A newly remodeled, three-bedroom structure in Mountain City is now home to the Kyle Fire Department’s newest station, complete with a bright red garage door and a neighborhood view.
In an effort to conserve funds and better serve the community, the Kyle Fire Department renovated and moved into a house in Mountain City. The department’s other two stations were too far from the area to provide a reasonable response time to the neighborhood, Hays High and Barton Middle School.
Firefighters earned overtime assisting with the construction of the new station, which consists of three bedrooms, a living room, as well as a kitchen arrangement.
Kyle Fire Chief Kyle Taylor said the idea for the unique location came about when the department needed another substation, but could not afford the estimated $3 million it would take to build a typical firehouse.
Taylor said the department could not afford new hires and a new house with that option; by renovating an already built home, the station was fully functional and staffed as of Aug. 12.
“The stations were running about 3,000 calls a year, each.” Taylor said. “Maybe more than that. They’ve been pretty busy, so we bought this house before it came up for sale.”
Engineer Mike Ahlman was recently promoted to station engineer after 26 years as a firefighter and helped renovate Station 23, where he now administers.
“The only thing different about being in a station like this is it has a less commercial feel, it’s more like a home,” Ahlman said. “We also wait to check the sirens until our first call to be nice to the neighbors.”
The house had previously been surrounded by a handmade rock wall that was pieced together out of glass, rock and metal by the previous owner. The firefighters tore the wall down and built a second garage with tall red doors to make the space more attractive for the neighbors.
Firefighter Glenn Gilliam said he and the rest of the crew feel welcome in the neighborhood; they plan to finish renovations by upgrading the lawn from its current state of dirt and rocks to bright green grass.
“I’ve been a paid firefighter here for almost a year now,’ Gilliam said. “I like this kind of station, but I also work in the other two stations. This one is just really comfortable to be in.”