Burien/Normandy Park Fire Department Breaks Ground For New Headquarters


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Story by Ralph Nichols
Photos by Scott Schaefer

King County Fire District 2 Commissioners, Chief Mike Marrs, firefighters with the Burien/Normandy Park Department, and local officials broke ground Wednesday (July 27) for new headquarters Station 28.

“This is an exciting occasion, especially for those who took the vision from concept to reality,” Marrs said.

But the new station, which will be built at 900 SW 146th Street, “would not be possible without the citizens of Burien and Normandy Park,” Marrs added. “We’re extremely grateful for their overwhelming support….

“We need to offer the highest service possible to the community,” and the new station will help the fire department do that, he said.

Voters in Fire District No. 2 approved in November 2008 a $25 million bond issue for construction of the new headquarters fire station, and for replacement of the existing station in Normandy Park.

The construction contract was signed earlier in the day Tuesday. Josh Ferrel, project manager for Bayley Construction of Mercer island, the general contractor, said work likely will get underway in late August or early September.

Completion of construction and occupancy of the new station is anticipated for late summer 2012, Marrs said.

Cameron Smock, president and CEO of Bonney-Watson, which for decades had a mortuary and chapel at that location until selling the property to Fire District 2, said the decision was difficult to make.

But they came to understand that just as Bonney-Watson had “a legacy of service to families, by celebrating lives” there, that service “could be continued to help save lives” by selling it to the fire district.

Burien has long needed a new fire station to replace the outdated and undersized existing facility at the corner of SW 151st St. and 8th Ave. S., Marrs said earlier. It will include space for the department’s ladder truck, which now must be parked away from downtown.

The Normandy Park fire station at 135 S. Normandy Road will be built at the current location. The fire district has acquired an adjacent residential property for the building site and the existing station will remain in operation when construction begins.

Marrs told The B-Town Blog that land-use plans for the Normandy Park station, which is in Burien, were submitted to city staff for review on July 26. Ironing out these details is taking longer because the station is adjacent to a residential area.

That project is expected to go out for bids at the beginning of the year, with completion anticipated at the end of 2012 or early 2013.

The bond issue included the costs of property acquisition and equipping the new stations.

Here are some photos of the event as taken by Publisher/Editor Scott Schaefer:

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Comments

9 Responses to “Burien/Normandy Park Fire Department Breaks Ground For New Headquarters”
  1. Clyde Hill says:

    I have to admit that I have been in denial that this day would come… but alas with the turning of the shovels it appears that I can no longer bury my head in the sand.

    The transfer of the current fire station operations from a downtown commercial area into a residential area is of great concern to me (especially owning three houses in this immediate area…) I am distraught with the thought of the multiple calls at all hours through the day were the garage bay doors will open and out will come rescue units with lights ablaze (no pun intended) and sirens screaming…. I fear that this will have a very negative impact on the quality of life for all residents (single family as well as multi family units) in the immediate area.

    It is my hope that there will be signal lights to regulate traffic in times of emergencies to control flow versus having to rely heavily on equipment lights and sirens. Is there someone who I can work with to verify their plans to lessen any adverse impact on the immediate neighborhood?

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    • Burienite says:

      Not sure how having a fire station near your rentals will result in some sort of negative impact. If a new station was being built by my apartments, I would welcome it! Also, your contention that this is a “residential” area is a little off base. Yes, there are house snear and along 146th Street, but there are two major commercial businesses right next to the new station location. So it’s not like this is the first commercial structure next to a residential area.

      Sure, there is some noise associated with the fire station, but SW 146th St. is already a major response route for the fire department anyways. They respond north off of 8th Ave and then east on 146th all the time.

      I think you’re making a mountain out of a mole hill….

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    • Pinkrose says:

      In the 17 years my family has lived down the street from the Normandy Park Fire Station (No. 29) we have rarely heard the sirens or the horn on any of the firetrucks. They only use their lights, and that is only a disturbance if you are looking out the window. We actually hear more police sirens going down 1st Ave. S, than we ever do firetruck sirens or horns. Due to requests from neighbors, they keep their sirens off until they need to turn them on to get through traffic. Ninety percent of the time we don’t even know they go on a call, unless we see them leaving the station. Granted they are large, so their engines and brakes are louder than the average car, but we are grateful to have a fire station so close by, and we just smile and wave as they drive by. It would also make sense that the home value would be greater with a station so near. Based upon the last 17 years we have lived here, I find your concerns unfounded.

