By Janet S. Lee
Clinton will start the new year with a sparkling new Fire Station #4 at 1973 Pinehaven Drive. Fire chief Jeff Blackledge and local contractor Shane Ormond entered the final countdown to completion last month, and though wet weather delayed dirt work and some initial phases of construction, the brick and metal exterior was complete as the holiday rush began. Interior work was also finished, setting the stage for the opening of the facility that will house nine firefighters, the newest fire engine, and a reserve truck in a state-of-the-art 6,800 square foot building nestled between Mt. Hood Missionary Baptist Church and Pinehaven Presbyterian Church.
Local landscapers Schoggenscapes added grass, trees and shrubs as the finishing touches to “dress up” the building. Chief Blackledge says the station is a welcome addition and that his staff will be good neighbors in the area.
“We’ve already been invited to attend church services at both the neighboring churches,” he says proudly.
Chief Blackledge can quickly list the station’s special features, which include 16′ tall roll-up doors on two engine bays allowing trucks to pull through rather than back up, as well as a “safe room,” that can function as a tornado shelter and accommodate up to seventy-five people. The safe room has 8″ thick concrete block walls and steel frame doors which can be securely pinned at top and bottom.
The safe room serves a dual purpose as the dayroom for firefighting personnel, furnished with a couch, recliners, bookcases, a TV and a dining table. A separate room near the front entrance will be the communications center. Off the central interior hall are three bedrooms, with bathrooms and locker space for personnel on duty. Near the rear entrance, a fully handicap-accessible bathroom is situated across from a workout room that can also double as an overflow area for cots to be set up during a prolonged emergency situation.
The kitchen can be entered from the dayroom or the central hall and features an attractive island, a full array of appliances, and a food prep and service area. Firefighters are assigned kitchen, floor or garbage duty to keep things tidy. Flooring in the common areas, bedrooms and baths is vinyl plank, while the heavily used hall, kitchen, dayroom and utility area feature scored concrete.
The utility room houses a washer, dryer and commercial ice-maker, as well as a large “de-con,” or decontamination shower, where firefighters can shed protective garb that might have chemical foam or other agents on them and immediately rinse off before entering the main portion of the building.
Planned on a budget of $1.6 million, with $50,000 allotted for furnishings, Chief Blackledge says they are “right on budget. We planned and planned, went back to the drawing board, and incorporated features that will make this station cost-efficient and energy-efficient. Because we have LED lighting, there is not as much heat being emitted, which means we could drop down on the tonnage of the heating/cooling equipment. This will be THE most energy-efficient of city buildings.”
The roll-up doors that shelter the fire trucks are electric, though they can be raised manually. But, should electricity go out, a powerful all-building generator will immediately kick in. Sidewalks on three sides are pedestrian-friendly, and a circular back drive facilitates the pull-through feature for the fire trucks. Parking spaces are situated on the north side of the building to accommodate ten to twelve additional vehicles.
Future plans call for the incorporation of a walking trail in the wooded area behind the station itself.
Chief Blackledge is pleased to get this newest station open and functioning in the community, providing service to multiple subdivisions off Pinehaven and down to Williamson and Kickapoo Roads. As proposed new subdivisions already on the drawing board take shape, Blackledge says the station and personnel will be ready “with the capacity to expand as growth continues on the north side of town.”
The addition of a new facility and personnel to staff it should also bring a change in the city’s fire rating, says Blackledge.
“Some time after the first of the year, the Mississippi State Rating Bureau should reevaluate our status, and I expect to see a lower fire rating then.”
Blackledge envisions the station as an integral part of the community, whether through fire protection or first-response medical attention.
“We have a total of eight trained paramedics employed by the city and eight to ten more contract paramedics. If somebody is passing or driving by and has a medical issue, we will be able to help them. If they call from their house with a medical emergency, we will be there.”
“When Shane Ormond [Shane Ormond Construction Management Design], who has really been great to work with, turns it over to us, we’re going to have a huge open house and throw open our doors, so we can show the citizens of Clinton how their tax dollars are being used to the best advantage.”
Photo by Carrie Chennault
Fire station’s safe room
Photo by Carrie Chennault
Pictured left to right, Shane Orman, James Cotton, Richard Hanks, David Tinsley, Justin Hales, Mike Chaney, Jeff Blackledge and Mayor Phil Fisher