Temporary Phoenix fire station to help improve response time in North Phoenix community

In response to complaints over long response times in a North Phoenix community, the Phoenix Fire Department is doing something unprecedented.

Their goal is to respond to an emergency within three to five minutes. Currently, the average response time in the Norterra community, near I-17 and Jomax, is 12 minutes.

Phoenix firefighters will be working out of temporary station 55, a hotel near Happy Valley and 19th Avenue. Plans to build a permanent station are in the works, but until then, four firefighters and one engine will be stationed at the temporary station.

"I think it just makes the community feel safer," said Julie Read.

Last year, Read, along with her neighbors, began rallying Phoenix city officials to find a way to respond to 911 calls faster in the community. The nearest fire station, 56, is about seven miles north - and response times, as of now, are about three times longer than the city's overall average.

"We do have a lot of young families, a lot of kids," said Read. "Because of the way our communities are laid out, we are not on a grid system. It just takes longer."

Fire station 55 is slated to be built near I-17 and Jomax, but it will take about two years. So, the fire department came up with a temporary solution, using the hotel as a temporary station.

Four firefighters and one engine will be based out of the temporary station, from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., every day. That's when the majority of calls for help in the area come in.

"They'll do the things we typically do, everything from training on computers, cooking, shopping prepare, here," said Jake Van Hook with the Phoenix Fire Department. "It has some of the capabilities a fire station would."

Van Hook said the department expects Station 55 will work out of the hotel, for about a year.

"Very, very thankful they heard the concerns of the community and decided to come up with a solution, and think outside of the box to find something that would work," said Read.

Temporary Fire Station 55 will be up and running, starting at 9:00 a.m. Monday.