dedicated a new station yesterday in Reisterstown.

The Franklin Fire Station, at 600 Nicodemus Road, is home to 28 paid firefighters and paramedics. Officials said it is the first time the county has opened a station offering expanded service since the late 1980s.

"This is the first time in quite a long time that we have a new fire station that is not only a new building, but also offers additional fire service to our citizens," said Elise Armacost, a Fire Department spokeswoman.

The former station, located in a trailer on the grounds of the Hannah More School on Reisterstown Road, offered ambulance service only. The new one houses a firetruck, ambulance and a Chevrolet Suburban for the battalion chief. A vehicle for fighting brush fires will arrive in the coming months.

The station, vehicles and land cost $1.6 million. The Franklin station will serve Owings Mills, Randallstown, Glyndon and other northwest county commu nities.

Fire Chief John Hohman said the site, which is next to a county police precinct, was chosen because of its access to Interstate 795 and Red Run Boulevard.

Residents at yesterday's dedication said they were glad to see the fire station.

John Reed, who has lived in the nearby Franklin Station development for about a year, came to the dedication with his mother and young daughter. "It's comforting," said Reed, a 41-year-old carpenter. "I was wondering where the closest [fire station] was."

Armacost said Franklin personnel would augment the volunteer fire departments in Glyndon, Owings Mills and Reisterstown, which cannot keep up with the growing demands of an increasing population.

"They've done a great job," she said of the volunteers. "They will continue to provide fire service, but now we also have career firefighters to support them."

The station, which opened two weeks ago, has a kitchen area, weightroom and individual living quarters. Lt. Michael Gist said the living area is an improvement over other stations, which have dormitory rooms.

Hohman said the firetruck and ambulance had been custom-made, with larger chassis and many firefighter-friendly features.

Cary Gawel, who drives the nearly $300,000 truck, called it a "first-class piece of equipment."

Gist walked around the bright red truck, pointing out features that include an intercom system and roll-up doors. The vehicle also has the capacity to carry 1,000 gallons of water. That's important, he added, since many of the streets in the area do not have fire hydrants.

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