Wet weather and delays in getting materials have pushed back the opening of Truro Township's new fire station by about three months.
Station 161 was expected to open this month at 6900 E. Main St., but that date has been moved to April, fire Chief Jeff Sharps said.
The administration side of the 16,417-square-foot building is under roof but the apparatus bay that will eventually house fire trucks and ambulances has not yet been topped off, he said.
"Mother Nature has not been very nice to us, and there was a delay with the steel frame that goes over the bay doors," Sharps said.
When finished, Station 161 will have three bays and living quarters for up to 11 firefighters per shift, a training room and more than 700 square feet of administrative offices.
Its most impressive features will be technology and safety improvements, Sharps said.
A ventilation system will remove vehicle exhaust and a decontamination room will allow equipment to be cleaned properly and put back into service more quickly, he said.
"Now we're going to be able to keep the turnout gear in a pressurized room," Sharps said. "It will be close to the trucks but protected from exhaust and chemicals that can accumulate on the gear before we even get to a fire.
"We're going to have a new system where status boards throughout the building will light up and the firefighters can visually see there's a run coming in, a lot of times before the speaker comes on to announce it."
The new Station 161 replaces an old building that started its life as a retail store that was retrofitted in the mid-1970s to serve as a firehouse.
"It was a J-Mart (store) built in 1965 and the fire department moved in in 1975," Sharps said.
He said the new station will have an effect on response times.
"This has been designed as a fire station so the bunk rooms, the hallways, the kitchen -- it's all designed to allow them to rapidly respond," he said. "The only place we can make up time is how fast we can get to our trucks and get on the road and this fire station is going to be designed with that in mind."
When the old station 161 was demolished last January, the department moved much of its office and fitness equipment to a rented storage space but it's not as easy to find room for an extra fire truck or two.
The personnel and most of the equipment assigned to Station 161 were moved to Station 162 on East Livingston Avenue while construction continues on the new facility. However, Truro turned to neighboring departments, including the West Licking Joint Fire District and Violet Township, which opened a new, $6 million station in May, for help with temporary storage of some larger pieces of equipment.
Mike Little, Violet Township's fire chief, said his department was just returning a favor -- Truro Township provided storage for some equipment when Violet Township's new facility was being built.
"The equipment can't sit outside in cold weather because the pumps will freeze and the medications (in the ambulance) can freeze," Little said. "They have to be connected to a shoreline -- like an extension cord -- because there's items on the trucks that have to be charged.
"You might have a truck at one station and one at another station," he said. "We got a double-wide trailer (for personnel) and we put it up at our township maintenance facility and we used two of the garage spaces there for our engine and our medic."
Palmetto Construction is building the station, 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.
Sharps said Station 161 will be worth the wait.
"This is going to be a station that is on Main Street, and it's going to be something the community can be proud of," he said.
The Truro Township fire department serves about 38,000 people in Truro Township, the city of Reynoldsburg and the village of Brice.
The department had 7,793 runs in 2017, according to fire department records. Of those, 6,767 were for emergency services and 1,026 were fire runs.