CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte Fire Chief Reginald Johnson says infill stations are needed. With Charlotte growing, existing fire stations get overwhelmed.
He says there are more than 311 square miles the Charlotte Fire department has to protect.
“As the community continues to grow,” Charlotte Fire Chief Reginald Johnson said. “Our call volume grows exponentially. With that, we have determined not only to meet our response time but to also meet the increase in demand for fire department services. At times we need an infill station.”
The latest infill station was built on Clanton Road. It opened in late 2020 and cost $10.6 million to build.
Johnson said the station has already made a difference: Back in March, a fire broke out, and because the infill station was close by, firefighters were there quickly to save lives.
So far, there are four infill stations in the Charlotte area. They are helping to get the job done.
“We’ve been able to improve our response times and eat up some of that call volume in that busy area,” said Johnson.
Johnson says the goal is to respond within 6 minutes of the 911 call, and the fire department makes that time about 85 percent of the time.
“We try to make up time,” Johnson said. “Four minutes travel time on the road and with traffic and additional people that can be a challenge sometimes, but we have taken advantage of every technology that we can come up with station alerting. We’ve worked with CDOT on controlling some of the traffic lights to speed up our response because in our business - every second counts.”
Johnson is now working on getting an infill station in the Hidden Valley area, a growing area. According to Johnson, there has been an uptick in fire calls in the past 3 months. He believes as more people move to the area firefighters will stay busy. He is not sure how many more relief stations will be needed.
“Depending on where a lot of people end up living and working will determine where we need infill stations,” he said.
Johnson also said city leaders are supportive of supplying the resources needed to keep people safe.
“They’ve been very much invested in the fire department,” Johnson said. “Taking care of the men and women in the Charlotte Fire Department and providing the resources that we need.”