ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) –  Albuquerque Fire Rescue’s (AFR) call volume continues to rise. Now, they’re working toward the biggest public safety expansion the city has seen in decades. 

The city said they’ve already acquired funding to build a new fire station in the fastest growing part of the city with plans to break ground on a new station in southwest Albuquerque near 98th and Blake.

“A lot of ‘Burquenos’ don’t necessarily understand the growth of the city, and I will tell you, it’s all here. So, if you’re wondering where the city is growling? It’s all in the southwest,” said Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller.

The project is still in its planning phases, and the city is looking at expanding its public safety presence in the area, starting with Albuquerque Fire Rescue Station 23.

Fire Chief Gene Gallegos said, it’s been 15 years since the department has added a new station, and with an increase of more than 8,000 calls for service in the last year, it will help reduce the department’s average response time for the southwest part of the city. The time is currently eight minutes.

“We are looking for a four-minute response time in a congested area, so when it’s busy, we are going to have a four-minute response time to every area in a fire district, and that is how we select where the fire stations will be located. New fire station 23 will improve both EMS and fire suppression response times and serve over 27,000 citizens of Albuquerque,” said Gallegos said.

Gallegos explained the new station will bring in 30 firefighters and paramedics. The city also hopes to add an Albuquerque Police Department substation and an Albuquerque transit station to the six-acre property.

”We hope these families know, we have not only not forgot them, we are listening to them, and we are investing in their children and their future community in a way, frankly, the city has never done before,” added Mayor Keller.

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The city said it already has the money for the fire station and expects to break ground by the end of summer.

Mayor Keller stated he hopes the state will kick in $10 million to complete the rest of the public safety complex. AFR also wants to add two more fire stations over the next decade; one in the northwest part of the city, and the other at Mesa del Sol.