West Richland fire agency begins studying need for new station

Trucks were fighting a fire in Benton County Fire District 4.
Trucks were fighting a fire in Benton County Fire District 4. Benton County Fire District 4

Benton County Fire District 4 in West Richland shaved a minute and six seconds off of its average response time in the first three months of this year.

It dropped to 7:41 from the first dispatch call to arriving at a fire or emergency medical situation, said fire Chief Bill Whealan.

“Every second counts in a fire or medical emergency,” he said. “We are pleased with these numbers, but there is still room for improvement.”

While it is good news for most of District 4, the time for responses to the west side of the district can be up to nearly 17 minutes.

Whealan said the district wants to build another station on property in the Red Mountain area to lessen that time.

Commissioners are considering asking voters to approve a bond in 2018 to build and equip a new station.

Last year, the district paid off a bond used to buy ambulances and renovate a station to improve emergency medical services.

The district serves about 17,000 people in about 52 square miles, including West Richland. It has about 1,400 emergency calls a year.