Leaders in Knightdale have been sidestepping a growing need for some time now. We believe it’s time to face the music and address the need.
The town has grown considerably over the past 20 years, and with that growth have come changes in the town’s fire service. About a decade ago the town moved away from the all-volunteer operation most common to small towns and invested in a new fire station with new equipment, manned by trained professional firefighters.
The volunteer fire department didn’t go away and in fact one of the volunteer stations sits directly in the middle of the town limits.
The two departments, despite some rocky moments, have always answered the call when the alarm rang, however, and they’ve provided admirable service.
Still the town continues to grow and with it, the demands for fire protection. For several years now, the town has contemplated the need for a new fire station to serve the more westerly portions of its district.
Such a step is an expensive one. The town owns land in that part of town, but still must build a building, purchase equipment and hire a staff to man the new station. That cost has been the biggest stumbling block.
The current department operates out of a single facility located just off Smithfield Road near Knightdale Boulevard. Call times to some of the outlying areas of the town have continued to climb not because of poor management or laziness on the part of the fire department, but instead, because of the sheer length of time it takes to get to some of these places and increased traffic that continues to dog motorists along Knightdale Boulevard.
This all has a cost for residents who pay higher insurance rates because of the current level of fire service. Fire Chief Tim Guffey hopes that those ratings will go down after a review later this year, but it’s a little bit hard to imagine that will happen.
The best way to resolve this for all property owners is to go ahead and bite the financial bullet for a new station that provides the level of service Knightdale residents deserve.