Firefighters making best of temporary home

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 23, 2003

The first thing you see is the tiny office that has to meet everyone's needs. Then comes the cramped kitchen that leaves little room to maneuver at dinner time.

The two small bedrooms would make a college dorm room look spacious.

And nobody wants to discuss the bathroom.

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The Ironton Fire Department has called this 12-by-60 foot trailer on the Second Street side of the municipal garage home since December. Down to each man, they are all looking forward to moving into the new station next year.

The 10,600 square foot, one-story fire station is being built on the corner of Fourth and Jefferson streets, the same location as the old structure.

The new building will be able to accommodate up to 30 firefighters, will have four vehicle bays and includes living spaces, a mezzanine, a community education room, offices and a three-story training tower.

City officials worked for more than four years to replace the 90-year-old building that everyone agreed had outlived its usefulness.

Originally scheduled to be completed in December, the station is probably about 80 percent completed and the timetable for completion has been pushed back to March,

City Engineer Phil Biggs said.

Construction on the $1.9 million project has been delayed by a combination of factors that included the weather and design changes needed to meet all the fire codes, Biggs said.

Once completed, this state-of the art building will really bring the department into the 21st century of firefighting, Biggs said.

With just a few months to go, the 16-man department continues to make the best out of its temporary home.

"It is about what we expected," Capt. Mike Hasenauer said. "It is cramped, dirty and hard to keep the equipment clean."

As far as serving the community, Hasenauer said that the temporary facility has not affected much.

"It has not caused too many problems," he said. "It may slow our response time to the south end but we have been lucky, and I don't think it has cost us there."

Overall, everyone seems to be excited about the idea that they will have a new station in a a few short - or not so short - months. Even though they all kind of expected to spend two Christmases in the trailer, they are starting to get anxious, he said.

"I think it will mean a lot morale wise," Hasenauer said. "It has just been

inconvenient but it sure will be nice to get out of here."

Firefighter Louie Sheridan, the chef of his crew, said he is most looking forward to a full-size kitchen so he can continue to prepare his "gourmet" meals.

"The guys don't seem to mind much," he said as he worked in the kitchen. "I haven't killed any of them yet."

"But there is still today," Firefighter Joe Marshall chimes in as Sheridan put the finishing touches on tacos.

Mayor Bob Cleary is equally excited about the project that he believes will accommodate the firefighters now and for years to come.

"They have now got a building that will last for lifetimes," he said. "I am happy to see it come to pass and I am anxious to see them get in there."