Wrangling that started last year over fire service in North Toledo and debate over the city's oldest firehouse was put to an end today with a ceremonial ground-breaking for renovation of Fire Station No. 3 at Bush and Erie streets.
Mayor Mike Bell and Fire Chief Luis Santiago presided over the ceremony.
The $2.83 million project will add 7,000 square feet of space to the existing station and is expected to be completed by spring, 2014.
“Many of our fire stations were constructed shortly after the turn of the 20th century and they have served the community well,” Mayor Bell said. “By renovating and expanding three’s station we are preserving a piece of Toledo and fire service history while continuing to provide professional emergency services to the North Toledo neighborhood.”
Retired Toledo fire chiefs Carl Neeb and Bill Winkle were also present.
The station opened in July, 1927 and was remodeled in the early 1990’s, MayorBell said.
It was closed in September, 2012 when “significant structural cracks” were found in the floor of the apparatus bay and debris began falling from the ceiling of the basement. The fire trucks and personnel were moved temporarily, but indefinitely, across the Maumee River to Station 13 on Front Street in East Toledo, about a mile away from the firehouse on Bush Street.
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“Our paramount concern in closing the fire station three was ensuring firefighter safety,” Chief Santiago said. “This new facility will enable us to continue service in this neighborhood and ensure that our firefighters have a safe, high quality place to live and work while on their tour.”
The renovation includes updated living quarters and office space and two new apparatus bays built adjacent to the building. Also, the facade of the building will be repaired and replaced in many locations.
Earlier this month, Toledo City Council voted 12-0 to have the city pick up an additional $2.1 million in costs for two projects – the renovation of Fire Station 3 at 701 Bush St. and a new Fire Station 12 at Suder Avenue and Chase Street
Councilman D. Michael Collins said he wanted a professional engineering report of Fire Station 3, the city’s oldest firehouse. Councilman Tom Waniewski said the increase, which raised the total price for the two projects from $4.84 million to $6.94 million, was “very tough to swallow.”