DEMOREST — While no permanent solution is on the horizon yet for the failing firehouse in Demorest, city leaders do have a short-term plan to protect apparatus through cold weather months.
That plan places a lot of decision making on City Manager Kristi Shead.
“Tonight, the city council once again discussed a short-term solution for our fire station and have authorized our city manager to explore putting a temporary building on the south end of our existing fire station that will accommodate sufficiently our fire truck,” Mayor Rick Austin told AccessWDUN Tuesday night. “And we have authorized her to make such expenditures up to $15,000. That gives her the leeway to be able to look at the information as it comes in and doesn’t require or necessitate the council getting back together to make that decision formally. We have complete confidence that she’ll be able to get that done in a manner that is both cost-efficient and effective for us.”
Since receiving preliminary information about the firehouse settling more significantly, the fire department has been unable to park its ladder truck inside the bays due to its weight. If a heated facility is not secured by the time freezing temperatures arrive, the department will have to drain the water out of the truck and fill it before responding.
Fire Chief Ken Ranalli told the council he contacted four portable building sales companies for information on an 18-by-48-foot enclosed building with roll-up door, and he received two prices.
City leaders discussed placing the temporary structure on the gravel at the end of the current fire station.
Ranalli said the city will need to insulate the structure and provide a radiant heater.
“It is a short-term solution for us that will get us, at a minimum, through the next nine to 12 months as we continue to explore what our long-term solution is for this building,” Austin said. “Obviously, as the public already knows, this building continues to settle, but having the truck outside of the bay itself may slow that settling down some. Again, we do have a short-term solution that helps us plan the appropriate measures and solutions for our long-term solution that should be forthcoming in the not-too-distant future.”
Also during Tuesday night’s meeting, the council authorized Shead to have the back property line of the firehouse/municipal building flagged so council members can envision how a replacement permanent building might be situated on the site.