Fire station ready to be furnished

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 9, 2004

With the new station set to be completed within the next month, the Ironton Fire Department can now look at turning the empty building into a furnished home.

On Thursday, the Ironton City Council authorized Mayor John Elam to award six separate contracts for equipment and furnishings for the station.

The majority of the $93,702 awarded came from a $75,600 grant through the Firefighter Investment and Response Enhancement (FIRE) Act for firefighting operations and safety equipment. The remainder comes from the fire fee and had been included in the original construction costs.

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The contracts include new air packs, in-mask radios, new communications systems, one-hour air bottles that will be used on hazardous material calls, training software, a computer and a tracking tag system that can keep track of up to 100 people on a scene, and furniture.

All of this equipment will be a tremendous benefit to the department and its firefighting capabilities, Fire Chief Tom Runyon said.

A confirmed occupancy date has still not been determined, but the department anticipates being in the station by the end of April or first part of May. It will take a few weeks for the furnishings to be delivered, the chief said.

"We feel good about the new station," Runyon said. "We are all really looking forward to getting in there."

The project is in the sign-off stages now. The plumbing and life safety inspections have been completed and the electrical check has been conducted but not yet finalized. The structural sign off could happen as soon as Tuesday and some items could be moved in soon after, Runyon said.

Computers, audio visual equipment, kitchen appliances and more will be purchased in upcoming weeks.

The four bid awards for firefighting equipment passed unanimously. Council Chairman Jim Tordiff was the sole dissenting vote against the furniture. Tordiff voted against these awards because of the financial situation the city is in and wondered if the department could find furnishings the city already owns.

"Even though it is from the fire fee and in the construction budget, the fire fee is still taxpayers' money," he said. "It is nothing against the fire department. It is just bad timing."

Runyon could not emphasize enough that the money came from the grants that can only be used for the specified equipment, and the other items were included in the project to replace furniture that has outlived its usefulness.

"I realize it is bad timing, but it is not really our fault this fell at budget time," he said. "It has been a long process. This money was set aside in the original layout of the building (years ago)."

B&C Communications will be awarded a contract of $19,288 for base, mobile and portable paging systems.

With a bid of $31,621, Salamander Technologies were the best bidder for a laptop computer and personnel tracking system for large fire or emergency scene.

Computerized interactive training equipment will be purchased from Action Training System for $3,354.

Dill's Fire Equipment was the best bidder for the air packs, air tanks and mask radios with a price of $29,080.

Office furniture will be purchased from Office Furniture USA for a cost of $3,801. Beds, tables, chairs and living room furniture will be purchased from McCauley Furniture for $6,558.

Located on the same corner as the former station at Fourth and Jefferson streets, the 10,600 square foot, one-story fire station will be able to accommodate up to 30 firefighters, has four vehicle bays and includes living space, a mezzanine, a community education room, offices and a three-story training tower.

Originally, the $1.9 million project was expected to be completed in December, but a variety of change orders, delays and some unexpected site work slowed the project.

The firefighters have worked and lived out of a 12-by-60 foot trailer next to the municipal garage since December 2002.

The fire department will host an open house to show off the building to the public in late spring or early summer.