Permanent Clarksburg fire station set to open in 2013
Site adjacent to the historic district will be close to densely populated areas
Planning is under way for a permanent fire station in Clarksburg.
The county will build the station on 4.04 acres on Frederick Road north of Clarksburg Road, said Don Scheuerman, chief of the Projects Management Section, Division of Building Design and Construction, Montgomery County Department of General Services. The county bought the land in August for $1.12 million.
The fire station will open in fall 2013, a year earlier than expected, on what were formerly known as the Thompson and Wright properties, he said.
"The [county] anticipated a longer time to acquire the property through condemnation," Scheuerman said. "With us being able to come to an agreement with the property owner, it made the property available sooner."
Hughes Group Architects of Sterling, Va., was hired in July to begin design work that should take 18 months. Construction will take another 18 months, he said.
The fire station will have an energy-efficient design and will include four bays, dormitory and support space, administrative offices, a meeting room and a training room. It will also have space for a police satellite office, an Upcounty Regional Services Center office and the battalion chief's office.
Some 2,600 square feet of the 22,600 square foot building will be used to store personal protective equipment.
The station will be equipped with an aerial truck, a tanker truck and a brush truck. Some of this equipment is already in Clarksburg at the temporary fire station.
The fire station will be designed to blend in with the adjacent Clarksburg historic district, Scheuerman said.
The county has been looking since 2003 for an appropriate site. Emergency vehicles must be able to respond within six minutes to fires and basic life support calls in the community's densely populated areas.
This site was one of the three recommended by a county study group in 2004, but it was rejected because extending sewer service would have been too costly; instead, a site was selected at the corner of Stringtown and Frederick roads.
A number of problems prevented the county from building at that location, including two historic buildings on the site that would have had to be preserved and the fear it was too close to heavy traffic during peak hours, so the study group conducted a second review.
Public water already exists to the new site and development in the area since 2004 makes sewer service more affordable, Scheuerman said.
The county departments of general services and permitting services will work with Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission to see if extending sewer service to the station will also help get the service to the historic district, where property owners have been stymied in their attempts to find an affordable way to replace their aging septic systems.
To serve the growing population, the county opened a temporary fire station in a warehouse on Gateway Center Drive in the Gateway Corporate Center in the spring 2006. It ran 478 medical calls, 212 fire calls and 38 other calls between June 1 and Sept. 28, 2010, said Assistant Fire Chief Scott Graham.
The station opened in Clarksburg with a four-person engine company, a three-person aerial truck and a two-person medic unit, he said. It has a staff of 40.5 but lost its emergency medical supervisor who oversaw advanced life support, Graham said.
The county planning board approved the new fire station in April. The county budgeted $3.95 million over the next four years for its construction.