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Thursday, May 5, 2016

New station for Oxford

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Oxford Fire Chief Alan Estes and Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence discuss the new Oxford Fire Department substation in Brockwell July 7. Photo by Jody Shackelford
The Oxford Fire Department has recently finished its yearlong substation project in Brockwell and although there has yet to be a fire, area residents are already feeling the benefit in a special place -- their wallets.

"I know this is going to mean a lot lower insurance premium for a lot of folks," Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence said at the station's opening ceremony July 7.

"I have already had several insurance agents call me," Oxford Fire Chief Alan Estes said. "They have asked me to tell them the distance to the fire station from so-and-so's house."

"I talked to an individual and he said it cut his insurance $300 a year. That is pretty good," Estes said.

The new station will be an asset to the fire department because of the expanse of the Oxford district, Estes said.

"We are going to house two trucks here, one brush truck and one pumper. That will give us much better coverage of the southern end of our coverage area. We still have trucks at Oxford and this station will be an attachment to the Oxford station," Estes said.

Estes said the size of the Oxford Fire District has had department members longing for relief for years.

"We have always wanted one and we got the grant to build it with, so we did. It will help a lot on the southern half of our coverage area. We had a pretty big area and we were on the northern end. So, now we are more spread out," he said.

Estes said the new station will increase response time to the Oxford Fire Department's southern coverage area.

"As opposed to having a truck on scene down here in 15-20 minutes, we might have it there in two or three minutes," Estes said.

Although, he added, if a fire was to occur in the area of the new station, Oxford trucks would still be called on scene to assist.

"We have a training room with a bathroom and full shower in it. We will have our own laundry area to wash our uniforms. Then we have the bay here, it is a 40-foot by 60-foot building and we are all proud of it," Estes said.

Along with the new range of fire coverage and the added benefit of insurance savings, some feel the location is also an important positive factor.

"The other thing is it puts the fire station right next to the school where we are dealing with the lives of children. What is it, maybe 200 yards over there?" Lawrence said. "I think anytime we can update our county like this it is a betterment to the community."

According to Mayor Mike Warden, the grant for the station was made available through White River Planning and Development in the amount of $50,000.

"We had to end up coming up with about $25,000 and we have about $75,000 in the building. After that, we had Izard County Judge Rayburn Finley help us with the dirt work to help us get a level pad to build on," Warden said.

Arkansas State Rep. Eddie Cooper also helped procure monies for gravel and fill dirt to assist with parking and the driveway to the road, Warden said.

"Connie and Dennis Everett helped us with some fundraising and monetarily. Also a lot of people in the community helped us, just more than I can even mention," Warden said.

Warden went on to say that the main contributor to the project is the Oxford Volunteer Fire Department and its personnel.

"Through hard work and commitment to the community, they are the ones that really made the station possible," Warden said.

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