Wesley Chapel Fire Department celebrates opening of 24,000-square-foot facility
WESLEY CHAPEL – Citizens, council members and representatives from local police and fire departments gathered in Wesley Chapel on Saturday, May 12, to celebrate the opening of the new Wesley Chapel Volunteer Fire Department facility at Fire Station 26, 315 Waxhaw-Indian Trail Road.
The four-hour event celebrated the replacement of the old building with a 24,000-square-foot facility, as well as the 37 years the station has served the residents of Wesley Chapel and several surrounding municipalities.
The family-friendly event featured an inflatable fire truck bounce house, face painting, cornhole, refreshments and an opportunity to tour the new station. A dedication ceremony was held at 11 a.m., featuring speakers from the fire department, local municipalities and the companies – Garner & Brown Architects, Edison Foard Construction Company, Spence Electric Co. and Sonitrol Security – that worked to put the station together.
The Wesley Chapel Fire Department was founded in 1975 by community organizer James S. Laney and established on two acres of land donated by local farmer R. Avery Plyler. The spot still serves as the station’s current location.
Several years ago, leaders from the fire department and municipalities recognized a serious need for a new facility. The old building had no sleeping quarters and only one office, and anytime a new fire truck was ordered, it had to be specially designed to fit into the allotted space.
“We knew we needed to put a building that would be conducive to the surroundings of the area at Wesley Chapel,” Butch Plyler, the department’s president, said. “We wanted something nice for all of our fire district.”
The new facility has energy efficient amenities, ample space for fire trucks, a spacious kitchen, an office for the sheriff to work out of as needed and 12 cubicles for sleeping quarters – a feature Plyler feels is very important.
“Now, guys can sleep here at night and be here at night, and be here when the alarm goes off, rather than having to come get the truck and go,” Plyler said. “This will increase our response time at night.”
The entire project cost $3.8 million and the facility was constructed not just to meet present needs, but with an eye on the future.
“We don’t need all those (sleeping) cubicles right now,” Plyler said. “But you couldn’t build a building and just add six cubicles in 10 years. That would cost an arm and a leg.”
Fire Station 26 serves Wesley Chapel as well as parts of Weddington, Indian Trail and Marvin. Steven McLendon, the Department’s chief, is proud of all the hard work put into the station and is excited to see the efforts come to fruition.
“We’re very proud of the community we have,” McLendon said. “We’re here for the citizens and we take great pride in that service.”