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Sequim fire department eyes, buys property

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by AMANDA WINTERS
Sequim Gazette

Clallam County Fire District 3 is one step closer to having a fully-manned station near its western boundary.

 

On Aug. 9 the district signed papers to purchase five acres of property on Sieberts Creek Road, behind the Conestoga Quarters RV Park, for $110,000. In five years the district hopes to have a new station.

The property, which already has electricity, water, and a fire hydrant, was once sold for $345,000 but was listed for $165,000.

 

Fire Commissioner Richard Houts said he thinks the property owners felt better about selling the land to the fire department, rather than to someone who might be looking to turn over a profit.

 

The property was purchased with timber tax funds, which Fire Chief Steve Vogel said were unexpectedly good this year.

 

It is the first property purchased by the district since the 12-acre Carlsborg training center land was bought 10 years ago, Houts said.

Current station inadequate

Fire Commissioner Gary Coffey said the current west side station, near R-Corner just east of Blue Mountain Road, is volunteer only and a planned highway expansion beginning next year won’t allow fire engines the option of turning left to travel west on U.S. Highway 101. Engines will have to travel east about half a mile and make a U-turn on the highway to go west, Vogel said.

 

Coffey said the department has made it a point to be ahead of the curve.

 

Response times are already of concern, as volunteers coming from the east toward the R-Corner station have to drive to Blue Mountain Road and make a U-turn.

 

The nearest fully-manned station is in Carlsborg, about five miles to the east, so it takes an average of nine minutes to respond to a call. Vogel said he’d like to see average response times of six minutes.

“It works for now, but is it in the best interest of the fire district?” Vogel said. “No.”

 

Committee called for new station

Houts said a few years ago a commission formed to decide what the fire district should look like in 10 years. The commission wanted a fire station built within blocks of the recently-purchased property, he said.

 

“I don’t think we could’ve picked a better spot,” he said.

 

The five acre plot allows the district to use the property for training purposes as well for a station, Vogel said.

 

Coffey said it is important for the district to look ahead and be in front of population expansion, which over the last decade has largely been in the east end of Clallam County.

 

Coffey said there isn’t any funding for the new station yet but the district hopes to have the station built in five years.

 

Reach Amanda Winters at awinters@sequimgazette.com.

 

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