Fire Station #8 is located on East Stone Drive at the intersection with New Beason Well Road behind the Walgreen's pharmacy. David Grace photo.
KINGSPORT â€” The Model City cut the ribbon and officially opened its newest fire station Tuesday morning â€” Kingsportâ€™s eighth and one thatâ€™s been long overdue for the residents on the east side of town.
Fire Station #8 is located on East Stone Drive at the intersection with New Beason Well Road behind the Walgreen's pharmacy. About 75 city officials, active and retired firefighters and elected leaders attended the ribbon cutting and grand opening of the fire station Tuesday morning.
The new fire station went online April 27th and will cover the city limits in and around East Stone Drive, from Beechnut Drive to Ollis Bowers Hill Road, including Crown Colony, Preston Forrest, Cleek Road and will serve as a backup to adjacent fire zones.
The two-bay station houses two engine trucks (one being a reserve truck), nine firefighters and in appearance looks similar to Fire Station #7 in the Rock Springs community. The 7,400-square-foot station includes a police substation, exercise room, kitchen area and three dormitories.
"Itâ€™s a good station, well built and Iâ€™m very proud of it," said Chief Craig Dye. "Itâ€™s been needed for quite some time."
Kingsport annexed the Crown Colony community over a decade ago with the expectation being the city would improve fire protection services to this neighborhood as well as other property owners on the east side of town. Nothing moved on that front until four years ago when Kingsport leaders decided to build two new fire stations â€” one in Rock Springs because of the annexations taking place and the other on East Stone Drive.
Originally, some 20 years ago, Kingsport purchased a piece of property roughly across the street from Fire Station #8 â€” on the Cleek Road side of East Stone Drive â€” to use as a future site for a fire station. That site was ruled out since the existing site is easier for fire trucks to enter and exit the property.
"We felt like the city was not making good on its promise of services and not carrying it out," said Mayor Dennis Phillips. "This has been a long time coming and itâ€™s a commitment the (Board of Mayor and Aldermen) and staff made to the citizens to have fire protection."
Originally, city officials planned for Fire Station #8 to be open by November 2011, but with delays in steel delivery, the date got pushed back to after the first of the year and then eventually the end of April. The cost of the project also increased, going from $2 million to approximately $2.4 million, because of inflation, environmental issues with the site, and emission standards for the fire truck.
Kingsport has built two new fire stations in the last four years; Fire Station #7 opened in February 2010. The last round of fire station construction took place more than 20 years ago, with Fire Station #6 in Colonial Heights built in 1991 and Fire Station #5 in 1990.