For Columbus Fire Chief Martin Andrews, one of the special things about the new Fire Station 4 is that firefighters are helping to build it.
With the exterior of the building in place, firefighters have been working in recent months to put in the interior frame.
“What’s happening now is the firefighters have come in while on duty, not getting an extra penny, to frame the whole building,” Andrews said. “All you see on the inside, they’ve done for no cost to the city.”
Battalion chiefs on each shift ask for volunteers, Andrews said, and so far about 50 firefighters have volunteered to work on the station.
Battalion Chief Scott Swain said firefighters from across the department have worked on the station. He said CFR maintains enough firefighters away from the station to respond to calls, and the firefighters who volunteer can respond to major emergencies if needed.
“All the guys came together from different stations and framed up the interior — all the walls you see now,” Swain said Wednesday. “As it goes on, we’ll do the waterproofing for the showers, lay the tile flooring and different things like that.”
Andrews said the city is working with J5 Broaddus, along with the fire department help build the station. He said the fire department has stockpiled more than $500,000 in insurance rebate money it receives from the Mississippi Insurance Department over the years, and is using that money to help pay for the new station.
About $375,000-worth of work has gone into the station so far, Andrews said. CFR has about $200,000 left to spend on the project, and then he said the city would take over funding it. Andrews said the total project will cost about $1 million and is aiming to have it completed by the end of the year or early 2018.
CFR is moving Fire Station 4 roughly a mile west from its current location at the intersection of Airline and South McCrary roads. The new location, also on Airline Road, is near the Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society.
The new facility will offer significantly more up-to-date amenities and capabilities than the current Fire Station 4, which was built in 1960. The old facility is about 3,200 square feet and too small to accommodate modern fire trucks. The new facility is about 11,000 square feet.
CFR spokesman Anthony Colom said the department is still determining how to use the old station. He said it might be converted to a shelter for home fire victims, a fire museum that children could tour or possibly a storage facility.
Alex Holloway was formerly a reporter with The Dispatch.
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