      Also, the firefighters who work at the Normandy Park Fire Station (No. 29) also work at the Burien Fire Station (No. 28), so it wouldn’t surprise me if they observed the same courtesy there as well.

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      • Clyde Hill says:

        This is spot on for what I was hoping for…

        Funny you should reference the station on SW Normandy Park Road – As a kid back in the early seventies I grew up four blocks away from this station and it was that experience that I was drawing from… Back then whenever there was a call a very loud overhead siren would rev up and blast for about thirty seconds (Again, I lived more than four blocks from the station and could clearly hear the call)… I had assume that was a call to all volunteers to report to the station? Pleased to hear that the requests from neighbors were considered and a favorable outcome was reached.

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  2. Eaton B. Verz says:

    Wow, maybe it’s just me but your post makes you sound like a real selfish dick!! Worried more about the value of your rentals than about the community having quality fire protection. Have you complained about the body shop or auto repair shop right next door? What about the steel fab/welding shop down the street? Clyde hill deserves you!!!

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    • Clyde Hill says:

      Wow Eaton, you really took some time to think through those comments haven’t you? In my opinion it speak volumes regarding your character!

      I have not problem with the businesses in the neighborhood as their normal daily operations don’t necessarily effect the quality of life around them. In this case I fear the 24 x 7 operations of the fire station will, unless noise mitigation options are considered – options that do not put quality of fire protection at risk (in other words options that still allow priority movement for emergency vehicles).

      To your comment about being a selfish dick – wonder what the thousands of other folks fighting the third runway for years might think of comments like that?

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  3. Ralph Nichols says:

    The former Bonney-Watson location became available, thanks to a civic-minded offer by Cameron Smock, at a time when the Burien/Normandy Park Fire Dept. was having difficulty finding an affordable property in an acceptable location. (Response-time requirements made it necessary to locate the new station within a limited area.)

    The department’s first choice for a site – a city owned parking lot, which is usually empty unless city vehicles are parked there, just 2 blocks east of Ambaum and next door to the existing station – was scuttled, due largely to protests from 2 councilwomen, one still on the council, the other who lost her election. Their objection? They put “downtown” parking, albeit at the edge of the commercial district, on par with a new fire station; i.e., parking is equal to public safety in their minds.

    And speaking of the “commercial district” v. a residential area, the new fire station will not be in a full residential area. To the east along 146th, it is residential. But the fire station will be next door to an auto repair shop on the corner of Ambaum, and businesses are located all around that intersection.

    Finally, fire emergency vehicles usually don’t tunr on their sirens until after they’re rolling. Call it the sound of safety.

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  4. elizabeth2 says:

    My reaction this is a little bit of “NIMBY”! Really, the need to go find someone to “who I can work with to verify their plans to lessen any adverse impact on the immediate neighborhood”? Lower adverse impact for you as a landlord at the expense of public safety?

    The local is marginally residential but to me that is largely beside the point as far as I can see.

    We live not far from the current fire department location and have for many many years. We are on the road around it all the time. I do not recall ever seeing fire trucks barreling out of the firehouse with sirens going.

    What I have observed is that they have indeed used plans which turn the lights on the immediate intersections to their side when needed. Never have I seen them come out with “lights screaming”. The lights SCREAM when people do not follwo the law and get out of the way of emergency vehicles.

    Besides, I love having them nearby – faster response to the homes that may need them. I know when I get my homeowner’s policy, one of the questions they ask is how close to the nearest fire station am I.

    Faster response for their medics, too. Maybe your tenants in the three homes you own would appreciate that?

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    • Clyde Hill says:

      Thanks Elizabeth, this is good feedback. Save for your personal opinions, I appreciate your providing actual experience living near the fire station. If what you describe is accurate, I am please to hear that the use control lights in the immediate area does help regulate traffic flow and have eliminated the need for ‘sirens screaming’ when exiting the building…. so it sounds like installing new signal lights on 146th street may be a good option to keep the driveway clear of traffic in times of emergencies? Hence the point in my original post – there must be amicable options that address community safety while also keeping peace in the neighborhood.

      People can be so quick to judge.

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