By Ron Warnick
QCS Senior Writer 

San Jon opens second fire station

 

November 23, 2022

Ron Warnick

An area resident walks to the new San Jon Fire Station No. 2 north of the village. Village officials held a ceremonial ribbon-cutting Thursday for the site.

SAN JON - It took more time and money than anticipated, but the Village of San Jon on Thursday celebrated the opening of a second fire station north of town.

The San Jon Fire Department held an open house Thursday that featured a ribbon-cutting ceremony by the Tucumcari/Quay County Chamber of Commerce. About 40 people attended to participate, then partake of complementary submarine sandwiches and cupcakes topped with yellow or red icing.

Village officials had been thinking of expanding its first fire station, built in 2004. Village treasurer Toni Stoner compared getting all the fire equipment into the cramped building to a Tetris video game.

Fire Chief Chris Molyneaux said an emergency several years ago in Bushland, Texas, that blocked the Interstate 40 overpass and cut off access to half the town made San Jon officials rethink of expanding the current firehouse. He said knew of at least two instances where accidents closed the I-40 overpass in San Jon.


"If we ever had a major wreck on the interstate, we can't get our firetrucks across the other side," Stoner said. "We have to go 10 miles on the frontage road to get turned around to get to the other side."

The village decided to build a second fire station nearly a mile northeast of I-40 on Quay Road 59.8, just off Highway 469.

San Jon in October 2019 received a federal Community Development Block Grant of $750,000. Village officials anticipated breaking ground in spring 2020.

The village put the project out for bids. Those came in "way over budget," Stoner said.

Stoner said she rewrote the specifications and put it out for bids again in 2021. It still was too high. COVID-era inflation had made a second fire station unattainable with the funds the village and fire department had on hand.

The village applied for more federal money and got it - for a total of $1,006,500, plus $42,000 in matching funds from the fire department.

Even with extra funds, Stoner said the village still had to cut costs. It built its own water lines to the site. It removed a commercial washer-dryer and staircase to the loft above the offices from the project. A planned concrete apron used asphalt instead.


Finally, the village broke ground on the project in January. Formative Architecture of Albuquerque designed the site, and Nick Griego and Sons Construction of Clovis was the contractor.

Stoner admitted the 4,000-square-foot, four-bay building is "basic."

"The fire department probably will have to incur a lot of the costs to get (more fire equipment) in there," Stoner said. "At least we now have room for the trucks and things we do have."

"We needed it," Molyneaux said. "We need to expand the other one or build a new one. This one helps us in several ways."

Stoner said the second fire station also will improve the area's fire rating, thus lowering insurance rates for property owners.

After the ribbon-cutting, Stoner said she was "relieved and excited."

"I am a firefighter, and this touches my heart so much," she said. "Being a firefighter, it's in your blood; we're all in a brother- and sisterhood. Sharing this with our little community to provide more safety ... there's no words."

 
 

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