Brookland firefighters have new home

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-A Region 8 fire department is in it's new facility as of Tuesday.

Brookland Fire Chief Steve Beck says their new building is going to be a real asset when it comes to safety and response time.

"It replaces a station on Bernice that was built in 1978," Beck said. "It's 34 years newer. We're going from four truck bays to six truck bays. We can add living quarters at a later date. And it's also, in the last ISO rating in February of 2012, that we need to be closer to the Roger's Chapel community. So, this will put us four tenths of a mile closer to the Roger's Chapel community which will help us in later ISO ratings."

According to Brookland Mayor, Kenneth Jones, this project has been in the works for a long time.

"When I became mayor in 2007," Jones said. "One of the first fire runs happened at 3:10 in the afternoon when school was letting out and children were everywhere. I saw there was a need to get them located in a different area so that they could respond quicker and be safer for the citizens. I do tip my hat to the guys because when firefighters are called to come in and respond to a fire or a wreck their focus is to get there and get to the area as quick as possible. You know, we've been over there since 1978 and we haven't had any accidents with pedestrians. We've been very fortunate."

Chief Beck is also pleased with the extra room they now have.

"We'll not have to double park trucks in the station," Beck said. "It will hold six trucks in the drive thru bays and more safety issues. We won't pull out, we'll pull thru instead of backing up as much, so it'll be more safe. On Bernice street it was a narrow, two lane city street. This is on a state highway. We can travel out in four different directions from the better location."

Mayor Jones says this project has been a collaborative effort between the city, local fire department and county office.

"The total project," Jones said. "Right now, is at $100,000. It could have gone higher, but the county was gracious enough to come in and do the dirt work for us. They contributed a lot of man hours and equipment to be here and do this and without their help we couldn't have made it happen."

Beck says he's thrilled to see the building complete and their equipment moved in.

"When you're in a small community," Beck said. "You're limited on funding and it takes a while to collect funding up like this, this amount of funding. It's a pretty good feeling when you finally achieve your goal."

Mayor Jones says this project was all about serving the people better.

"The goal of this is safety," Jones said. "Being able to get to the area of need quicker, but also we look at the future and what are we going to need in the future to lower our ISO ratings."

The new facility is 60 by 75 and approximately 4,500 square feet.

Both Beck and Jones say the future plan it to eventually add living quarters to the facility.

For more information about the city of Brookland, log onto their website.

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