Edinburg breaks ground on fifth fire station, again

EDINBURG — Fire Chief Shawn Snider once again broke ground on the city’s Fire Station No. 5, a project 14 years in the making.

Tuesday’s ceremony was the second of its kind.

In May 2017, city officials held a groundbreaking event at a different location near the Edinburg Solid Waste Department.

At the time, then Mayor Richard Garcia announced a 13,000-square-foot facility would be built at 8502 N. Jasman Road.

Edinburg, Garcia said, would pay about $1.4 million and split the rest of the cost with two other entities: Hidalgo County Precinct 4 would contribute $1 million and Hidalgo County Emergency Service District No. 3 would give $500,000.

However, an issue with the contractor, Candela Construction LLC, derailed those plans.

“ We ended up having to get rid of the contractor from the first job and we had to reset that, and go to court and everything,” Snider recalled Friday. “We were able to get all of our money back, plus damages and (we were) able to reset here.”

The new 10,000-square-foot facility will be located behind the Texas Department of Public Safety Mega Center on Davis Road, conveniently located near Interstate Highway 2.

And it won’t just be a fire station, Snider said.

“ This is an all-inclusive, capable facility that is going to house a police department,” he announced Friday. “This is the first substation that the police department has in the city.”

Hidalgo County Emergency District No. 3 will keep its pledge to contribute $500,000 and will also have an EMS crew available at the site, cutting response times for fire, police and EMS by at least five minutes and three miles for residents living in North Edinburg.

“ Other than just being a place to stick a fire truck and some people to sleep there, it’s a critical safe haven for the community,” the fire chief said, noting parents are allowed by law to drop off children at fire departments, no questions asked.

Still, many others often stop to seek help, medical or otherwise.

Yes, it’s been a long time, but I’ll tell you that it could not be at a better place or at a better time to benefit the community,” Snider said. “We had two incidents right here last night. One of them was right here on the south side of the DPS facility — rollover accident, power lines down, guy was trapped inside, you know — but we had to come in (from the middle of) town.”

Snider said Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina let him pick the optimal location.

“ At the time that we picked that station over there, at that other location, this wasn’t available to me,” Snider said about the land. “And then when it finished, I talked to the mayor and he says, ‘If you could have that station anywhere you want, where would you have it?’ And I said, ‘Well, my original location was here.’ But this is premium property, you know?”

“ Well, it just so happens the city of Edinburg owns part of it now,” Snider recalled the mayor told him. “So we came out here and sawed off our piece.”

The new facility will sit on two acres of land and will cost about $2.5 million, furnishings and all, the fire chief said. It will be home to four fire trucks and have sleeping quarters for 12 crew members.

“ When we talk about sustainable projects that make an impact to the community, those are going on here today,” he said. “Taking five minutes and three miles away from the response times for police, EMS and fire — that is a great thing for our citizens.”

Insurance rates for homes and businesses near the facility will also see a decrease in cost, Snider said, adding it could fall anywhere between 20 and 40 percent.