West Pierce Fire closes University Place station

More than 50 years ago, when a fire station opened on West 40th Street in University Place, UP wasn’t yet a city and West Pierce Fire and Rescue didn’t exist.

On Tuesday, the fire station closed for good. Its three emergency personnel and the engine they drove were relocated to the West Pierce headquarters a half mile away on Drexler Drive, near the city of University Place’s civic building.

The station closed because the property is being sold, said West Pierce Capt. Jenny Weekes. The buyer will not be disclosed until the real estate deal closes, Weekes said.

The relocated engine company joins another engine company and a medic unit staffed by two emergency responders at the Drexler station. The engine and its personnel will continue to respond to emergencies in the area it served at the station at 7909 40th St. W.

The old station was operational before University Place incorporated as a city in 1995. In 2011, when Lakewood and University Place merged emergency services to create West Pierce Fire and Rescue, the response area changed. The Drexler headquarters’ proximity to the 40th Street station meant the two shared the same area. Meanwhile, there were gaps in coverage in the southern and eastern parts of University Place.

The fire district board of commissioners made clear its plans for the building in January when it decided to combine the emergency units at the district headquarters and search for a buyer for the 40th Street station.

The board also decided to build a centrally located station to increase efficiency. The location for a central station hasn’t been decided yet, Weekes said.