West Bloomfield Township’s Fire Station No. 3 has been completely reconstructed following the demolition of the original building, which was 65 years old.

West Bloomfield Township’s Fire Station No. 3 has been completely reconstructed following the demolition of the original building, which was 65 years old.

Photo provided by West Bloomfield Township


Officials celebrate newly built fire station in West Bloomfield

By: Andy Kozlowski | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published December 5, 2019

 The original station, seen here, had been severely dilapidated, with hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead in the living area, among other issues.

The original station, seen here, had been severely dilapidated, with hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead in the living area, among other issues.

Photo provided by West Bloomfield Township

 The demolition and reconstruction took nearly two years to complete, with the final product offering numerous quality-of-life improvements to the staff of four firefighters there.

The demolition and reconstruction took nearly two years to complete, with the final product offering numerous quality-of-life improvements to the staff of four firefighters there.

Photo provided by West Bloomfield Township

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — It took nearly two years to rebuild, but officials in West Bloomfield say the reconstruction of Fire Station No. 3 was well overdue — and the final product well worth the effort.

The original fire station, located at 3340 Green Lake Road, was around 65 years old, which showed in its deteriorating condition. The last time the station had undergone major renovations was in 1974. It then closed for demolition at the start of 2018, and work began building a replacement.

The completed station opened Oct. 27, with the overall cost of the project totaling $5.5 million — a price tag that includes the purchase of an adjacent home, the design phase, the construction and furnishing of the facilities, and the construction manager fees.

The station spans 11,439 square feet and was built into the grade of the property, with living quarters on the elevated south end and the apparatus bay in the lower section, which helped lower the overall roofline. There are three drive-thru bays and one back-in bay. The floors in the living space are linoleum, while the apparatus bay has a concrete floor.

The original building’s condition had reached a point where knocking it down and starting over was the most sensible and cost-effective approach, said Steven Kaplan, the township supervisor.

“The number of fire station and ambulance runs have increased substantially over the past 30 years as a result of population growth,” Kaplan said. “The living conditions of the 65-year-old former fire building were abysmal. To continue to pour money into the former station would not have been prudent, and would be unfair to the firefighters who reside there over 24-hour periods.”

Fire Station No. 3 is one of six fire stations currently owned and operated by the township. Fire Station No. 9, on Orchard Lake Road, near Commerce Road, provides paramedic and firefighting services to the neighboring communities of Orchard Lake, Sylvan Lake and Keego Harbor, and the northeast end of West Bloomfield. Dispatching services for those other communities are routed through the West Bloomfield Police Department.

West Bloomfield Township Fire Chief Gregory Flynn explained that the original station design was not conducive to the four firefighters on call there.

“The main bathroom and shower area was poorly heated in the winter, and supplemental heat was required to prevent pipes from freezing. The tile was falling, and the grout contained hazardous materials. The heating costs were high — the building was poorly insulated,” Flynn said.

He noted that other hazardous materials, such as asbestos and lead, were found in the living areas.

“A third party assessed the building and assisted the township in moving towards a complete rebuild decision,” Flynn said. “The location of the mechanical and the foundation footprint made demolishing and reconstruction the wisest decision.”

The chief said that the station is “built for the fire service of today and tomorrow,” pointing to the removal of gender-specific locker rooms. Now each firefighter has their own bathroom with a shower, sink and toilet. The new station is also designed to serve as both a living and learning space, featuring a kitchen equipped with technology to facilitate training sessions, for example. The walls of the living area are lined with a hard, protective coating to accommodate training opportunities as well.

Radiant floor heat warms the building, with individual room units to supplement occupied living spaces. And the fitness area is now located away from quiet spaces, so that firefighters who are training or trying to rest and relax won’t be distracted.

“The station was designed to be reliable, durable and functional for decades to come,” Flynn said. “The feedback thus far has been very positive. The firefighters are grateful for the continued support of the community.”

The chief thanked the township board and the community at large for their support of what was a major undertaking. He also thanked the firefighters for providing input during the process, and for helping with the final completion and opening of the station.

The township supervisor said that the people appreciate the Fire Department, which provides rapid response times on paramedic and fire calls, averaging four minutes or less.

“Our residents and staff are deserving of an attractive, full-service fire station — always having four or more personnel at the station — that will endure for at least 50 years,” Kaplan said, adding that the board is “elated the township has constructed a high-quality fire station at a reasonable cost.”

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