By Stephani Dingreville
At a recent Village council regular meeting, Fire Chief Anthony Martinez spoke about a grant the department had received to build a second fire substation in Corrales. The substation will be at 2200 Loma Larga Rd, on the east side between Penny and Nicky Lanes, where the green water tower now stands. The fire department built the water tower and pump station years ago to refuel pumper trucks. At that time, the chief thought it would be a good idea to have an unmanned substation there to host such a truck along with other equipment.
Chief Martinez has listed the substation on his capital outlay wish list for the last several years. “I am very grateful to be able to make out such a list,” he says. He added that the substation was by no means his top priority. That would have been more money to extend the fire hydrant line along Loma Larga. However, the New Mexico State Legislature voted in favor of the substation, and the chief responded: “I am just happy to have money toward one of my projects.”
“Whenever you design a system, you always want to have redundancies” the chief says. That is what the new substation would be, another redundancy for the already functioning firefighting machine in Corrales, one that would also increase efficiency.
Chief Martinez told a story about a fire that the department fought recently on the West side of Loma Larga. It was during a storm, and high winds had knocked out the power at the pump house for the afore-mentioned water tower. So the firefighters had to divert two minutes to a hydrant that was hooked up to the main fire station’s pump.
Two minutes might not make much of a difference, but when the new fire substation is built, it will have a back-up generator that can be used for the pump, allowing the absolute closest water supply to be used for any emergency.
A new substation also brings more funding from the State Fire Marshall’s Office. These funds can then be used for the other items on Chief Anthony’s wishlist, including equipment, training, personnel, and, of course, that fire hydrant line. There are grant-match opportunities available that the money could also be used for. “There is a return on the investment” the chief says, “it just takes a few years.”
Chief Martinez is unsure when construction will begin. “This grant is just for the first phase of the project, the design and some construction hopefully,” he says. He goes on to say about the design: “Because of the pandemic, I’m actually looking at the feasibility of using this substation as a location for a vaccination drive-through. The site has plenty of room for cars. Before the pandemic it was never even a thought, but now it might just be a possibility.”