By Megan Alley
Passersby to Union Township Fire Department Station 49, located at 718 Old State Route 74, behind Eastgate Mall, may have noticed construction work going on to renovate the building.
The project encompasses removing the existing apparatus bays on the front of the building, and replacing them with new, expanded bays.
Right now, there are four bays with “very limited space,” explained Stanley Deimling, fire chief.
The bays doors are 10 feet tall and 12 feet wide.
When the project is finished, the building will have five bay doors, each 14 feet tall and 14 feet wide, and an additional drive through bay down the entire west side of the building that will allow for an aerial truck, which has an expandable ladder attached to the top.
“The station was never large enough before to hold an aerial truck, so it will allow us to have an aerial in the Eastgate area of the township,” Deimling added.
The original station was built in 1956, and it’s been added on to and modified a couple of times throughout the years.
“That station has always limited us to what apparatus that we could keep in that area of the township, and it also limited us to the design of the fire trucks that went in there, because we always had to keep in the back of our mind that we couldn’t buy anything that was taller than the 10 foot high bay doors, and most of your modern fire apparatus are bigger than that,” Deimling explained. “So, we’ve been really restricted as to the design of fire equipment because we physically couldn’t fit it into the fire station.”
The project has been in the works for “some time,” and construction got underway in December.
Deimling hopes to have the project completed sometime this spring.
Operations continued out of the building as long as possible during construction, but recently staff and equipment were redistributed to other Union Township stations.
During this time, the station has arranged for automatic mutual aid – an automatic response – from the Milford Community Fire Department to serve the northern part of the township.
The project, which estimated to cost $1.3 million, is being partially paid for by a local government safety capital grant.