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Unified fire crew moves out of Magna station due to earthquake concerns

“Do Not Cross” tape is stretched across the entrance to the Unified Fire Authority’s Station 102 in Magna on Friday, April 17, 2020. Unified officials announced Friday that the crews at the station, 8609 W. Main, will relocate to Station 111, 8215 W. 3500 South, less than 2 miles away, due to concerns over the recent increase in seismic activity in the area.
“Do Not Cross” tape is stretched across the entrance to the Unified Fire Authority’s Station 102 in Magna on Friday, April 17, 2020. Unified officials announced Friday that the crews at the station, 8609 W. Main, will relocate to Station 111, 8215 W. 3500 South, less than 2 miles away, due to concerns over the recent increase in seismic activity in the area.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

MAGNA — Due to concerns over the recent increase in seismic activity in the Magna area, the Unified Fire Authority has moved out of its station on Main Street.

Unified officials announced Friday that the crews at Magna Station 102, 8609 W. Main, will relocate to Magna Station 111, 8215 W. 3500 South, less than 2 miles away.

After the initial 5.7 earthquake on March 18, engineers from the Unified Fire Authority’s Urban Search and Rescue Task Force discovered minor damage at several stations around the valley. But two stations — the Magna station and Millcreek Station 112, 3608 Jupiter Drive — “experienced significant damage,” said Unified fire spokesman Matthew McFarland.

Following Thursday morning’s 4.2 aftershock, Unified Fire Chief Dan Petersen decided to relocate the crew stationed on Main Street.

“With the frequency and intensity of the aftershocks, along with the high probability of more according to the USGS, Petersen felt it was critical to act now to keep the crew safe and ensure UFA would be able to continue serving the residents of Magna,” according to a prepared statement from the agency.

Magna Station 102 suffered cracks in the bricks of the exterior of the building, McFarland said. There was also concern about the area above the bay doors. If the bays collapse, that could trap all the station’s fire engines and heavy equipment, and firefighters couldn’t help anyone, he said.

“While this will affect response times in the northwest portion of Magna, our crews’ safety and the ability to be available for response is of the utmost priority,” Petersen said. “I’m confident we can continue to deliver quality emergency services for the Magna community from Station 111, while ensuring the safety of our crews until the station can be further evaluated or repaired if necessary.”

Two crews and two full sets of apparatus will now work out of one fire station. Magna Station 102 had three four-member crews, so an additional four people will be at Magna Station 111 at most. McFarland said that shouldn’t be a problem as Station 111, built less than a decade ago, has three times the square footage as Station 102, built in 1979.

“The new station is substantially bigger,” he said. “Our current social distancing practices will be easy to adhere to in the new space.”

The Station 102 crew will still cover their same area. The only difference is response times for the farthest regions of Magna will be increased by about a minute, McFarland said.

The crew at the Millcreek station will remain for now, he said, but engineers are “keeping a close watch” on the building.

In August, the fire department completed a seismic study of its stations and determined that 10 needed structural retrofits. Five of those stations have been designated for replacement, McFarland said, including the Magna and Millcreek stations, in addition to Herriman Station 103, Midvale Station 125 and Eagle Mountain Station 251.

“UFA has applied for grant funds to retrofit the remaining five stations,” Unified officials said Friday.

McFarland said replacing Magna Station 102 is at the top of the department’s capital improvement project list. As of Friday, there was no estimated time frame of when that might happen. He said it is likely that Magna Station 102 will never be used again.

McFarland said responding to the residents of Magna is the highest priority of the department’s two Magna stations.

“This is for the good of everybody,” he said of the move. “It will not compromise our response in Magna.”