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Fire crews are almost late for TVF and R construction kick-off

TIGARD - A ground-breaking ceremony March 18 for a new Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue station on Walnut Street means not only a new fire station for Tigard but also some relief for Station 35 in King City.

'This is the first fire station we have added to Tualatin Valley Fire and rescue in 10 years,' said Fire Chief Jeff Johnson. 'And it addresses lengthy response times we have had in serving this neighborhood.'

According to Capt. Troy Spisla of the King City station, his crews have been responding to calls on the lower north slope of Bull Mountain, but when Station 50 is up and running, its crew will take over responding to calls in that area.

The fire district's response time target is to reach emergency incidents within six minutes of being dispatched, according to Storm Smith, TVF and R community liaison.

The ground-breaking ceremony almost didn't start on time as two fire engines - one scheduled to be the backdrop for the ceremony and the other carrying the captain of the future station and the emcee for the event - were both dispatched to an apartment fire 40 minutes before the starting time.

'It's just part of the job,' said Capt. Kelly Bach, currently the ranking officer at West Slope Fire Station 65 and the scheduled new captain of Station 50.

After he and his crew finished up their firefighting duties at the small fire, they drove to the 12585 S.W. Walnut St. site.

The crew in the truck destined to be the backdrop for the ceremony was dispatched to the same fire and also made the ceremony on time.

'We can claim to be the first engine to respond to a fire from the site of the new station,' said Lt. Bob Mueller, Engine 50's officer.

Engine 50 was cancelled en route to the incident and returned in time to regain its spot behind city of Tigard and TVF and R officials who turned over the first spades of dirt.

Actual construction of the 11,800-square-foot, $2.74 million fire station will begin in a few weeks, and the station is scheduled to be completed in nine months, according to Smith.

Funding comes from a $77.5 million 2006 bond measure.