Fire station to remain open during renovation

HOUSTON Fire Chief Terry Garrison announced last night that Station 30 on Irvington will stay open as it undergoes renovations. The fire department had originally planned to close the station, but there was an outcry from the community.

There were concerns taking the station out of service for months would leave residents vulnerable during an emergency.

Earlier Tuesday

Carlota Rodriguez will be the first to tell you that living a few blocks from Houston Fire Station 30 has its perks.

"They're always answering very immediately, very fast," she said.

But Rodriguez won't be enjoying those benefits much longer. Station 30 is about to undergo a major facelift, and as a result, will close for several months.

While some of the apparatus will be moved to other fire stations, engine company 30 will be taken out of service. That worries her.

"I would hate it," said Rodriguez. "We're so used to it here. There are a lot of elderly people here."

The city maintains space has everything to do with its decision. Building services sent an inspector to Station 30 twice and claims the piece of property behind the fire station isn't big enough to house a temporary building and all the equipment.

Union President Jeff Caynon isn't buying it.

"It's kind of hard for me to come to that conclusion when I've been out there to look at it," he said. "Just looking at the size of the property, how do you come to the conclusion that you can't put a temporary building there?"

The city says there are five other fire stations to provide sufficient overlapping coverage, except in a one-quarter mile area. Still, residents are being assured there won't be a significant delay in response times during an emergency. But that remains to be seen.

In a business where every second counts, concerned residents say even a slight delay in services is something they can't afford.

"It's important that they respond on time as fast as possible," said Rodriguez.

A similar issue arose with nearby Fire Station 9 a few years ago. The city ended up keeping that station open during renovations because of political pressure. Houston city Councilman Ed Gonzalez, who lives in the area and is served by Station 30, says he plans to meet with HFD's chief.

The station is reportedly set to close January 6.

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