SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Officials broke ground on a new fire station in the northern end of Suffolk Friday morning.
Sen. Mark Warner, along with Suffolk Mayor Mike Duman, Fire Chief Mike Barakey and other local and state officials dug their shovels in the dirt at the future site of a 20,000-square-foot Suffolk Fire Station 11 at 6482 Hampton Roads Parkway.
The station will have 45 firefighters, officers and paramedics to staff an engine company, ladder company, heavy rescue company, ALS ambulance, an EMS supervisor and a Virginia Department of Emergency Management Regional Hazmat Office.
It will also have a multi-purpose room that can host community meetings.
The city of Suffolk got a $3.4 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security in late 2021 to pay for staffing 18 firefighters at the new facility. Senator Mark Warner, who helped secure those funds, was on hand to celebrate the federal grant being put to work and to layout some of his future priorities for first responders.
“My job going forward though is to make sure that we have support for mental health needs for all first responders,” Warner told reporters, “that we elevate those unsung heroes who are the 911 dispatch officers and allow them to not be treated as clerks, but as first responder professionals and that we need to do more to support our search and rescue teams.”
The new station was made necessary given the busy North Suffolk area that can slow response times from Fire Station 5 off of Bridge Road.
“In the back of Burbage Grant and Huntersville and some of our other neighborhoods we have 11 minute travel time there,” Barakey said. “By putting the station here, very strategically located, we can get to all of these areas in a 5 minute response time which will greatly reduce the time it takes for our citizens to get medical and fire response.”
The money for the new fire station is coming out of the city’s capital projects fund and is expected to be built by A.R. Chesson Construction Co., which has built a number of fire stations and other facilities in the Hampton Roads and northeastern North Carolina regions. Its base bid for the project was just over $10 million.
Construction on the new fire station is set to begin the first week of September.
It will take about a year and a half to build.