Falls Church, Va. — Slightly more than three years after heavy snow from a blizzard partially collapsed the roof of the Bailey’s Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department bay, construction of a brand-new firehouse has finally started.
Fairfax County officials recently transferred operations of one of the area’s busiest fire stations to a pre-fabricated, modular structure to make way for the new facility.
“Emergency responders relocated March 8 to March 10 and are now operating from temporary quarters up the street,” said Gerald Strider, president of Bailey’s Crossroads VFD. “And because of the extreme care taken to plan for the move, the community saw a seamless transition and will continue to receive outstanding services from our department during construction.”
The temporary fire station is located at 3521 Moncure Ave., next to the Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter. It is approximately a half-mile north from the permanent home located at 3601 Firehouse Lane. All phone numbers remain unchanged.
Three ambulances, a fire engine, a ladder truck, and a rescue boat were damaged in the equipment bay roof collapse at the height of “Snowmageddon” on Feb. 8, 2010. The garage was demolished, and a smaller, tent-like structure has been sheltering the station’s vehicles since. Luckily, no one was injured.
Bailey’s Crossroads VFD, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, has owned and maintained the land, the firehouse, and most of the fire equipment since the organization was founded in 1942. According to Strider, his department’s 45 members donated nearly 10,000 hours serving the community in 2012.
“Our volunteers supplement the capabilities provided by Fairfax County career staff, but they also help run the volunteer organization and help raise money to operate the station and purchase equipment that includes emergency response vehicles,” said Strider.
Under the County’s combination career-volunteer system, operational volunteers are trained to the same professional standards as career firefighters and emergency medical technicians who staff the station 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Volunteers from Bailey’s Crossroads VFD often respond to calls with their career-staff counterparts.
“Our newest temporary home is actually our third home,” Strider said. “Our fire department was originally located at the intersection of Route 7 and Columbia Pike, but when the County decided to build a cloverleaf at the intersection in the 1970s, we relocated to Firehouse Lane.”
If everything goes as planned, by next summer, a new $6 million, 17,000 square-foot building with drive-through apparatus bays will replace the existing structure built in 1974 and considered too small and outdated to be fixed following the roof collapse. The state-of-the-art facility will be poised to better serve a growing Bailey’s Crossroads community.
“One of the benefits of the new station will be larger, more modern living facilities,” Strider added. Female staff will see expanded space designed for them, instead of rooms that were carved out of existing space when the department first hired women firefighters.
Volunteers will also gain meeting space in the new station; they have been using the Mason District Government Center as the meeting hall since 2009 because they outgrew available meeting space within the original structure.
Bailey’s Crossroads VFD is a partner in the Fairfax County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association and is part of the County’s Fire and Rescue Department. Learn more about the Bailey’s Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department at www.bxrvfd.org/. (5/3/2013)