Fire stations of the world: Central Valley Fire District Station 1 in Belgrade, Montana, US
Completed in 2019, the Central Valley Fire Station lays on an undisturbed site at the northwest intersection of Airway Boulevard and Wings Way, near Belgrade in Montana, US. While located near Belgrade, the site is outside of the City limits and the land is leased from the Airport Authority. Central Valley Fire Station 1 is revolutionary in its approach to isolating environmental contaminants. The headquarters fire station includes administrative offices, a large training room, a fire fighter living area to accommodate up to 16 fire fighters, four double deep bays, and apparatus bay support space.
The project is comprised of two buildings, the primary 22 300 square foot station and the secondary 2 300 square foot decontamination building. The two-building concept is driven by a hot zone/cold zone cross-contamination reduction philosophy, a first of its kind.
Decontamination building is the hot zone, with the sole function to clean contaminants from equipment and personnel. Once clean, equipment will be transported to the warm zone of the Apparatus Bay in the primary Station. Further separation in the station is the cold zone of the living and administration/operation functions. VFIS, one of the leading insurance carriers for emergency organisations is in the process of developing a short educational documentary on the health and wellness benefits of this innovative facility design.
TCA, partnered with ThinkOne Architects, serving as the Fire Station Specialist for this project.
For over a hundred years, a proud tradition of volunteer fire fighting has been the core of the Belgrade/Belgrade Rural Fire Service. With only a bucket brigade, two hose carts, a Model T hook and ladder truck, and a chemical extinguisher truck, the Belgrade Volunteer Fire Department was organised 12 December 1906. For decades, the annual Fireman’s Ball was its primary fundraiser. In 1936, Belgrade took delivery of its first fire engine, a newly manufactured Champion Fire Apparatus. The Department was housed in the Belgrade Municipal Building until the 1959, when a new station was built with volunteer labour and donations to house a newly acquired 1957 Ford 500 GPM mid-ship pumper.
Belgrade Rural Fire District was formed in 1947 and provided the first rural fire protection in Gallatin County and one of the first in the state of Montana. Primarily formed to extinguish range fires, the district also provided structure fire protection with its “ultra-modern fire truck.” Since inception, the town and district have operated jointly as one fire department. The District entered into an agreement with Belgrade that the town would have use of its truck in exchange for housing, maintenance, upkeep and manning the truck for rural fires. This relationship has been of great benefit to both agencies, in that together they are able to provide a higher level of service for the citizens than either could do separately.
The Reese Creek Fire Service Area was formed in 1978. The first truck was provided by Montana State Lands, a decommissioned 1962 weapons carrier that community members converted into a wildland fire truck. Also in 1978, a single-bay garage was built with community help next to the one-room Reese Creek school house. The Department averaged only three calls a year. In 1996 RCVFD received an ISO Public Protection Class rating of 9. This was accomplished by obtaining a 1970 Mack fire engine from Chalfont Volunteer Fire Department in Pennsylvania.
The Springhill Fire Service area was formed in October 1987, for the primary purpose of wildland fire suppression. Reese Creek and Springhill save since been annexed into the Belgrade Rural Fire District.
"Building the firehouse was a great summer of true community participation by a group with a common interest to provide fire protection. Workers were served home cooked lunches by other volunteers. Others, including our children, painted and cleaned. The Todds were generous to donate the land with a 99 year term lease. We finished the basic building in the fall of 1988, after breaking ground in May and held a big party. More work continued to be done as we had the money and workers."
In 2006, the Belgrade Rural Fire District changed its name to Central Valley Fire District to better reflect all the communities served by the District.
Sources: Central Valley Fire District City of Belgrade Fire Department, TCA Architects, ThinkOne