Residents of new communities popping up in Lorton and Fairfax Station won’t have to wait long to be reached by emergency response personnel if the need arises.
Fairfax County recently acquired 15 acres of land in Fairfax Station, on which it plans to build a new fire station to serve the southern portion of the county.
The station, located at the intersection of Hampton Road and Ox Road, is being called the Crosspointe Fire Station, and it will help cover areas that are currently served by fire stations in Lorton and farther north on Ox Road.
“We’re going to be in an area where we can get to them much faster, hopefully save more lives and save more buildings,” said Edie Beitzel, capital projects coordinator for Fairfax County Fire and Rescue.
The county purchased the land in late January for $2.5 million, after negotiations with the previous owner, HC Land Co. Fairfax County identified the land as a desirable site for a fire station five years ago, but negotiations didn't begin until recently.
“There wasn’t an imminent need for that fire station then, but they knew the development was coming for (Route) 123,” said Bob Knutsson, senior right-of-way agent for the county’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services.
ACCORDING TO Knutsson, the acquisition of the land took longer than anticipated because the previous owners refused to enter into negotiations for the sale, and since Virginia’s “eminent domain” laws don’t apply to fire stations, the property could not be condemned. In 2003, however, the county filed suit against HC Land Co. for failing to enter into negotiations, and last month, the two sides reached an agreement, with the company agreeing to sell all 15 acres of the site.
Knutsson said the site is much larger than the five acres needed to build the fire station, but the remaining land could be used for other public facilities.
“There will be some excess land there after the fire station,” Knutsson said. “When we found the remainder could be used for different things, we decided to buy the whole thing.”
Groundbreaking for the fire station could begin as early as this spring.
THE GOAL in locating sites for fire stations is to achieve a less than seven-minute lag time between call and response, according to Beitzel, to reach the “void areas,” where it takes longer for first responders to arrive. In the case of Crosspointe, the majority of the void areas in that portion of the county will be reached with the addition of the new station.
“There is a need with all the growth that’s going on, not only in Crosspointe, but also the building that’s going on in Laurel Hill,” said Beitzel.
She added that the county’s Fire and Rescue Department is still hoping to build a smaller fire station to serve south Clifton. That station was one of seven drawn up on a master plan in 1989 for possible construction. Some of the proposed stations, including one currently under construction on Lee Highway in Fairfax, have already been built. The most recently completed fire station in the county, in Reston, opened less than five years ago.
According to Teresa Lepe, an engineer in the county’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, the new fire station will be similar to ones recently built in Reston and Kingstowne.
“This one’s pretty standard,” she said of the four-bay, 14,000-square-foot building, which will contain all the usual amenities of Fairfax County fire stations — office space, living space, kitchen, dining room and day room. Lepe also said that the building will be built to comply with federal “green building design” standards, meaning it has been developed with certain environmentally friendly components, such as being water- and energy-efficient and using natural light effectively.
“There’s a lot of glass, and because of that, a lot of natural light is able to get in,” she said.