At 8:59 a.m. Tuesday morning, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue’s Wolftrap Station 42 received its first-ever call.
According to dispatch records, a 100-year-old county resident was in medical distress and the four-person fire and rescue crew responded.
“The call was only about a half-mile away and the family was grateful that we were able to get there as fast as we did,” said firefighter A.J. Rodriguez. “The patient was transported to a medical facility and we all returned to the station.”
Construction of the new 14,000-square-foot, $11.3 million firehouse at the corner of Route 7 and Beulah Road in Vienna, was completed last March. But until this week it was used only for training exercises and to house antique fire trucks that are displayed in a handful of community parades.
The story of the station itself goes back a ways--24 years--to the 1989 Public Safety Bond referendum with which it was funded. Design and construction was eventually approved 17 years later, in 2006, and the station was originally scheduled to be opened in late 2007 out of a need to address growing service demands in the Dulles corridor and on highly congested Route 7 west of Tysons Corner.
In late 2010, after three years of recession-related delays, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted the Tysons Corner Comprehensive Plan and construction of the Wolftrap firehouse finally started not long after.
The station was completed in March, but remained empty for another six months due to yet another set of budget constraints. Fairfax officials had not approved the estimated $4.2 million needed to staff the station in the county’s fiscal 2014 budget plan, and suggested that it be put off until the money could be appropriated in the 2015 budget.
“The story of that station is a real roller coaster ride,” said Dranesville Supervisor John Foust (D).
But Foust persisted, and last month he announced at a meeting of the Great Falls Citizens Association that $2.5 million in surplus money from the current budget had been appropriated to staff one full-time fire engine crew of four.
“That’s us,” said Station Commander Ronnie Rodriguez on Tuesday, the station’s opening day.
The four-person crew that day consisted of Rodriguez, firefighter A.J. Rodriguez (no relation), firefighter/medic Andrew Rose, and master technician Kelly Joplin, who drives the station’s brand new fire engine, number 442.
The crew all transferred from the Merrifield fire station to be a part of the new Wolftrap station.
“It’s an honor,” said firefighter A.J. Rodriguez. “Not everyone can be a part of a brand new station. I feel privileged to be here.”
Next July, when a new Fairfax County budget kicks in, four more crew members will be added to the station, as well as a medic unit and a tanker truck. “We will then be at full force,” said Station Commander Ronnie Rodriguez.
The station number, 42, has special significance to Rodriguez.
“It is Jackie Robinson’s jersey number,” he said. “Many fire stations in Fairfax County derive their identity from either their area or their number. For example, Reston Station No. 25 is called the ‘quarterhouse’ because of the number 25. Here at number 42, we will try to embody the virtues that Jackie Robinson displayed, those of courage, honor and integrity.”
A display case in the station’s front lobby showcases photos and memorabilia related to Robinson.
Station 42 will participate in the upcoming countywide Fire Prevention Open House scheduled for all county firehouses on Oct. 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.