More than 22 years after West Smithfield was annexed into the Smithfield city limits, the community is getting a permanent fire substation.
The Town of Smithfield has purchased the former Johnston Ambulance Service (JAS) building on West Market Street at Strickland Drive. The Town will buy the building and an adjacent lot for $425,000 or about 11 percent below the tax value of the two parcels.
The JAS building has been vacant since the company closed last August.
Town of Smithfield Public Information Officer Tim Kerigan said the town hopes to close on the property by the end of May. The Smithfield Fire Department substation will be operational by the end of July or early August depending on how quickly firefighters can get the gear and furnishings needed in place, Kerigan said Thursday.
The fire department will still maintain their Main Station on South Fourth Street in Downtown Smithfield.
Officials said the former JAS building was ideal for a fire station because of its current design for apparatus bays as well as space for operational duties. Town leaders said the fire station will provide coverage for the West Smithfield area and be positioned for increased residential, commercial and industrial growth.
The Smithfield Fire Department had a temporary West Smithfield Substation in 2012 and 2013 during the closure of the Neuse River Bridge on Market Street while the bridge was replaced. (2016 file photo by John Payne)