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Redmond Fire Station 17 now open and operating

After about two decades of planning and a little more than a year of construction, the new Redmond Fire Station 17 is now up and running.

The new station took its first call on March 16, but a dedication ceremony Friday morning marked its official opening. City of Redmond Mayor John Marchione, current and former City Council members, members of the Redmond Fire Department (RFD) and others were in attendance to celebrate a building that has been a long time coming.

RFD Capt. Tom Langton, who has been the department's liaison for the project since 2007, said in the late 1980s and early 1990s, city officials had identified the area surrounding Station 17 -- North Redmond and Education Hill -- as areas for growth. The real growth came in the mid 2000s and the new $5 million bond-funded Station 17 at 16917 N.E. 116th St., will help accommodate this.

"It's a huge sense of satisfaction that we've been able to deliver solid value to citizens," Langton said about the station's completion.

The station houses one aid car and two firefighters/emergency medical technicians (EMTs), who will provide basic life support services to North Redmond and parts of Education Hill.

Fire Chief Kevin Donnelly said the 16,899-square-foot station was built for growth so there is a fire truck onsite in reserves that will be utilized when the need comes for expansion.

"Then we'll bring the staffing in," Donnelly said.

Langton said Station 17 is larger than they currently need, but rather than build additions and expand the building later, they will just buy more equipment and appliances to accommodate the growth. He said this is a much cheaper way to go.

"I think it's a reflection of the mayor and Council preparing for the future," said Redmond Police Chief Ron Gibson.

In addition to being the most efficient fire station in Redmond with a decontamination room, a workshop area to repair equipment, a special room for bunker storage and more, Station 17 also has space for a police substation.

Gibson said for the police department, this will allow officers who are on patrol in the area to use the station as a substation to write up reports, take care of paperwork, make phone calls or handle other tasks, without driving all the way downtown.

Additionally, Gibson said having a fire station in North Redmond will also help the police if they respond to an emergency in the area that requires medical attention.

With the new station, residents of North Redmond and Education Hill will see a quicker response time as the closest station previously had been the RFD Headquarters, Station 11 at 8450 161st Ave. N.E., downtown. Donnelly said the Woodinville Fired Department would occasionally take calls for the area as well.

Langton said the drop in response time will be significant. For example, it would usually take them about 8 minutes and 20 seconds to get from Station 11 to Emerald Heights Retirement Community at 10901 176th Circle N.E. Response time from Station 17 is about 2 minutes and 20 seconds.

City Council President Pat Vache has lived down the street from Station 17's location since 1977 and has driven by since the groundbreaking ceremony last year. He said the health and safety aspect of the faster response times that will come with the station will be significant.

"It'll save lives, no doubt about that," he said. "We're sure glad that we're in the neighborhood…This is my fire station."

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