Fire station work well underway

By Staff
Jonathan Willis
The City of Russellville is getting closer to having a new fire station that officials hope will make a difference in response times to calls and that will help with insurance rates.
Work is well underway on the station that will be adjacent to the electric board warehouse on South Jackson Avenue near the Alabama 24 ramp.
"They are in the process of putting the roof on and will probably start doing brick work in a week or two," Fire Chief Joe Mansell said.
The electric board leased the property to the city for 50 years with the option for another 49 years as long as the property is used for a fire station.
The Russellville Water and Sewer Board gave the city $200,000 to help fund the building of the new station. City officials expect to spend about $300,000 on construction and engineering costs.
Currently, the city operates a station downtown behind city hall and a second station on U.S. 43 near LaGrange Road.
The 10,625-square-foot facility will allow the department to move out of the 70 year-old building they are currently in.
The downtown station will be relocated to the new site on South Jackson Avenue and the current station will be vacated.
"This station is probably about 70 years old," Mansell said. "We have just outgrown it. It is way past time for a new building."
The new facility will allow the department to keep the city's large ladder truck closer to the downtown district.
"The ladder truck needs to be closer to downtown and the industrial park where we can get the full use out of it," Mansell said.
At present, the truck has to be housed in the U.S. 43 station because of its size. Once the truck is moved closer to the industrial park and the taller buildings downtown, officials hope insurance rates will be lowered.
Russellville has an ISO rating of 4. The ISO rating system, which is used by insurance companies to determine homeowners' insurance rates, is comprised of three components. The rating is based 50 percent on the fire department, 40 percent on the water supply and 10 percent on 911 communications.
Mansell said the new station would not lower the ISO immediately.
"But it is a step in the right direction," he said. "There is a lot that goes into moving from one classification to another."
A station placement plan was implemented about 10 years ago after studies showed the city would be best served by having a station on U.S. 43, South Jackson and near the schools complex.
The new station will give the department quick access to Alabama 24 and U.S. 43, something that has been a problem in the past.
The metal building will have brick on three sides and three bays to hold trucks. It will feature an administration building with a meeting area on one side and living quarters and kitchen on the other.
Once construction on the exterior of the building reaches a certain point, firefighters will begin working on the interior.
"We will do a lot of the inside work ourselves," Mansell said. "Our guys are looking forward to working on it and looking forward to getting into it."

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