In the future, Fire Station No. 2 will house a fully staffed ladder truck.

In the future, Fire Station No. 2 will house a fully staffed ladder truck.

Photo by Andy Kozlowski

Renovations complete at Madison Heights Fire Station No. 2

Improvements include private spaces for male and female firefighters

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison-Park News | Published August 24, 2023

 Madison Heights Mayor Roslyn Grafstein cuts the ribbon Aug. 21 for the renovated Fire Station No. 2, on John R Road south of  11 Mile Road. She is flanked by City Council members Sean Fleming, left, Toya Aaron and Quinn Wright.

Madison Heights Mayor Roslyn Grafstein cuts the ribbon Aug. 21 for the renovated Fire Station No. 2, on John R Road south of 11 Mile Road. She is flanked by City Council members Sean Fleming, left, Toya Aaron and Quinn Wright.

Photo by Andy Kozlowski


MADISON HEIGHTS — Officials cut the ribbon on the newly renovated Fire Station No. 2 in Madison Heights Aug. 21. The multimillion-dollar project includes a longer driveway for engines leaving the station, private spaces for male and female firefighters, and other features such as a new and improved gym. It will also one day house a fully staffed ladder truck.    

The station is located at 26339 John R Road, near Wilkinson Middle School, south of 11 Mile Road. Guests and staff mingled in the garage the day of the dedication, admiring the gleaming red trucks. The bay is bright and airy now, thanks to the plentiful windows that were added.

The work was part of a larger $14.2 million project that included the downsizing of City Hall, renovations at the library next door, and the construction of a new Active Adult Center between them. Those three buildings are located at the Civic Center Plaza on 13 Mile Road west of John R. Station No. 2 was the only building located off campus.

Together, the work at the station and plaza represents the largest capital improvement project in the history of Madison Heights. By itself, the fire station cost $2.8 million to renovate. Proposal MH — a millage rate increase that voters narrowly approved in 2019 — helped fund the project, as did federal monies from the American Rescue Plan.

“This renovation solidifies the city’s commitment to the safety of all those that live, work or visit Madison Heights,” said Mayor Roslyn Grafstein, during a dedication speech in front of the garage. “Because without strong public safety services, nothing else really matters.”

Speaking in an office after the event, Fire Chief Greg Lelito explained that the original plan was to demolish the station and construct a new two-story building with a pull-through drive. Those talks began in 2021. However, the plan was too pricey, with costs skyrocketing due to inflation.

Instead, the city opted for a partial tear down and renovation. The station closed last fall and reopened in July. At press time, minor cosmetic fixes were still being applied.    

The chief said that the original Station No. 2 was uncomfortably close to traffic.

“With the old design, when we pulled out of base, our front bumper was basically on John R, so we had no room to check the truck. The apparatus came right out into the walkway. When we responded to emergency calls, there were several occasions where residents were riding by, and we had close calls with the truck coming out,” Lelito said.

“With the new design, we were able to push the station all the way back to the alley. We have a lot more space. We can pull the apparatus all the way out, and we’re not right on the road,” he said. “The only disadvantage is we no longer have a pull-through fire station, so the trucks have to back in. But it doesn’t affect our response times — it’s just a minor adjustment for us. It’s something that many fire stations already deal with across the country.”

In 2025, one of the vehicles exiting the station will be a new ladder truck. The City Council approved its purchase for $1.3 million in June. Also called a quint, the truck has the same features as a fire engine, but with the addition of a 75-foot-tall ladder for reaching high places and attacking fires from different angles.

The city currently has a ladder truck at Station No. 1, located at Civic Center Plaza. That truck is almost 25 years old. When the new truck arrives, the city will fully staff it at Station No. 2. The new truck will always be deployed first, with the original truck serving as backup, reducing wear and tear on the old truck and extending its life.

The renovated station also features private showers and living quarters.

“The original fire station was not built for female firefighters. It was built for male firefighters. But times have changed, and we are hiring women. The new station accommodates both genders,” Lelito said. “Each bathroom has its own shower. Dorm rooms are all private. The only common space is the locker room. If our firefighters need to change, they can get their clothing from their locker and return to their private room and change there.”

The station also has a new gym. Two years ago, the city received a $100,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which paid for new workout equipment at both stations. With the renovations at Station No. 2, there’s more room to accommodate them.

“I am so pleased,” Lelito concluded. “Picture when you’re building a house. There’s a lot of tedious stuff — a lot of decision making. Every single week, from the day we started to today, we met with our general contractor and architect. It was a lot of work, but the end product is incredible, and I am just so proud — proud of our firefighters, and our residents. We can all take pride in this facility.”

Prior to the dedication, Sean Fleming and Quinn Wright, both members of the City Council, were touring the garage. They said the project will have an impact.

“With the new workout facility, the firefighters can stay healthier,” Fleming said. “It’s also much safer now, how the station approaches the street. Just great improvements all around.”

“I was very proud to support this initiative,” Wright added. “I think the residents are going to see an immediate benefit. The new layout will allow the officers to have a faster response time. There are better facilities for both our fire men and fire women, which I think is great for them, and will improve the service they provide. Folks on both ends of town will benefit from this.”

Toya Aaron, another member of the council, was also at the event.

“When it was first brought to City Council, many people were apprehensive about the amount of work that would have to be done. At first, all you have is the blueprint. But I believe that everything has come together so well,” Aaron said.

“It’s wonderful, the restrooms for both men and women. And the kitchen is just phenomenal — I even suggested cooking them Thanksgiving dinner, I love the kitchen so much. And then there’s the workout equipment, and more room for them all to stretch out and relax — they’re no longer stacked on top of one another,” she said. “Seeing the joy on the firefighters’ faces, knowing they have a new residency they can call home, it’s just wonderful.”