Woodward, Okla. —
Woodward needs a new central fire station.
You've been hearing city leaders say that over and over again in recent months and years.
And now an Aug. 13 election date nears for Woodward voters to decide on a half-cent sales tax increase that would fund a proposed new station.
But instead of talking with city leaders again about why there's such a need for a new station, The News decided to visit with those who will be impacted most by the new facility should the tax measure pass.
The News sat down with a group of Woodward firefighters earlier this week to find out exactly what the new station would mean for them.
The number one thing they all said they were looking forward to with the new station is simply “more space.”
More space for vehicles, more space for equipment, and even just more space for the guys themselves.
BIGGER STATION NEEDED FOR BIGGER VEHICLES
"Our fire apparatus is outgrowing our station," Firefighter Steven Rogers said. "We're having more vehicle accidents due to lack of space."
Their fire units are currently so crammed into their apparatus bays that there isn't room to squeeze between the vehicles even without carrying their response gear. And often they can't open doors on the vehicles without hitting the wall or scraping the next vehicle.
"The other day we had an engine that wouldn't start, but there's not enough room to lift the cab inside the bay; we have to bring it outside to be able to work on it," Fire Chief Steve Day said. "Luckily they were able to finally get it started so we could go take it to the shop, otherwise we would've had a real problem."
And the fire equipment is only getting bigger. The vehicles are now made wider, longer and taller. So much so that their newest rescue unit barely fits through the garage doors, with only about an inch of clearance between the side mirrors and the door frame. And once they've successfully avoided hitting the mirrors, the firefighters have to also watch out for hitting the back wall when backing the new rescue unit into the south bay, again with only a couple of inches to spare in order to get the vehicle to fit so the garage door can be closed.
However, at least the rescue unit can fit in the station. Day said that the Support Unit 5 has to sit outside on the driveway because there's no room in the bays.
Even worse, Firefighter Jordan Ivie said, "we no longer have some units stored at the fire station, they're at different locations."
For example, Ivie said, "If we want to respond to a hazmat situation we have to go to the armory because that's where the hazmat vehicles, both the pull unit and trailer, and a 6x6 brush unit are out there."
The new station would feature 8 apparatus bays, including 5 drive-through bays and 3 reverse entry bays and would provide plenty of storage room for all the vehicles to be housed at the station once again.
There will even be room to relocate the department's 95-foot ladder truck to the central station, instead of housing it at the more distant Fire Station No. 2. Another engine would go to the second station, so that there will still be equipment located north of the railroad tracks to handle any issues that may arise on that side of town.