ASH FLAT, AR (KAIT) – The Ash Flat Fire Department will soonhave a permanent home after almost two years without one.
Crews began constructing a new fire station, located offHighway 62/412 near the Ash Flat Wal-Mart, in August and are now nearing completion.
"We're on the verge of getting our new station," said StacyHorton, the Ash Flat fire chief.
Chief Horton says his department can move into the new 7,500-squarefoot facility in approximately three to four weeks.
This development comes after the city decided to convert thefire department's old station in 2011 into the new Ash Flat Library, whichopened recently after renovations.
The department currently operates from several buildingsnear the new library. The City of Ash Flat even constructed a garage nearby totemporarily house three of its largest fire trucks.
Once the fire department leaves its current amenities, itwill use the library as a substation.
The new firehouse features four bays with enough space tohold five vehicles. The facility also contains living quarters to house fourworkers as well as a training room, office space and a kitchen.
Crews have yet to install ceiling tiles in the fire stationor seal the concrete floors among other small improvements left to complete.
"By the time we get painted on the inside and get thingsarranged," Horton said, "we'll get things moved over there and be able tooperate."
The city secured a bond issue to build the facility, whichcost about $478,000.
Horton hopes the new firehouse will help speed up responsetimes and save local homeowners some money.
"When we get moved in," he added, "we'll probably call foran ISO (Insurance Services Office) inspection."
Horton would like to lower the city's ISO rating by twopoints. It is currently set at six.
The chief says the ISO rate is measured on a scale of one to10 – the lower the score, the lower the probability of a dangerous fire.
Horton says bringingdown ISO will in turn bring down home insurance rates for residents.
"It's going to be a good place," Horton said. "We're proudto have it."
It is unclear when the city may undergo its ISO inspection,though the last time it did was in 1996.
The city also plans to host an open house for the publicwhen the new fire station is up and running fully.