Chelsea plans new fire station

A new fire station, to be located on Old Highway 280, should be operational in late 2009, said Chelsea Mayor Earl Niven.

The new station will be built next to the current station, which will serve as a supplies unit to free up space in the new building.

“This will be a station we’re building for the future,” Niven said.

The new station will likely cost around $2.5 million, he said. That money will also pay for a ladder truck for the fire department.

“It’s necessary because of the growth of Chelsea and because of the larger houses that are two or three stories high,” Niven said. “We need to be able to get up higher.”

Architects are currently working on proposals for the new station. Plans will be presented in late September, he said.

The station will have space and sleeping quarters to house 12 firefighters. There will also be space for classroom training and four bays to store vehicles and equipment, as well as a paramedic on duty at all times.

The station should be 12,000 to 15,000 square feet.

Fire Chief Wayne Shirley said the extra space is sorely needed. The current station has five firefighters on duty, but the station isn’t big enough to house them all.

“The building we have now only holds two vehicles, and it doesn’t have room to sleep except for about two people,” he said. “That’s not enough room for current staff and certainly will not be enough for future staff.”

In fact, firefighters have to sleep in a trailer at the current station for lack of space, Niven said.

The groundbreaking for the new station should happen early in 2009, and Niven then expects 10 months to a year to complete building.

The goal of the station is to keep Chelsea safe, he said.

“We want to provide the very best fire and rescue service that a city can provide,” he said. “With us having this facility, it’ll allow us to respond faster.”