Chesterfield leaders participate in a ceremonial groundbreaking for the county's new Fire and EMS station in Matoaca.
Chesterfield Fire and EMS hosted a groundbreaking Thursday morning at the site of the new Matoaca Fire Station No. 8. The new facility, which will be located at 6612 Hickory Road across from Shiloh Baptist Church, will replace an aging facility on Pickett Avenue and be built on land that was previously owned by the Children’s Home of Virginia Baptists.
“I know there’s a lot of history with Station No. 8 being down where it is today,” said Matoaca District Supervisor Kevin Carroll. “But as the community grows, we have to be able to deploy our resources in such a way that we can continue to provide fast, safe, effective services for the community. Part of moving the station here is being able to deploy resources quicker and more equitably through this section of the county.”
“Our Fire and EMS Department is one of the best of the best,” said County Administrator Dr. Joe Casey. “Things like this actually make what is already great even a little bit better, just showing our dedication of not just the scope and size of a building because that’s what it will be, but just as importantly is the personnel that will be going into it.”
The new approximately 15,000-square-foot, three-bay station will provide adequate space to accommodate any fire apparatus in the fleet and provide a modern facility capable of fully supporting the employees and equipment necessary for station operations. By relocating the station from its existing site, Chesterfield Fire and EMS will be able to better serve the residents of southern Chesterfield.
Built in 1962 by volunteers, the current station is a source of pride for many. But the facility no longer meets the needs of the community or the department as a whole.
In the decades since it was built, the delivery of fire service has changed significantly on multiple fronts. Emergency services have evolved beyond putting out fires, including using apparatus that are taller, longer, and wider in order to accommodate the additional equipment needed to deliver expanded services. Along with that, older fire stations were not designed with 24-hour operations in mind.
Chesterfield Fire and EMS Chief Loy Senter speaks during Thursday's ceremony.
“Our ceremony today marks the beginning of the next chapter of a long, proud history of services to the residents of the Matoaca community in southern Chesterfield County,” Fire Chief Loy Senter told the assembled crowd. “Upon completion, the new fire station’s central location here on Hickory Road will allow crews to provide improved coverage to over 24% more territory in their immediate service area that will grow to 24 square miles. This will allow firefighters to reach the scene of a fire or life-threatening emergency faster … it will bring more than 2,800 new addresses in the county within five road miles of a fire station.”
The project to replace the 60-year-old station is expected to begin later this month and be completed in early 2024.
“A safe community is one of the most important functions of government,” Carroll said. “We’ve committed ourselves, the county, to make sure we meet the needs of the community, especially when it comes to their safety. Again, I think that’s just a core function of what we’re here to do: To make sure you can feel safe in the community. If you don’t have safety, you don’t have anything.”
“The new fire station will better accommodate a larger contingent of on-duty staff and allow the relocation of the ladder truck from the Ettrick Fire Station to provide much broader ladder truck coverage in southern Chesterfield,” Senter said. “This change alone will bring an additional 2,750 property parcels in the county within eight minutes of drive time of the closest ladder truck.
“The new fire station will serve the community for more than 50 years,” he added, “and is yet another example of the commitment of the Board of Supervisors and County Administrator Dr. Joe Casey to the needs of public safety in our community.”
“This is a great day for Matoaca and a wonderful day for Chesterfield County,” said Dr. Jean Cobbs, retired director of the Children’s Home of Virginia Baptists. “We affectionately called the Children’s Home a ‘Legacy of Love.’ We are so pleased that that legacy is being carried forth with the work of first responders and the fire department of Chesterfield County.”
Members of the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors listen to speakers Thursday along with Dr. Jean Cobbs (right), retired director of the Children’s Home of Virginia Baptists.