Lacy, who once served as the fire chief and now serves as the department's safety officer, said the rebuilding process has been a long road, but nearly two years after the tornado and its 140 mph winds destroyed eight homes in the area, the fire department is nearing completion of the station.
"While the storm was tragic, it's been a blessing," said
The elder Lacy said the new station has 6,500 square feet, about 100 more square feet than the former site. It has higher ceilings and three drive-through bays.
"We no longer have to back up our trucks into the bays, which makes it a lot safer for everybody here," he said. The bay doors are now 14 feet wide and 14 feet in height, replacing the 12-foot doors in the old building.
He said the department owns five vehicles and will park a 1993 GMC E-1 and 2012 International E-1 fire engines in the rebuilt station.
Lacy said the new station should be completed within six weeks with a paved parking lot.
"We're getting some furniture in here, and we've closed out the financial deals already," he said. "Completion has been a little slower than we wanted, but last winter was a difficult time to try to build something."
Lacy said the fire station will use electricity and natural gas. He said a generator will start about 15 seconds after electrical power goes out.
The new station includes a slightly larger meeting room, a kitchen, work room, chief's office and American with Disabilities Act-compliant restrooms with two stalls and a vanity.
He said the department's insurance company picked up about
He said the department sought input from community residents on colors and styles in the station. "The station belongs to the people," he said. "We're simply the caretakers of the building."
He said the 14-foot glass doors on the front of the fire station will require a little more maintenance than the solid doors of the former station.
"There'll be more cleanup and more maintenance on this new station," he said "That's on all of us. But it'll be worth it."
He said the new building is built to withstand 120 mph winds. "The old building was built for 90 mph winds," he said.
Lacy said the department receives about
While the fire station was being rebuilt, Lacy said fire station No. 2 about 2 1/2 miles away on
"There are four other stations within 5 miles of this station," Lacy said about departments in
Lacy said there are plans for a helicopter landing zone to be erected behind the station.
"We've got to finish paving around the building before we're going to work on that," he said.
Lacy said the department has about 25 active members who meet regularly for training sessions and department updates. "The meeting room will have a large screen projector in the ceiling that will help with our training," Lacy said.
After the tornado damaged the fire station, which is a polling site for elections, the Morgan County Probate Office moved the voting process to the
"Presently, there are no scheduled elections for 2019," she said. "This will give our office time to meet with the church and fire department to determine if we are going to move the polling site back to the station or keep it at the church."
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