In 2017, the Huntley Fire Protection District responded to about 5,000 calls and already has taken more than 300 additional calls for 2018, according to data presented during a joint Fire District and Village Board meeting Thursday.
Station 3 on Regency Parkway handled the most calls, likely because of its close proximity to the Sun City community, which experiences a large amount of emergency medical service calls, Fire Chief Scott Ravagnie said.
Data from a station location study requested by the district indicated that an additional fire station south of Sun City would have taken on about 600 of the calls from 2017. And with few straight roads cutting through the neighborhood, response times are slightly longer, Deputy Fire Chief Al Schlick said.
Therefore, the district is hoping to break ground on another fire station next spring to better serve the Sun City area.
Ravagnie said three firefighters would staff the station 24 hours a day. There are no plans to hire any new crew members at this time, but the district will have enough staff to effectively operate all stations, he said.
The district also is planning an 8,500-square-foot expansion to its facility on 11118 E. Main St. with the hope of moving operations at Station 1, 11808 Coral St., away from the downtown area.
Ravagnie said he’s fond of the downtown Huntley area, but delivery trucks, garbage trucks and other traffic make it very difficult for Station 1 crews to respond to emergencies.
Last year, believing that it had outgrown its Coral Street station, the district looked into acquiring land on a vacant site at Route 47 and Mill St., which has been the target of other development proposals, such as an apartment building.
The expansion would make the East Main Street location a two-story building with a training room, office space and upstairs living quarters. The renovations also would provide an opportunity for the district to add resources designed to reduce firefighters’ exposure to carcinogenic materials.
Schlick said the district would optimistically like to break ground on both projects by spring 2019. He estimated that the new station would take seven to eight months to complete and the East Main Street building expansion probably would take a little longer and open some time in 2020.
Schlick also credited the district’s board for its frugal budgeting over the past 10 years, which will allow both projects to move forward without the need for a tax-based funding mechanism.