By Melinda Baird, firstname.lastname@example.org
Three years after voters passed a millage to fund construction of a new fire substation, Dexter firefighters are officially taking emergency calls from the brand-new $2 million facility located at 12154 North Territorial Road.
Dexter Township received the certificate of occupancy February 18 and officially signed a lease over to the Dexter Area Fire Department (DAFD) that same day.
Township Supervisor Harley Rider with Fire Chief Robert Smith led DAFD board members and personnel on a tour through the 9,348 square foot building (known as Station Two) before settling into the new conference room for an inaugural board meeting.
Captain Don Dettling summarized the sentiments of fire department personnel in two words:
“Extremely pleased,” he said.
Smith pointed to the clustered design of the building, meaning the structure is divided into two main halves in order to hasten response time and contain contamination. One half consists of an impressive three-bay garage for trucks, a mezzanine for storage and fitness equipment, and a decontamination/laundry area. The second half consists of a watch room and training/polling room as well as living quarters consisting of a day room, kitchenette, two bunk rooms, and separate male and female restrooms/locker rooms.
According to National Fire Protection standards, firefighters should ideally arrive at a scene within four minutes of an alarm being sounded. Station Two’s design allows a firefighter to get from a bed, shower, or any other location in the building to a fire apparatus within 60 seconds, Smith said.
That’s a far cry from the cramped, cold trailer out of which firefighters have been operating the past five years. Accessing the trucks from the trailer involved descending a flight of stairs, going outside and unlocking a door.
“This is great,” Firefighter Michael Grissom said of the new digs. “It’s a nice, clean building with room to move and easy access to the trucks.”
“Now we have space to do training with other departments and for our residents to vote,” Firefighter Nick Garcia said.
The structure was built with an eye fifty years out, Rider said. Although one person will be stationed at the new location, it was designed with the capacity to expand internally to accommodate four to six firefighters if needed.
With the City of Dexter actively researching whether to renovate or newly build an updated main station and Webster Township readying itself to seek bids on new substation construction, Station Two may help the two municipalities avert mistakes as they become apparent.
“We’re the guinea pig,” Rider said.
Finally, Rider credited construction manager Tom Arehart with the project’s successful completion.
“Tom has been a tremendously valuable asset in making this whole thing happen,” Rider said.
The temporary trailer on Multi-Lakes Water & Sewer Authority property was erected in 2010 after a nine-member Public Safety Advisory Committee provided the township board with research supporting a need to improve emergency response times within the township. The committee later urged the board to construct a permanent substation. Voters in November 2012 approved a levy of up to one mill through 2018 for that purpose.