JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - The busiest and oldest fire station on James Island now has a new location after years of construction.
From the sleeping quarters to the, 2,000-pound doors that open in five seconds, firefighters call the new James Island Public Service District Fire Station 1 a much-needed upgrade built to better serve both the residents of James Island and the firefighters.
Construction on the new station started in 2019, but the project has been in the works for two decades.
The old fire station headquarters was located at 622 Camp Rd. The building is more than 60 years old, and James Island Fire Department Chief Shawn Engelman says the location was not ideal. Response times for some spots on the island were longer than they wanted them to be, specifically response times towards the backend of Riverland Drive. He says the new location is prime for the area they serve.
Engelman says he has heard talk about building this new station for at least 20 years.
“We literally had one side of the wall that faced East, and at the end of the day you could put your hand on the wall and feel the heat,” Engelman said. “So, it’s nice to be in a new station. Its comfortable. It’s laid out really with the guys in mind.”
The new JIPSD Fire Station 1 serves about 15,000 James Island residents.
Engelman says the project costed about $8 million including the land.
The new station has three bays for fire trucks, solar panels, and a screened porch for the firefighters to sit outside. The sleeping quarters have 3/4 walls to give firefighters privacy while they work what is often a 24-hour shift.
There are typically five fire fighters and five administrative chiefs on duty at JIPSD Fire Station 1.
Engelman says they are in the process of selling old property.