The Williams Fire Protection Authority is currently in the process of building a new fire department substation at the corner of Ella Street and Husted Road.
The project started when the east side of Williams was being developed. In 2003 the WFPA begin working on a master plan for future growth. Since the development started, the WFPA call volume has increased to over 600 this last year.
“When the east side was first developed, a one-acre parcel for public facilities was marked.” Said Williams Fire Chief Jeff Gilbert, “however the location was never locked down and was moved every time a new map was produced or changes were made in the project.”
Just last year the location was finally agreed upon. The WFPA is currently accepting the deed for the one-acre parcel from V&R Investments whom donated the property.
The addition of a substation will benefit the Citizens of Williams by decreasing response times and providing a better service to the public. The Insurance Services Organization (ISO) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggest that a fire station can serve a three-mile radius, or 1.5 miles in each direction. In addition, hazards that must be considered that will increase response times.
“We have railroad tracks that we have to contend with,” Said Gilbert, “The tracks often cause delays in response time to the east side.”
An example of delay was recently observed several weeks ago while the agency were responding to a structure fire on the east side of Williams.
“As the engine was responding a train was just clearing ‘E’ Street.” Said Gilbert, “luckily the engine didn’t have to wait long or they would have to consider an alternative route.”
The WFPA currently has 14 volunteers that live on the east side of Williams; these volunteers would be assigned to the substation. “This would allow for an engine to arrive on scene prior to the engine arriving from the main station.” Said Gilbert.
“A fire will double in size every minute.” Said Gilbert, “Our goal is to have water on the fire within six minutes 90% of the time.”
The substation will also be an asset to Highway 20 and Interstate 5 in addition to providing better service to the new Yuba College, the Colusa County Office of Education Village that begins construction on February 14, the senior housing project and any new development that may take place in the area.
“When the station gets built it will have an effect on new development for the Valley Ranch Business Park.” Said Gilbert, “If developers see a fire station they will understand that the fire department is ahead of the game.”
Once the WFPA has acquired the deed to the property the agency will face the challenge of acquiring funding for construction.
“If development starts again, then impact fees will be collected that will help pay for the station.” Said Gilbert. “There shouldn’t be any fiscal impact on citizens.”
Once funding has been acquired the station will be built in phases. The first phase would be to build bays for the apparatus, followed by a training room with training grounds, and then living quarters. The location may also include housing the local ambulance provider.
“With the lack of funding, it could be quite sometime before the station is ever built.” Said Gilbert.
Although Gilbert stresses the major challenge of this project will be funding. He has hopes that the organization will pull together and make it happen. “We will have to go back the way things used to be done.” Said Gilbert, “Buildings were built with volunteer labor and this is a path the fire department must look at.” ■