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Winston-Salem fire stations getting help from taxpayers

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Three fire stations in Winston-Salem are in need of repair or renovations, and you, the taxpayer, are coming to the rescue.

Thanks to bond dollars which voters approved last year, two departments, 7 and 9, will be getting much-needed renovations. Station 8 will be completely replaced.

“A fire station never gets a break. It’s a 24 hour a day, 365 days a year operation,” said Winston-Salem Fire Chief Trey Mayo.

The stations, built in the mid-1900s, have become outdated. Sleeping quarters are small and many times serve more than one purpose. For example, some double as office or workout space. Firefighters don’t sleep often, but they work in 24-hour shifts and need to be well rested.

Also included in the renovations will be improved space for the fire trucks and equipment, which have grown larger since the stations were constructed.

Winston-Salem didn’t get its first female firefighter until 1973, decades after the stations were built. Nowadays, there are much higher numbers of female firefighters and these stations have little to no accommodations for them.

For example, some don’t have female bathrooms and others have no shower space for females. These projects would change that.

Also, in the case of a major disaster, the city may need to call in additional resources to help. However, these stations have “no capacity to bring on additional companies and staff our facilities with additional personnel resources,” Chief Mayo said.

The entire project will cost about $5 million.