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Published: Tuesday, 4/13/2010

New Sylvania fire station expected to open ahead of schedule

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Standing before the Sylvania Township fire department's new pumper and aerial ladder trucks are, from left, firefighter/paramedics Doug Born, Patrick Miller, Lt. Mike Ramm, Assistant Chief Jeff Kowalski, Dean Boyers, Tim Osborn, Darrell Elliott, and Lt. Steve Steinmetz. Standing before the Sylvania Township fire department's new pumper and aerial ladder trucks are, from left, firefighter/paramedics Doug Born, Patrick Miller, Lt. Mike Ramm, Assistant Chief Jeff Kowalski, Dean Boyers, Tim Osborn, Darrell Elliott, and Lt. Steve Steinmetz.
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The first of three new fire stations to be built in Sylvania is now expected to open about a month ahead of schedule.

"We're hoping to move in around May 1," Assistant Chief Jeff Kowalski, of the Sylvania Township Fire Department, said Friday. "They're talking about everything being complete. There's a lot of paving and concrete work going on right now, and painting and installing lockers."

Harp Contractors Inc. of Northwood broke ground in October for the $1.4 million firehouse at Haddon and Whiteford roads, just north on Whiteford from the existing Station No. 3.

Its construction is part of a program that includes replacing Station Nos. 1 and 2, renovating Station No. 4, and buying four new fire trucks - all funded by a 1.25-mill levy fire district voters approved in 2008. The fire department covers both the township and the city.

Two of the four new trucks - a pumper and a tractor-drawn aerial-ladder truck - were put on exhibit for township officials last week at the township hall, then moved to temporary quarters at Station No. 4 for training purposes.

The aerial ladder's permanent home will be the new Station No. 3, once training is completed, Chief Kowalski said. The existing firehouse is too small to house such a large truck.

With a price of $800,000, the aerial ladder has attracted some criticism about being too expensive and more fire truck than Sylvania Township needs. But Chief Kowalski said its design makes it able to get closer to burning buildings on the smaller building lots that are prevalent in the older parts of the township and the city.

The department's aerial bucket truck will go to Station No. 4 once the new rig moves into Station No. 3, the chief said.

The three new pumpers cost a combined $1.2 million.

Besides being big enough to house the new ladder truck, Station No. 3 will have several Earth-friendly features, including geothermal heating and cooling, solar panels on its roof, and concrete aprons through which rainwater can seep to the ground rather than run off into drains.

Chief Kowalski said he wasn't sure what would be done with existing Station No. 3 once the new one opens. "I don't think the building has much potential re-use," he said, noting that it has underground fuel-storage tanks that must be removed.

Once the fire department moves, the chief said, "we'll see about what offers we get for the old building."

Replacements for the other two firehouses remain to be built. The department bought land late last year at 3004 and 2920 North McCord Rd. for a new Station No. 2. A committee jointly organized by the city and township, meanwhile, continues to review possible sites on which to build a replacement for Station No. 1, now on Monroe Street in downtown Sylvania.



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