Truro Township representatives gathered Monday, April 9, for the official groundbreaking for what will be a new fire station on East Main Street in Reynoldsburg.

Work at the site has been ongoing since January when the old Truro Township Fire Station 161 was torn down. Palmetto Construction will build a new station in its place at 6900 E. Main St., made possible by a 2.5-mill levy approved in November 2016 that is expected to generate about $1.1 million per year in additional revenue.

Township Administrator Jason Nicodemus said the fire department serves 38,000 people in Truro Township, the city of Reynoldsburg and the village of Brice.

"We are all very excited for our new fire station," township trustee Pat Mahaffey said. "It's a long-needed update for the safety of our firefighters. The new building and safety features will help us better serve everyone in our jurisdiction."

Designed by architects from Moody Nolan, the 16,417-square-foot building is expected to take about nine months to complete at an estimated cost of $3.7 million plus demolition costs and architect fees.

At 15,000 square feet, the old fire station was considered the largest in central Ohio when it opened in 1975 in a remodeled J-Mart retail store.

The old building lacked modern safety features, however, such as a separate space for turnout gear -- the equipment firefighters wear to fire scenes -- and adequate ventilation, fire Chief Steve Hein said.

"The new station will have protection for fire gear -- it will be stored in a separate room that will be ventilated," he said. "It will also have an exhaust-removal system to minimize diesel fumes and a separate area for decontamination equipment."

With three bays and living quarters for nine to 11 firefighters per shift, the new station also will feature updated technology for computers and alerting systems and a modern sprinkler system for fire protection.

Other amenities will include a training room of about 712 square feet that can be used for public meetings and education space and administrative offices that take up about 728 square feet.

Hein said the Truro Township Fire Department has 43 full-time and 20 part-time employees. Since the old building was razed, employees normally housed there have been assigned to work out of Station 162, built in 2007 at 6305 E. Livingston Ave.

"We had to build another bunk room for the additional folks," Hein said.

He said the Livingston station normally has between six and eight personnel assigned per shift.

"With the nod from the taxpayers, we can now turn this site into a fire station that they will be proud of," Trustee Dennis Nicodemus said. "Our firefighters and paramedics will have a livable and workable building to serve the Truro Township and Reynoldsburg residents."

Trustee Stephanie McCloud said the new fire station is "designed to maximize Truro's service to the community."

"This is a tangible testimony of our first responders' dedication to maintaining the safety and well-being of our citizens," she said.

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