Jan. 13, 2005Work has begun to help get the Dorothea Fire Station up and running within the next 10 days. The station has been closed off and on for the past month because the building is in disrepair, and the fire trucks were in the process of being fixed (SeeNorthside Residents Not Notified of Station Closure and Dorothea Fire Station Closed Until Fire Truck is Fixed.)
"What we're doing right now is casting the rafters for a new roof," Ira Williams, deputy fire chief said. "Then we'll be installing new galvanize and sealing the whole thing up to make sure that insects and other small creatures cant get inside."
Williams joined a crew of construction workers and firemen at the station early Friday afternoon to make some head way on the repairs.
"We also eventually plan on building a whole new station here, which would take about 10 months to complete once construction gets started," he said.
Williams pointed out a half-set cement foundation next to the current fire station.
"It's going to be two stories the bottom floor will function as the stalls for the fire trucks. We've drawn up the plans for that already," he said.
On the topic of trucks, Williams said the fire truck for the Dorothea station is "out of the shop," but will not be in the station yard until the repairs are complete. "We've ordered another one that should be here next week as well," he said.
In a phone interview last week, Donald Charles, Fire Services spokesman, said two contractors have already been consulted about building the new station. "We're in the process of looking for a third," Charles said.
Williams said the new building would be a major, but much needed, project.
"We only have four men at this station," he said. "The area out here is growing, and we're going to need a bigger and better functioning station with more manpower in case something big happens."
He said that there have been a few minor fires on the Northside over the past three years, "But that doesn't mean something big can't happen," he said.
Williams also commented briefly on the status of the Bordeaux Fire Station on St. Thomas, which he said is under construction.
"We should be finished with that project in about a month," he said.
However, Williams said that once the Bordeaux station opens, the island will be running low on firefighters.
"We might be stretching our resources there," he said.
Williams also said he expects a new class of firemen to begin training "sometime soon."
"I am unsure how many new guys we'll be able to get, though," he said. "It all depends on the number of positions which can be paid for by the Office of Management and Budget. They're the ones who have to finance the positions, so we take what we can get."
Funding for the new building is also uncertain, he said.
"We have the money to do the repairs on the roof, but to complete the new station, we would need more funding for that."
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