Katy sets grand opening of fire station No. 2

Katy sets grand opening of fire station No. 2 Main Photo

27 Feb 2019

By: Karen Zurawski - Houston Chronicle 

A March 2 grand opening ceremony is planned for Katy Fire Department Station No. 2 at 25420 Bell Patna Drive, Katy.

The ceremony is set to begin at 10:30 a.m.

Fire Chief Russell Wilson said he will welcome visitors and guests and introduce participants. The program will include a prayer, a cornerstone dedication by the Katy Masonic Lodge 1439, remarks by Katy Mayor Chuck Brawner and the Katy Veterans of Foreign Wars doing a flag-raising ceremony at the station. Refreshments will be served.

“Adding this station location has already proven to be optimal when it comes to disaster,” said Wilson. “Not only is it our choice for staging our resources, but also the choice for staging of the National Guard, for several FEMA strike teams that came in and countless other rescuers that responded to Harvey.”

The department will move its high-water rescue vehicle to the station. “It’s proven to be an optimal location for deployment of resources during major flooding,” said Wilson.

City officials broke ground for the three-bay, roughly 13,000-square-foot fire station in December 2017 near restaurants off Katy Mills Circle. The station includes dormitory facilities, a kitchen and exercise room.

The station will house the department’s Quint 2, a ladder/pumper combination, and will be manned by four people per shift for each of the three shifts.

A $2.2 million Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response grant awarded in 2017 allowed the department to field 16 new firefighters for the station near Katy Mills Mall.

District 10 U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, played a role. Wilson said McCaul or someone from his office has been invited. “He was very supportive of the grant in staffing the station,” said Wilson. “I would like for him to be there.”

Wilson added, “The Quint was bought a couple years ago for that station.”

The truck will be part of a ceremonial “push back.” Wilson explained it’s a long-standing tradition that dates to old steam engines drawn by horses. “When the company would return to the station, they would wash down the horses and push the cart back into the stall,” said Wilson.

The station also will house medic 2, which will be staffed by two firefighters each shift, said Wilson.

Completion of the station is the long-awaited culmination of the project that started years ago and is a point of pride with all firefighters and the fire department, said Wilson.

“Ultimately, we’ll be able to serve the citizens better and provide a more safe and secure city for our citizens and that’s what we’re all about,” said Wilson. “We’re excited to do it (the opening) and to be part of it. It’s something that will be long remembered and part of our history and it’s exciting to be part of it.”

Contractor was Bass Construction of Rosenberg. The contract totaled more than $3.65 million. Slattery Tackett Architects LLP designed the station.

When the station was designed, David Slattery of Slattery Tackett Architects explained that it contains pods for each company within the department. For example, emergency medical responders and the ladder company each would have a pod.

The city used funds from a 2014 $5 million bond to pay for the fire station and a new fire truck.

Funds from a 2007 bond election allowed the city to expand and renovate Katy Fire Station No. 1 at 1417 Ave. D.

A consultant hired by the city recommended a second station in order for the city to maintain its ISO rating of 2.

The Insurance Service Office evaluates fire departments taking into consideration various factors including equipment and training. The rating a department receives can impact the home insurance premiums paid by residents protected by the department. Ratings range from 1, which is the best, to 10.

Station No. 2 originally was proposed near Kingsland Boulevard and Pin Oak Road. That site was abandoned after Tax Day floods in 2016 inundated the area after heavy rains. That was among events that delayed the station, which officials at one time had talked of opening as early as 2017.

More recently, the Oct. 1, 2018-Sept. 30, 2019 City of Katy budget talked of fire station No. 2 being completed in December 2018. That budget also funds three firefighting positions and one fire investigator.

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