Fire stations of the world: Mobile (AL) Fire-Rescue Department opens new Spring Hill Fire Station 18, Alabama, US
Alabama’s Mobile Fire-Rescue Department officially unveiled its newest fire station, Spring Hill Fire Station 18, on Wednesday, 10 February 2021. The $2,5 million station sits on an approximately 98 600 square foot site area in the heart of the Spring Hill community at 700 Museum Drive in the City of Mobile. The upgraded site replaces the previous fire station, which was demolished in August of 2019.
The new fire station offers a simple but modern, architectural design with some state-of-the-art equipment inside of its 6 053 square foot total interior area, including a decontamination room, equipped with particulate extractors and equipment for firefighters to be able to clean and decontaminate their turnout gear and uniforms after incidents potentially exposing them to toxic materials.
It also has a ventilation system, designed to automatically extract harmful fumes, gasses and exhausts in the engine bay, preventing such dangerous products from entering the dormitories, kitchen or living quarters.
Station 18 boasts the first and only bi-fold garage doors in MFRD station builds, designed to fully open in three to four seconds; thus, allowing fire apparatus to exit the station faster when responding to emergency calls.
Sandy McArthur, president of Watermark Design, the architectural firm that designed and built Station 18 for the department, says the new station is built on the same site as an older station from the 1950s that had outlived its usefulness. “Station 18 is based on a prototype building we designed for the city of Mobile,” McArthur points out. “This is the third station we’ve done, having previously built a three-bay and a four-bay station.”
Station 18 has two double-deep, drive-through apparatus bays located in the centre of the single-story brick structure, he notes. “On one side of the apparatus bays is the administrative side of the station, with the captain’s office, decon room, fire sprinkler room, kitchen, turnout gear room, radio room and public restrooms,” McArthur says. “There’s a laundry room with an extractor and turnout gear drier, which with the turnout gear storage area has its own ventilation system to keep contaminants out of the living spaces.”
McArthur continues, “On the opposite side of the bays are the living spaces for the personnel, which include four two-person dorms, a captain’s dorm, a captain’s bathroom and shower and male and female bathrooms and showers. Typically, three to four fire fighters will initially be operating out of this station but the department wanted to allow space for additional fire fighters during storms and other emergencies, which is why we have the four double-bunk dorms.”
Steven Millhouse, Mobile Fire-Rescue’s public information officer, says Station 18 currently houses one front-line pumper, one reserve pumper and a seasonal warm-weather crew rehab truck.
McArthur notes that the brick exterior of the firehouse is keeping in character with the upscale neighbourhood where it is located. “We have an asphalt shingle roof over the apparatus bays with gable ends, parapets and clerestory windows on the gabled ends to bring in natural light,” he says. “The two wings off the centre section have low slope roofs and the four-fold apparatus bay doors have windows and are painted the same colour as the engines.”
A socially-distanced and COVID-19-appropriate ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Station 18 (home to Engine Co. 18), featuring Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, Fire Chief Jeremy Lami, City Council members and a sprinkle of Spring Hill residents.
At the ceremony, Fire Chief Lami addressed local media, expressing excitement and gratitude for the new Spring Hill jewel, “Mobile Fire-Rescue is excited and thankful for the opportunity to continue serving our citizens. With the right staffing, the right training, the right tools, equipment, trucks and facilities, we can ensure that your fire fighters, EMTs and paramedics continue providing quality care for the City of Mobile,” Lami said. He continued, “Station 18 incorporates the latest safety features for our fire fighters. As you look around the station, it certainly is beautiful but we’re most proud of the safety features for the firefighters who will live and work here. We want a safe and comfortable space for them because we will have personnel here 34-hours a day, 365 days a year.”
Source: Mobile (AL) Fire-Rescue Department