Fire stations: They make neighbors feel safe
Posted: 06/10/2010 12:00:00 AM MDT
Sixty-eight year-old Central El Paso resident Linda Elorduy has brought to light what we sometimes take for granted: We hold it deep down and seldom think about it. It's that fire stations are much more than a garage full of shiny red trucks with loud sirens and special hats. Fire stations, and the firefighters who man them, have always been feel-goods in a neighborhood. Elorduy is among a group of residents feeling bad that her fire station may close. The city is contemplating doing away with Fire Station 13, at 5415 Trowbridge near Montana; and also Station 5 at 4240 Alameda. A new station would be built near Interstate 10 at Raynolds. The move may be necessary. It's being weighed by the city. What's best for all, after all, must be a major consideration. Fire Department Chief Otto Drozd points out that Station 13 backs up to Fort Bliss and 5 is near the border -- they do not serve most area homes quickly. And it would cost less to build a new station than to bring Nos. 13 and 5 up to standard. A new, consolidated station would have: an ambulance, a hazardous materials team, a battalion chief and equipment not available in the two existing stations. But Elorduy has a point as far as quality of life in a neighborhood is concerned. "These fire stations have helped me since I was young, and now I'm old. Having a fire station in the neighborhood makes people feel safe," she said. Indeed they do. And everybody likes a firefighter; it's always been a profession looked upon with a warm awe. Firemen are nice people, who are heroes. What do young boys, and lately girls, want to be when they grow up? Yes, fireman still ranks high on the list. It's clear, said West-Central city Rep. Susie Byrd, whose district encompasses No. 13, the citizens don't want to lose their fire station. And who can blame them. It's a dilemma: What's most cost-effective and best for all? Or, citizens losing a safety presence in their neighborhood, after all these years.