By Alan M. Petrillo
The town of Queen Creek, Arizona, has grown rapidly in the past 10 years, nearly doubling its population to 42,500 residents living in its 30-square-mile area. With the increase in population, housing, and commercial enterprises, the town needed to upgrade its fire protection facilities. It chose Perlman Architects of Arizona to update its master plan for fire station growth and a municipal services complex and funded the first two phases of the plan.
Vance Gray, chief of the Queen Creek (AZ) Fire & Medical Department, says Queen Creek had two older fire stations, both in need of replacement. “Fire Station 2 had a couple of modular buildings that were designed to be temporary, but because of budgetary concerns, we had to keep using them,” Vance says.” Fire Station 1 drastically needed updated facilities, and neither station offered any room for growth.”
Ken Powers, principal architect at Perlman Architects of Arizona, says he and his staff designed a new Fire Station 1 at the site of Queen Creek’s municipal center. “The new station anchors the northwest corner of the municipal complex and is on the southeast corner of busy Ellsworth Loop Road, positioned at a 45-degree angle,” Powers says. “The one-story station has three double-deep, drive-though apparatus bays with a decon laundry room, EMS supply storage, dirty/clean janitorial areas, a dirty/clean laundry, SCBA fill station, turnout gear storage, and a work room adjacent to the bays. The bays have exhaust fans and evaporative cooling and plenty of natural lighting.”
On the living side of the station, Powers says Perlman designed 10 private dorm rooms, four private unisex toilet/shower rooms, one other bath/shower room, a dining/kitchen/day room area, a fitness room, a public restroom off the lobby, and an EMS exam room off the lobby. “There’s also a separate wing that houses a battalion chief’s area consisting of a vehicle bay, day room, kitchenette, dorm, office, and toilet/shower facility,” he notes. The exterior of Fire Station 1 is masonry with some metal cladding, and it has both standing seam metal gable and shed roofs.
“The aesthetics of the 13,488-square-foot Fire Station 1 is inspired by the ranch homes, agricultural, and equestrian structures in the area as well as historic municipal buildings in the community,” Powers observes.
Perlman also designed the new Public Safety Building on the municipal center site, which houses the town council chambers, offices, a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office substation, and an outdoor component with a civic event space. Cost of the 23,400-square-foot Public Safety Building was $8 million, while Fire Station 1 ran $3.6 million.
Vance points out that Queen Creek later had Perlman build Fire Station 3, a two-apparatus-bay facility but with the rest of its configuration the same as Fire Station 1. “We are currently building Fire Station 4, a three-bay model like Fire Station 1,” he says, “and anticipate it opening in November 2020. We still are operating out of the modular Fire Station 2 but expect it to be replaced by a brick-and-mortar station in the next fiscal year.”
He adds that each of Queen Creek’s fire stations is staffed with a single engine company of four firefighters, two of whom are paramedics. “We are expecting to take delivery of our first aerial next month at Fire Station 1,” Vance says. “It’s an 88-foot midmount Rosenbauer platform that will replace an engine at that station.”
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist, the author of three novels and five nonfiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment Editorial Advisory Board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.