On a recent Sunday afternoon, Fire Chief Allan Peek was wide awake and in the middle of a firefighter's nightmare.

Trains, three of them, blocked the streets connecting the east and west sides of his city.And had there been an emergency, firefighters coming from the stations on the city's east side would have had two options: wait for a path to clear or re-route through Clearfield to the north.

Either way, they would have lost precious time.

Peek said it's lucky there was no emergency on this particular day. But he said delays have occurred in the past because of idling or passing trains. "It happens," he said, "more than you think."

And the problem will only get worse as west-side population continues to grow, he said.

Layton City Manager Alex Jensen said train blockages have caused only minor incidents so far. He said the fire and police departments strive to know about train blockages and have alternate routes planned.

"We've been lucky so far," he said.

However, Peek will be sleeping a lot better in July when the new fire station in west Layton opens at the southeast corner of 2200 West and Hill Field Road.

Peek said this new 12,000-square-foot station will cut fire and ambulance response to the city's west side by three to five minutes.

"It's a perfect setting for an emergency center," he said of the adjacent E.P. Ellison Park also under construction.

Rising out of the southwest corner of the park, the red brick station seems to anchor the city's west end.

This new $1.5 million station will replace the Fort Lane Station as the fire department's headquarters. The city will still have its Fort Lane and Church Street stations, but this will be the No. 1 station.

"We're excited about this," Jensen said. "The new station will improve the level of emergency service tremendously."

He said the new station is timely and is probably ahead of the curve of population growth in west Layton.

There's an estimated 3,000 people living in west Layton now - the area west of the Union Pacific railroad tracks. City planner Peter Matson said there's room for another 9,000 to 32,000 people there - depending on the residential zoning that prevails.

Peek said he expects the new station to serve the city's needs for another five to 10 years, depending on the speed of that population growth.

Nine full-time firefighters are being hired to man the station, with three firefighters on duty every shift. The station will have its own engine, ambulance, ladder truck and brush fire truck for grass fires.

- A public open house for the new west Layton fire station is planned for 10 a.m. Thursday, July 9. The station is located at 530 N. 2200 West. The open house was previously planned for June 17, but wet weather has delayed completion of the new fire station.