Trenton firefighters go from cramped space to new $2.5M firehouse

Trenton firefighters and medics have been sleeping in recliners and on couches in their current fire station. CONTRIBUTED

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Trenton firefighters and medics have been sleeping in recliners and on couches in their current fire station. CONTRIBUTED

Firefighters and medics in Trenton will soon have actual beds to sleep in during down time while they work their shifts, instead of recliners and couches.

The city broke ground recently on a new $2.5 million fire station on the site where the former Bloomfield Elementary once stood on Miami Street. The firefighters and paramedics, who work part-time but long shifts, have been living out of a pole barn-type structure with one room and two small offices. Female firefighters have to use the only shower that is located in the men’s restroom.

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Fire Chief Darrell Yater said the conditions have not been optimum.

“This room is the only room that we have,” Yater said, waving his arm around a room filled with recliners and couches. “This is a meetings room, a training room, it’s our day room and it’s our bedroom. This is what we live in right now.”

The new fire station will have five sleeping rooms, a large training room — that other departments can also utilize — several offices, a study, restrooms for men and women, and five bays for fire vehicles. The new station will also provide adequate storage space, something that is lacking now in the current station and another smaller facility.

The all part-time department, including Yater, has three people on duty at a time. The new station isn’t just for today’s needs, he said.

“We are building this station for future, not just now,” Yater said.

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Treasurer Mike Engel said the early estimate for the fire house is $2.5 million. The city council issued bond anticipation notes for the fire station and some other items recently and Engel said when those notes come due, and the final costs are in, they can decide how much they want to borrow and for how long.

“We may not finance the entire amount, that’s to be determined when we see the final numbers,” Engel said. “Borrowing is pretty inexpensive right now and it has to be done anyways, nobody pays cash for house and nobody pays cash for a fire station.”

Yater said they have been frugal with the money voters gave them through a fire levy in 2012, so repayment of the loan will come out of those levy funds. Voters passed a 4.5 mill levy in November 2012 that pulls in about $677,000 annually.

“We were able to save enough money through our budget so that this building is not going to cost Trenton residents a single penny,” he said. “It is all being handled out of the levy we passed in 2012.”

The new building is set to open in May. The former fire building will be used by the city’s public works department.

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