Disrict Goes Blazing Into the Future with New Fire Station Property
Plans are in motion to replace the aging No. 3 fire house on Sappington Barracks Road.
After 53 years of housing firefighters, trucks and equipment, the usefulness of Fire Station No. 3 has truly run its course.
"The building was falling a part," according to Mehlville Fire Protection District Chief, Tim White. "[It] was no longer repairable and it was just time to replace it for the community."
Since 1957, the two-bay firehouse on Lindbergh Boulevard at Sappington Barracks Road has protected the Sunset Hills community. The Mehlville District covers 52 square miles, including parts of Sunset Hills. Sunset Hills does not have a separate fire department.
"It is essential to have a safe fire house to accommodate the community. We felt that taxpayers got their use out of that building. With its old age and space limitations, it was time to expand and replace that fire house," White said about the No. 3 House, located at 11625 Sappington Barracks Road.
After the No. 4 fire station was replaced on Teson Ferry Road this year, White said city officials approached the Fire District's board of directors about an upgrade for the No. 3 fire house. They immediately started a search for property to rebuild a new and larger fire house.
Finding a new location was paramount. The existing No. 3 fire house sits on a wedge hemmed in on either side by Sappington Barracks Road and Lindbergh Boulevard, leaving little room for expansion.
A new firehouse needs to be roomier to accommodate the increasingly bigger fire trucks and medical equipment that has become the industry standard.
The Board looked for a replacement property within a quarter mile radius of the existing site. They found one. The new fire house will be located across the street from Lindbergh High School at 4811 Lindbergh Blvd.
"There are a lot of concerns for a fire house in the 21st century," White said.
Chief White pointed to the significant changes over the years since the No. 3 fire house was built. One is the increase in the size of fire equipment and the other is the addition of female firefighters to the departments. He said these create an urgency for a building to accommodate the bigger fire trucks and provide private quarters for all firefighters.
The new fire house would be approximately 8,000 square feet in size, with bays for three engines, instead of two. Firefighters would have individual rooms instead of shared bunk rooms. There will be a basement.
The window for work bids on the project closes next month and the city plans construction beginning in April. They anticipate the completion of the new fire house by the end of 2011 and plan a groundbreaking celebration and open house for residents to take a look.
"In the meantime, the old fire house is still there doing its job," White said. He said the public in general seemed excited about the prospect of a new fire station.
White, a 23-year veteran of the district, said the new fire house promises to be more aesthetically pleasing and believes it will blend in well with the area.