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News / Clark County News

Vancouver’s new Fire Station 11 opens

15,000-square-foot facility in Orchards-Sifton area will help meet growing demand for service

By Kelsey Turner, Columbian staff reporter
Published: October 22, 2022, 6:01pm
7 Photos
Local children help Vancouver and Clark County officials cut the ceremonial ribbon at Saturday's grand opening for the city's new Fire Station 11.
Local children help Vancouver and Clark County officials cut the ceremonial ribbon at Saturday's grand opening for the city's new Fire Station 11. (Rockne Andrew Roll for The Columbian) Photo Gallery

The Vancouver Fire Department and Clark County Fire District 5 celebrated the grand opening of the city’s new Fire Station 11 on Saturday. The station will help serve residents in the Orchards-Sifton area of the county.

The fire station, operated by the Vancouver Fire Department, is located outside city limits but within the department’s service area at 9606 N.E. 130th Ave. It’s the city’s first new fire station built in 12 years.

“We identified that we have a hole in our ability to provide services up in this area,” said District 5 Fire Commissioner Roy Rhine. To fill that hole, Clark County Fire District 5 provided about $11 million in funding to construct the station on land previously owned by the city.

The partnership between the city and the county fire district was critical to making the project happen, Rhine said. “We wouldn’t have it if it weren’t for the partnerships with the city of Vancouver,” he said.

The station will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with three firefighters at a time, with future capacity of up to 10 firefighters. It is expected to respond to over 1,500 calls annually. Firefighters work in 24-hour shifts, during which they sleep and live at the 15,000-square-foot station when not responding to calls.

Station 11 firefighters have already responded to over 30 calls since it began operating on Monday. On its first day open, the station’s firefighters saved a person’s life.

“Its second call on the first day of service was a cardiac arrest,” Vancouver Fire Chief Brennan Blue said during Saturday’s grand opening. “And that person was saved.”

Capt. Sam Harrison, a Vancouver firefighter, is serving his first 24-hour shift this weekend at the new station. He has worked with the Vancouver Fire Department for 22 years and is overseeing two other firefighters during the shift.

“We came to work at 7 o’clock this morning; we leave 7 o’clock tomorrow morning,” Harrison said Saturday. “Basically, we live here and respond on calls.”

In addition to directly serving residents in the area, the station will free up resources in other parts of Vancouver.

“Stations 7, 4 and 5 have gotten to a point where they’re so busy that they needed extra help,” said Vancouver Deputy Fire Chief Nathan Leek. “So by locating this building here, it relieves some of the core pressure off of those three buildings.”

The station’s grand opening also featured a traditional “push in” of Vancouver’s new engine 11, in which Vancouver Fire Department and Fire District 5 officials ceremonially pushed the engine into the station’s bay.

This tradition originated in the 1800s when fire engines were horse-drawn carts. Because horses couldn’t easily back the equipment into the bay, they would be disconnected from the cart and firefighters would push the cart in.

Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle spoke during Saturday’s event, highlighting the community need for the new station.

“Our fire district is the fourth-largest one in the state of Washington,” McEnerny-Ogle said. “It covers 90 square miles and more than a quarter of a million people. This station is an investment in our community safety.”

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Columbian staff reporter