New Bourbon Firehouse Open
It was a project more than a decade in the making, but the Bourbon Fire Protection District began operating out of its new station in September, leaving behind the place it called home on Elm Street for 70 years.
Fire Chief Daniel Whatley said it has been a successful transition from the former 2,800 square foot facility to the new, 15,000 square foot building with 10,000 square feet of space in the bays.
With nine bays and eight apparatuses, Whatley said the department has already improved its response time.
“We don’t have to move three trucks just to get one out,” he said.
Voters approved a tax increase in 2006 and the recession delayed plans for a new building a few years later, but construction got underway this year and despite a theft that occurred back in the spring, they were able to move in.
Whatley said he’s heard from people who wonder why the building is so large, but “we didn’t want to build small and then have to add on.”
The new facility has made the department more efficient and not just in response time. There soon will be a battery charger mounted to the ceiling and connected to each vehicle, a tripping hazard at the old building.
An air filling station sucks in air from the outside and the entire building is protected by a sprinkler system and carbon monoxide detection.
There’s a commercial extractor that washes away the chemicals on firefighter garments.
In the past, Whatley said, firefighters would have to wash their garments in a normal washer. Firefighters are exposed to numerous hazardous chemicals and Whatley said they are at risk for cancer.
The new building has gear lockers for 30 firefighters with room for six more.
Crawford Electric sold the district a generator that will keep it powered regardless if electricity is down throughout the area.
A classroom seats 50 people for firefighters or any other emergency agency and a pulldown projector will soon be installed.
The fire department’s first-ever vehicle, a 1939 Chevrolet, is parked in a room which will at some point feature some of the items collected over the years — old helmet shields, documents, brass valves and the door from the old station where every member once walked through.
Whatley said they are hoping to find every firefighter from its creation in 1939 and place their name in the building.