Though it was delayed by nearly two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chesterfield Fire and EMS was finally able to host a formal public dedication Thursday at the site of Magnolia Green Fire Station No. 25.
The three-bay, roughly 15,000 square-foot facility, which opened on Dec. 14, 2020, houses an engine, ambulance, water tanker and brush truck, with five firefighters on duty each day. It is the first station in Chesterfield designed with individual bunk rooms to accommodate a more diverse workforce.
Originally mentioned in the county’s public facilities planning back in 1995, Chesterfield Fire and EMS has been planning to open a new station in the area for decades. Construction on the site, purchased in 2014, was delayed due to the Great Recession. But as the economy recovered and residential growth in the western Route 360 corridor accelerated, funding for the project was approved in fiscal year 2019.
As Chesterfield’s first new fire station since 2015, Magnolia Green No. 25 serves a population of 22,000 in the Cosby, Moseley and Skinquarter areas and covers a response area of 69 square miles—one of the largest in the county—that includes more than 7,400 residences.
“To give you some perspective of the size of this area, the cities of Norfolk, Richmond and Washington, D.C. would each fit in the geographical area that Station 25 is responsible for,” Fire Chief Loy Senter told the assembled crowd Thursday.
The new fire station represents a “significant shift” in layout and design, Senter explained. The three bays give the department “maximum flexibility” in meeting the community’s needs, while the open floor plan in the kitchen area allows for increased functionality and there’s an updated fitness area for training. State of the art systems have been installed to ensure the health and safety of those who are working in the facility around the clock, including complex ventilation systems. The station also was designed to allow for expansion should the need arise down the road.
“It’s important for us as a community to have fire stations that are strategically located within our jurisdiction,” said Matoaca District Supervisor Kevin Carroll. “Having a station out here, like this, that is fully equipped and has fully trained firefighters and paramedics and rescue personnel that are working out of it, is extremely important for our community.”
In explaining the history behind the station’s journey from concept to fruition, County Administrator Dr. Joe Casey stressed the importance of not only what it means for Magnolia Green, but for Chesterfield Fire and EMS as a whole.
“This fine service begins with being responsive. Everyone wearing the uniform here today is measured in performance by seconds,” he said.
According to Senter, the Magnolia Green response district is the fastest growing in Chesterfield, with a 180% increase in housing units and 201% increase in population over the past 20 years.
“Because of this new station, the first crews on the scenes of significant incidents arrived approximately 10 minutes sooner on average than would’ve been possible previously,” he noted.
“To the residents of Magnolia Green and surrounding communities, this is your fire station,” Senter said. “Please know that the firefighters assigned to the station, under the leadership of Capt. Bill Yates, stand ready to respond at a moment’s notice in your time of need and are committed to being an integral part of this community for many years to come.”
Although it opened during the pandemic and had to go without a public dedication for some time, Station 25 immediately made an impact on the community it serves.
“Prior to this new fire station becoming operational, residents of Magnolia Green as well as members of the community around us were unable to receive quick response times,” said Michelle Atkins, marketing manager for Magnolia Green. “The location of this new station has allowed response time to drop dramatically and has provided a sense of calm and security for our residents.
“It brings me great comfort to know that should an emergency arise for myself or a family member, you’re only a few minutes away,” she added. “I truly believe all of our residents feel the same way. We are thrilled to have you in our community.”