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New fire station set to open in Bridgeland

August 6, 2018

A growing community has growing needs, and the story is no different when it comes to the Cypress-Fairbanks Volunteer Fire Department.

The department’s newest facility, along Westgreen Blvd near Bridgeland in Cypress, started operating a few weeks ago. It’s their 13th station, but it won’t be their last.

“We have to make sure that as the community expands, we expand and are able to provide emergency services to those areas,” Captain and Public Information Officer David Padovan said. “Eventually, we’re looking at having 24 or 25 stations as we continue to grow along with Cy-Fair.”

The department started planning for Station 13 a few years ago.

Now, the 19,000 square feet, $5 million facility is nearly complete and ready for the grand opening to be held at the station Aug. 25 at 10 a.m.

At the celebration, Padovan said they’ll have bounce houses and snacks along with tours of the station and trucks. They’ll also invite the public to participate in a ceremonial “push-in” of one of the fire trucks into the station.

This station is equipped with five bays for the new apparatuses: an ambulance, engine truck and ladder truck. They have two free bays to accommodate future growth.

“Rather than building a station that fits just us, we have to figure out what’s going to go on down the road,” Padovan said.

The facility also includes several dorms, an exercise room and a full kitchen and day room, as well as a laundry room for the crew. Additionally, there’s a large meeting room for the station’s weekly training sessions and plenty of locker space for bedding and gear.

While the grand opening will give the community a chance to view the new facility, Padovan said the goal is to also recruit volunteers.

“With the changing times…people are spending more time at work and they have less time to volunteer. As we continue to grow out here, we have seen a slight decline in new members, but our goal is to change that,” Padovan said.

Having a strong volunteer base also helps to keep the area’s tax rate low.

“Our taxes are significantly less than in Houston, and one of those factors is because we are volunteer fire department. If we go fully paid, with salaries and compensation, then there are taxes that are going to go up,” Padovan said.

He added that many people don’t realize that the Cy-Fair VFD is a combination department, meaning that they man the station with a duty crew during the day and volunteers during nights, weekend and holidays.

To volunteer, Padovan said potential members need to complete a background check and the fire training academy, which consists of twice-weekly sessions for 27 weeks.

“We understand that you have a job and a family, but the flip side is that you need the training and certifications before you can do this,” Padovan said.

However, the training, gear and books necessary are all free—which allows for potential members to see what the fire service is like before they fully commit.

jane.stueckemann@chron.com

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