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Fire Station #2 construction on the go


by Sylene Argent

Construction on the new 8300-square foot Fire Station # 2 facility in underway, and Essex Fire Chief Rick Arnel is excited to see the major project progressing.

  Formerly, work began on September 28, and the progress is noticeable. It is not known when the facility will be officially finished, but it is hoped the new station will be ready by the end of April, Arnel noted.   

  The new facility is being built at 3575 North Malden Road. The decision to move this station’s location was made through the results of a study that highlighted needs for better response times, in addition to a Facility Audit Report that determined the current facility does not meet the needs of Essex Fire & Rescue Services for a host of reasons.

  Some of those reasons include that the modern firefighting apparatuses just do not fit in the current station properly, and all the bunker gear gets contaminated by firetrucks when they start up. The new facility will have an air-exchange system that will ensure there is no bad air in the building. There will also be a gear room, where firefighters can dress in their equipment. Currently, firefighters at Station #2 have to get dressed next to the fire truck, sometimes as it is pulling out of the building.  

  It was hoped construction on the new facility – which will have 2.5 bays, indoor parking for five fire service vehicles, an exhaust system, and a larger training room that will accommodate all of Essex Fire & Rescue’s around 60 firefighters – would be started in the spring, but the project start time was pushed back, due to COVID-19.

  The facility will also have gender-neutral washrooms, which is a feature the Steering Committee for the project came up with. It was a little cheaper to design the facility with one washroom and they thought it was an innovative thing to do. The stalls’ walls go right down to the floor, Arnel noted.

   Essex Fire & Rescue is working with Architecttura Inc. and Bear Construction and Engineering Inc. on the project.

  “Bear is doing a wonderful job,” Arnel said of the work being put into the facility, now that things are rolling. It is hoped the steel trusses will be installed by mid-November. “Things are moving along, and we can say so far, the weather has been cooperating with us…they are not wasting any time out there.”

  Onsite meetings are being held biweekly between Essex Fire & Rescue’s administration and the builders to discuss any issues that may arise as well as the progress made.

  As part of the construction of the building, a water retention pond had to be installed. It is around 50 percent dug. The pond is necessary to drain water from the property in the case there is a one-in-one-hundred-year storm. As a facility that will house emergency equipment, it needs to be accessible at all times. The property also had to be raised, on average. 1.1 meters.

  In addition, this will be a disaster relief facility, Arnel noted, adding if something would happen at nearby nuclear plants, Station #2 will be a reception centre or decontamination spot.

  In the 2020 Town of Essex Budget, $2.7M had been allocated to long-term debt for the new Station #2 Fire Hall. Recently, the budget was increased $709,182, due to higher-than-expected costs, including the grading and swale added to the property. Prevention of erosion had to be considered and roof anchors needed to be added. Wood prices, asphalt, and steel prices have also gone up.

  Arnel noted the firefighters at Station # 2 are super excited for the new facility.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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