Poulsbo Fire’d up over new station

PIONEER HILL — Poulsbo Fire Department’s newest station is now officially ready to serve District 18’s growing emergency needs.

PIONEER HILL — Poulsbo Fire Department’s newest station is now officially ready to serve District 18’s growing emergency needs.

PFD crews moved in equipment and apparatus, constructed bunker gear lockers in the bays and established themselves at Station 77 at 1305 Pioneer Hill Road June 18. Several crew members even got to spend the night in the new bunks during their first 24-hour shift at the site Wednesday night.

“As of today, we threw the switch (for calls) and we haven’t had the first one yet,” A-shift Captain Chris Morrison said at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Station 74, on Clear Creek Road, which used to serve the vicinity, will be closed and the building will be sold, said PFD Fire Chief Jim Shields.

Station 72 on Faulkner Road will become a volunteer/resident station, where volunteers will report to attain equipment when they receive a call. Career staff from Station 72 will now work out of Station 77.

The department has been slowly moving into the station, but Wednesday was the big push, Morrison said.

The decision to locate at Pioneer Hill was based on an analysis that was done early in the site selection process. PFD’s Public Information Officer Michele Jennings said the district receives a large amount of calls from that area and there has been a recent population increase in the surrounding neighborhoods.

The district couldn’t expand its Clear Creek station because of land use restrictions and due to the fact that a lack of call volume in that area didn’t require such an expansion, she added.

The new station will have an engine, water tender, aid car, a paramedic and a lieutenant on site (when they are not out on calls) 24-hours a day.

Department officials said they hope to add two day-shift firefighters/emergency medical technicians in the future to round out the staff.

Station 77 also has a watchroom, a conference room, a day room and kitchen, several bedrooms, two bathrooms, laundry facilities, medic room. But the newest piece of equipment that has the entire district excited is a multi-use drill tower.

Operating guidelines for the tower have been compiled and crews hope to utilize it this week.

“We’re dying to use it, no doubt,” Morrison said.

“I don’t know which I’m more excited about, the centrally-located station here or the state-of-the-art training tower,” Shields added.

The tower might eventually be opened up to other districts and even local military for training in the future, Shields said.

Crews will not train with real fire or smoke in the tower, but will be able to work in simulated fire conditions and situations that are often found in the community, including basements, commercial buildings, homes and warehouses.

The planning process for Station 77 has been ongoing for nearly five years, Shields said. The project came in on budget and was paid for with funds from the district’s operation budget — the department did not have to ask tax payers for an increase in taxes to build this station.

“I think it’s a lot better than the two they had,” said Poulsbo resident Jim Anderson who stopped by the station to check it out. “It’s a very good station — well equipped.”

PFD will hold an official grand opening Saturday, Aug. 2 and will hold live demonstrations at the training tower.