Walnut Ridge Fire Department Closer to Getting New Building

February 13, 2007 -- Posted at 6:35 p.m. CST

WALNUT RIDGE, AR -- Plans are currently being drawn up by an architect out of Paragould.  The design of the new fire station and the estimate of how much it will cost should be known soon.

Almost a year ago, we told you about the condition of the Walnut Ridge Fire Department.     The building is decades old and falling down.

A plan was being drawn up by then Mayor Glenn Murphy, new Mayor Michelle Rogers has modified that plan.

The current fire station is over 70 years old.  One of the primary problems the firefighters face is their equipment doesn't fit inside their building.

"We're confined for space with these two trucks.  They're jammed in here real tight and it's hard to get them in and out.  It slows our response time down," said Fire Chief  Alan Haskins.

There's only a few feet between the trucks, and the doorway is so short the trucks have to be loaded down with water and supplies just to get them inside.

Besides the size, Haskins said the building is falling apart.

"The roofs leaks have gotten worse and the water mains are still rotted," said Haskins.

Plans are in the works to build a new fire station across town, and across the railroad tracks, from the current one.  Mayor Michelle Rogers said they're working hard to make the new station a reality.

"It started out as a municipal building with the fire station, city hall and police department all in one building.  Now it is just a fire station," said Rogers.

Rogers said they're currently looking at ways to pay for the building.  According to Haskins, with all the problems this station has the new one could almost pay for itself..

"We could probably help make the payment with the utilities that we spend on this building," said Haskins.

Haskins said it costs the city over $1,000 a month for utilities alone.  Factor in the amount of money being spent on constant repairs and you've got quite a hefty chunk of change.

Rogers told K8 News they plan to break ground on the project sometime this summer.