Apparatus bays complete, station demo planned in Macomb Township

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published February 5, 2020

 Macomb Township Firefighter Sgt. Ryan Gierman stands next to an SCBA refill machine inside the new apparatus bays. It’s expected that all operations will be conducted out of the new bays on 23 Mile Road this week.

Macomb Township Firefighter Sgt. Ryan Gierman stands next to an SCBA refill machine inside the new apparatus bays. It’s expected that all operations will be conducted out of the new bays on 23 Mile Road this week.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 The Macomb Township Fire Department began moving into newly constructed apparatus bays the week of Jan. 28.

The Macomb Township Fire Department began moving into newly constructed apparatus bays the week of Jan. 28.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 Fire Station No. 1, which will be demolished later this month.

Fire Station No. 1, which will be demolished later this month.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Construction for a new public safety building is right on track.

On Jan. 28, the Macomb Township Fire Department began moving into newly constructed apparatus bays.

The move entailed taking everything out of Fire Station No. 1, located on 23 Mile Road, east of Romeo Plank Road, and transferring it into the bays, which are connected to the station. That station opened in 1952.

Construction began on the roughly 9,000-square- foot apparatus bays in August, wrapping up in January.

Macomb Township Fire Chief Robert Phillips anticipated that all operations would be conducted out of the apparatus bays the week of Feb. 3, after press time.

The apparatus bays have five drive-through bays and also include a work room, compressor room, hose storage room, turnout gear room, decontamination room, medical supply room and laundry room.

The project at the 37,000-square-foot Joseph E. Koss Public Safety Building calls for an update of the existing fire station, as well as creating more space for the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office, which formerly operated out of a substation on the property. The substation was demolished in December 2018, and deputies are temporarily operating out of the broadcast media center on Alma Drive.

The building will also include space for 14 Sheriff’s Office vehicles, offices for both fire and police personnel, shared break rooms and kitchens, and locker rooms for firefighters and deputies.

The Sheriff’s Office garage, which is around 8,200 square feet, is located directly north of the apparatus bays and is under construction.

The estimated completion date for the public safety building is late October 2020.

Project construction is happening in two phases. The first phase, which is finished, consisted of demolition of the substation and building of the fire apparatus bays.

The second phase will see the demolition of the current fire station commence in mid-to-late February, followed by the building of the administration offices and the Sheriff’s Office garage. Offices will be constructed where the fire station currently stands.

Firefighter staffing will remain unchanged, with administrative functions moving to this location from Fire Station No. 4, on 25 Mile Road.

Currently, three full-time and 15 paid-on-call firefighters are assigned to Station No. 1.

The amenities of the new public safety building will be quite different from what the township has now at the station.

The current station has a room that functions as a day room, training area, living quarters and office space, all in one. Remnants of diesel exhaust can be seen on the walls next to the current fire garage.

“For this area, it’s unique that both the Sheriff’s Office and the Fire Department will operate out of the same building, but independently,” Phillips said.

When asked how having the new public safety building and apparatus bays makes the department operate more efficiently, Phillips said it allows them to have the apparatus at the correct spot.

“Right now, the ladder truck is at Station No. 2 because it won’t fit here,” he said. “It allows us to have it in the center of the township, which helps with the insurance rating for the township.”

Additionally, Phillips said that from a health standpoint, the new bays eliminate exposing firefighters to vehicle exhaust.

“It’s state of the art here with the vehicle exhaust removal system,” he said. “When everything is new, it shows the board provides us the best equipment, facilities, and we have the best firefighters.”

Macomb Township Firefighter Sgt. Dave Nowak said the current facility is way overdue, and the new building allows for more space and can serve residents for the foreseeable future.

“Macomb Township is growing exponentially, and we have room to almost double our population,” he said. “We can bring equipment we have elsewhere and bring it here. I think we’ll have a better response with a larger apparatus.”

Simultaneously to when the bays were constructed, work crews constructed the shell for the Sheriff’s Office garage, which is to be completed by the summer.   

Prior to work on the public safety building, the most recent Fire Department building projects came in 2005 and 2006, when Station No. 3 and Station No. 4 were built.

In 2018, a contract was awarded to Bernco Inc. in the amount of $11,068,000 for the construction of the public safety building.

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