New Cabot fire station to be completed by February

Originally Published June 9, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated June 7, 2013 at 9:49 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Rusty Hubbard

Phil Robinson, chief of the Cabot Fire Department, looks at the plans for the city’s new fire station that is under construction.

A new fire station under construction in Cabot will cut response times by eight to 10 minutes.

Caobt Fire Department Chief Phil Robinson said that the building, at Old Mountain Springs Road and Arkansas 5, will likely be completed by February if there are no major weather delays.

The new station will be the fourth for the city. A fourth station was built several years ago but never staffed, and it is now the city recycling center, Robinson said. The location of the new building was determined in 2005 when Robinson came on board as chief.

“There was a big housing boom in 2005, and a lot of residential construction went up in [the Magness Creek] area,” Robinson said.

A survey by the company Insurance Services Office Inc. gives neighborhoods a rating of 1 through 10 (10 being the worst) to designate their level of fire protection based on response times. When the Magness Creek area scored a 10, Robinson and the department decided to house a truck in the neighborhood for firefighters to quickly access in case of a blaze. That move brought the neighborhood’s rating to a 3. The new fire station will be built next to the storage building that currently houses the fire engine in the neighborhood.

“When the first ISO rating became public, people were concerned,” Robinson said.

The new fire station was a priority in budgeting for Robinson, who said the majority of the costs were covered by Fire Department funds built up in a savings account. A $40,000 grant secured by state Sen. Eddie Joe Williams, R-Cabot, helped move the building along, but the rest of the funding came from savings, rather than new taxes or other costs to the public, Robinson said.

The new building will be around 6,800 square feet and include a living space, offices and a two-bay garage for trucks. The total cost of the project is estimated at $1.2 million. Robinson said three firefighters will staff the new station on each shift for a total of 12 firefighters assigned to the station. Firefighters staffing the new station have been hired over the past several years by the department through a federal Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grant, Robinson said. Those firefighters have been working at the other stations in town and will shift to the new station once it is open this winter.

Robinson said two additional locations have been identified by the department’s Strategic Station Planning Committee for possible future stations. The far nothwest area of Cabot, along with the area near the first Cabot exit on northbound U.S. 67/167, were both identified as possibly needing stations in the future, but Robinson said the committee is only in the very beginning stages of that planning.

Staff writer Emily Van Zandt can be reached at (501) 399-3688 or evanzandt@arkansasonline.com.

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