The Fort Bayou Volunteer Fire Department has outgrown its nearly 30-year-old fire station on LeMoyne Boulevard. Firefighter David Wicker says the conditions are real tight right now. He says just general maintenance on the trucks is difficult because of the tight quarters.
Captain Lyle Crandall says
"It's really cramped in the building," Capt. Lyle Crandall said. "We're trying to put four trucks in a building that only holds two."
That means some trucks have to sit outside. The ladders have been damaged, the trucks and the building have also been damaged because firefighters have a hard time getting in and out of the station.
The firefighters won't have to put up with the crowded conditions much longer. Work is underway on a new fire station on Seymour Lane in St. Martin. The 10,000 square foot building will have a training area, extra office space and more parking.
Capt. Crandall says the building will have 4 drive-through bays that will hold 8 trucks. He says the space will allow the department to expand and provide better fire protection. David Wicker says morale would be a lot better because it's a lot easier to work in conditions that are more comfortable.
The bigger, more modern fire station benefits more than just the firefighters. A new station could help homeowners and businesses save money on their fire insurance.
Capt. Crandall says a new building will allow the department to buy more trucks in the future, and hopefully get a better fire rating for people in the community.
"When we went from a 10 to an 8, a lot of people saw a $200 to $300 drop in their insurance rates, so a 7 or a 6 rating will be even better," Capt. Crandall says.
The fire department is using money from its operating budget to fund the new fire station. The firefighters hope to move into their new home by the end of the year.