Snohomish County Fire District 21 encompasses 70 square miles. (Snohomish County)

Snohomish County Fire District 21 encompasses 70 square miles. (Snohomish County)

‘Smoking-hot deal’: Fire District 21 buys land near Arlington

A planned second fire station, on the south side of the Stillaguamish River, would speed responses.

ARLINGTON — Snohomish County Fire District 21 has purchased land south of Arlington to build a second station.

The five acres on McElroy Road, off Burn Road, cost $121,000. The sale closed Feb. 9.

The price was lower than the assessed value for the property.

“We got it for a smoking hot deal,” Capt. Branden Bates said. “A person obviously could have sold it for a lot more, but they sold it to us.”

At 70 square miles, the rural district has one of the largest geographic spans in the county. Its service area is split by the South Fork Stillaguamish River, and its only fire station is to the north.

If the district builds on the recently purchased property, the new station would be on the other side. The location is settled, but not much else. Before construction starts, district leaders need to make plans to design the building, excavate the land and figure out funding.

Fire Chief Chad Schmidt and the elected commissioners will go over financing options, one of which could be a levy in the fall, Bates said.

“Our goal is to build a structure sooner than later, but there’s going to be some hoops to jump through for that,” he said. “We have to figure out what those hoops are.”

The idea of building a station south of the river has been around for years, Bates said.

Right now, the firefighters have trouble getting across the water fast enough to help people. The future station could change that.

Other crews, from Arlington and Granite Falls for example, have been handling 911 calls in District 21, because it’s faster for them to reach certain areas. The district also partners with Arlington on providing medical services.

About 9,000 people live in its boundaries, and the population is growing. Fire departments around the county face an increasing number of emergencies.

“People are having to go into our area to provide services for us,” Bates said. “It would be nice for us to provide those services and be self-sufficient, and provide our own protection for our taxpayers.”

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com.

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