COVINGTON - Newton County Fire Station No. 7 was dedicated at a public ceremony Wednesday afternoon.
Located on Brown Bridge Road, two blocks west of Kirkland Road, the station will serve the heavily populated western part of the county and has already made a difference in response times, according to Fire Chief Mike Satterfield.
Since it opened on Feb. 5, staff at the station have responded to 35 emergency calls, representing 34.6 percent of total calls received countywide, Satterfield said.
While the countywide response time average is 8 minutes, 4 seconds, at the new station, the response time average has been 4 minutes, 10 seconds, he said.
"It will be the difference in life and death. It will be the difference in property loss because of this response time. It will make an impact," Satterfield told the assembled crowd of elected officials, firefighters and citizens.
Satterfield thanked the Board of Commissioners and county staff, along with his staff and Sunbelt Builders, who constructed the building, for their hard work, and the community at large for its support.
"Obviously in these tough economic times, it took good planning to be able to build this building and stay within budget," he said.
The 6,000-square-foot building will sleep eight, and new features include bunk areas separated by walls for privacy, as well as connections for phone, TV and Internet in each bunk.
The station also has a backup generator in case of a power outage, another new feature.
Board of Commissioners Chairman Kathy Morgan, along with District 1 Commissioner Mort Ewing, District 3 Commissioner Nancy Schulz and District 5 Commissioner Tim Fleming, were on hand for the event.
While recognizing the current commissioners in attendance, Morgan gave credit for the station to the past administration.
"Without their vision and even more so, their funding, this station would not be here," she said.
She singled out former District 3 Commissioner Ester Fleming, who was in attendance.
"This was his project," she said. "He really took an interest in making this come to fruition."
With the addition of Fire Station No. 7, the county's total number of fire stations rises to 13, with seven paid and six volunteer.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.