After operating out of a former equine center for the last two decades, Cypress Lakes Volunteer Fire Department will soon be breaking ground on a new fire station. The new $300,000 station will be located at the same site as the current station on Wood Fern Street in the southern section of The Preserve of Texas, formerly known as Cypress Lakes between Moss Hill and Tarkington along SH 105.
The new 60 x 80-foot steel building will be constructed on a heavy-duty concrete pad and have 16-foot eaves that will allow for future expansion. The design calls for three large front-facing bay doors for quick access to fire-fighting apparatus and a fourth bay door to the rear of the building that potentially could be used by an ambulance service.
Fire Chief Nat Holcomb, who also is an assistant fire marshal for Liberty County, says the new fire station has been in the works for a while.
“Over the last few years, I have been slowly building our credit with our local bank – First Liberty National Bank. They came in with the same rates, or in the same neighborhood, as some of the others out of state,” Holcomb said.
Repayment of the loan over the next 20 years will come from the department’s $40,000 annual budget, funds paid through Liberty County Commissioners Court for providing fire service in that area of the county.
“We are a rural firehouse, so the only money we receive is from the county. We handle about 50 emergency calls per year. Most of them are accidents on 105 but we also get brush and structure fires, and do mutual aid,” Holcomb said.
The new building will have features the previous department lacks, such as a conference room for meetings and trainings, two offices, and his and hers bathrooms.
Cypress Lakes Volunteer Fire Department was established some time between 2000 to 2001, though it was not chartered until 2002, according to Holcomb’s estimations. He moved to the Cypress Lakes community in 1999 and joined the fire department not long afterward.
“I joined in 2000 and have been the fire chief since 2003,” he said. “We have about 20 firefighters on the roster, but only 10 or so are active and respond to most emergencies.”
The company hired to build the new fire station is American Southwest Contractors. It was one of three companies to bid on the project. Holcomb said the company’s bid was not the lowest of the three, but the company was awarded the contract based on his personal knowledge of its work and reputation.
“I know the kind of quality we can expect in this new fire station,” he said.