Our 80-year-old Fire Station 4 will close temporarily so that we can bring in experts to assess the building and improve its safety for our crews.
Station 4’s flat roofs have taken on significant damage from rain and snow over time. This has led to drainage issues, water leaks, standing water, and a lot of moisture in the building that has started to deteriorate its structure. To make sure our crews are safe at work, we must move them from Station 4 and determine next steps there.
The Fire Department’s plans to continue serving the city include responding to calls from Station 1 on East Michigan Avenue – the current administrative station that houses crews when we need it to. Station 4 crews and vehicles will move to Station 1 and Station 6 (Capital Avenue SW) during Station 4’s closure.
Knowing 70 percent of our calls are for medical needs, and not fires, the department will cover those calls in Station 4’s area with crews from Station 2 (Washington Avenue) and Station 6.
“We do anticipate an impact to the response time for fire calls,” said Fire Chief Brian Sturdivant. “However, that is not outside the norm. If Station 4 was still operating, and Rescue 4 was on another call, we would still have the same level of response with trucks from other stations.”
The City of Springfield – located right in Station 4’s area – has mutual aid with Battle Creek for fire and rescue services, and will be able to assist if needed. The city also has mutual aid agreements with fire service in Bedford, Emmett, and Pennfield townships, and with the VA for the Fort Custer corridor.
We expect to close Station 4 by next Tuesday, Feb. 1. Then engineering and architectural firms WJE and Wightman will assess the building, giving the city options for renovations and rebuilding. The cost of these assessments is estimated at $50,000.
We don’t know yet when Station 4 will reopen.
“This will be monitored very closely,” Sturdivant said. “We feel reasonably confident in the transition, especially with our mutual aid in place, and because we will blanket Station 4’s area with double coverage. This will be manageable during this temporary transition.”
In addition, moving some of the fire vehicles will improve the department’s response in other ways. Truck 6, our large ladder truck, will move to Station 1, closer to the high-rise buildings downtown where it would be most needed. Rescue 4 carries 1,000 gallons of water, and will move to Station 6; it will help more on the south side of the city, where we have challenges hooking to the water grid.
Station 4 was built in the 1940s. It became part of the city’s Fire Department when Battle Creek Township merged with the city in the early 1980s.
Once we have options for Station 4, we will use a similar assessment process on the city’s five other fire stations – including Stations 2 and 3, both over 100 years old. We will use assessments of their condition to develop a capital improvement plan that we can address each year, and manage the maintenance of these important facilities as much as possible.