The Greenville City Fire Department (GCFD) today opened Verdae Station 1, a new fire station located at the corner of Verdae Boulevard and Old Sulphur Springs Road. The facility is ready to respond to emergencies in the Woodruff Road, Verdae Boulevard and CU-ICAR corridor.
According to Fire Chief Steve Kovalcik, the area that Verdae Station 1 will be covering is one of the fastest growing areas in the city. Once largely comprised of undeveloped parcels and vacant manufacturing facilities, the city’s Eastside is now home to three of its most heavily-developed road corridors. Once buildout for CU-ICAR, the Millennium Campus, the Point and Verdae is complete, it is estimated that there will be 6,078 more residential units and 5,610,000 more square feet of developed space than in 2004 (roughly the start of the area’s economic development boom).
Given all the growth, GCFD’s only station on the Eastside - Fire Station 5 - was struggling to provide an adequate and effective response to what is, at 13.1 square miles, the largest service district in GCFD’s jurisdiction. By comparison, the average service district for the other five stations is 3.2 square miles. In 2015, Station 5 responded to 1,231 calls for service (versus 813 calls in 2004) and response times averaged 6:24 minutes (versus 3:14 minutes in 2004), with only 29.2% being within the national standard of 4 minutes or less.
With the addition of the new facility, the department anticipates an improved Insurance Services Organization (ISO) rating after the completion of a Public Protection Classification (PPC) survey. “The PPC survey evaluates all aspects of the department’s fire rescue services on a scale from one to 10, with one being the highest,” said Kovalcik. “Currently, GCFD is a Class 2, and a lower ISO classification could mean a reduction in the cost of insurance to residents and business owners.”
Verdae Station 1 features on-site training opportunities, providing firefighters with the ability to practice emergency scenarios. The new facility also includes an exhaust capture system, which allows firefighters to attach an apparatus to fire trucks in the station bay and capture engine emissions before they enter the station. Additionally, the station features a full workout room and a Greenville Police Department substation.
The department hired 12 new people, who graduated from the Fire Academy last Friday. Verdae Station 1 will be fully staffed with nine per shift for a total of 27 firefighters. The new station will include one fire engine and one rescue truck.
“The new station enables us to provide a high level of service to a growing area of the community, ultimately keeping people safer,” said Kovalcik.