The Ennis Fire Department broke ground on its third station Friday morning and is expected to open for service in January 2019.
The new station being designed by RBDR Architects out of Waco, who have built both police and fire stations. Some of the clients RBDR has worked for include the City of Robinson, City of Hewitt, and McLennan County.
The new station, located on the corner of Jeter Drive and Country Club Road, will be a brick building with a metal roof. It will house six people, four firefighters, and two medical personnel from American Medical Response who will run EMS calls from the station.
The total cost of the project is $2.4 million.
For Ennis Fire Chief Jeff Aycock, the groundbreaking has been a long time coming and the department is excited about the opportunities it will provide.
“We haven’t had a new fire station built in 38 years. It is going to be on the west side of town and it is going to be a three-bay station,” Aycock said. “It will be a little over 10,000 square foot and will house a pumper and an ambulance crew.”
One of the unique features of the station is that it will house the city’s new emergency operations center. The center will serve as a command post during a major emergency such as a tornado. It allows emergency resources to be coordinated from one location instead of several sites around the city.
Aycock stated that this room would be similar to what the Red Oak Fire Department uses during significant emergencies at its central location.
Aycock stated the need for the station is because of the growth that is taking place in the city.
According to the World Population Review website, the City of Ennis’ population was 12,110 in 1980. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's population at 19,221 on July 1, 2016.
“We are excited," Aycock added. "They have 335 days to build it. So we should be in there by the first of the year, January of 2019. We also have a new engine ordered for it.
“It will reduce response times for the west side of town, then it will help the people on the north-west side of town with their insurance rating. We are an Insurance Service Office rating of 2, and that should solidify that rating for growth in on the west side of town.”
The Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating provides information to insurance companies about the city’s ability to provide fire protection for its residents. A class one-rating means the city or community has the best possible protection. If a rating of 10 is received, it means that there is no fire protection for that area.
According to ISO website, the rating system looks at how well a department receives emergency calls, dispatches its resources and communications.
Aycock also explained that — after the new police and fire complex is built sometime within the next 10 years — the EOC will move from station three (under construction) to the new law enforcement complex. Station three will then serve as a backup.