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Benton County Fire District 4 buys plot of land, potential new fire station

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BENTON COUNTY, Wash. -- As our cities grow, so does the number of emergency calls.

That's why Benton County Fire District 4 is looking to build a new station for quicker response times.

"If it were my mom who needed to have someone respond to them, I would want them there as quick as possible," said Fire Chief Bill Whealan of Benton County Fire District 4.

Right now, it takes the fire district an average of just under nine minutes to respond to most calls in the city and its outskirts.

But some areas further in the county, it takes them an average of just under 17 minutes. Officials said that is quite a long time to be waiting if you're in an emergency situation.

"Realistically, we're getting more population, which increases our response times and responses we have. People keep moving out further and further and more numbers always increases your responses," said Whealan.

Fire leaders from Benton 4 said they're the largest growing department, with calls up almost 7-percent last year.

But, the fire district has a plan to deal with growing calls and population- and get to you and your emergency faster.

They bought a five-acre plot of land and are looking at staffing another fire station near the red mountain area.

To fund it, they would need to propose another bond.

Officials said the potential station will lower response times for the entire community- city or county.

"What happens is if we have a station here, we have people here and units here. We do not have to take units that are in the two other locations that are near to the city," said Whealan.

When it's life or death, every second matters.

“I call it the window of life. You have from six to ten minutes to provide definitive care to anybody that’s had a heart attack that’s stopped breathing and their heart is stopped," said Whealan.

The fire district is considering a bond sometime in 2018 to fund the potential new fire station.

But there's a long process before that happens, going through the public and then through the board of fire commissioners.

Fire district four leaders say voters approved a permanent EMS levy last November,

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