Clanton’s third fire station nears completion

Published 5:14 pm Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Clanton Fire Station No. 3 is located near Interstate 65 Exit 212, in the shadow of the peach water tower.

Clanton Fire Station No. 3 is located near Interstate 65 Exit 212, in the shadow of the peach water tower.

Clanton’s third fire station should be completed in the coming days.

While undoubtedly excited for Clanton Fire Department, the addition of a station has forced Chief David Driver to make decisions about personnel and equipment.

Station No. 3, located near Interstate 65 Exit 212 and the peach water tower, has a 9,000-square-feet footprint, making it slightly smaller than Station No. 2 and its 12,000 square feet. Much of the difference can be attributed to Station 2’s larger bay, which can hold three fire engines side-by-side, whereas Station 3 is two-wide.

Station 2 is located in South Clanton, off Highway 31.

The architecture is similar at the two newest fire stations, but there are several differences between them.

Driver gave the project’s architects input about how he wanted the station arranged. So, the station’s “living area” is all contained on one side of the station, while the other side is reserved for mechanical areas.

“They pretty much went with my ideas,” Driver said.

The living area features a “watch office” (where phones and radios will be located), patio area, kitchen and dining area, locker room, male and female dorms, and a workout room.

The locker room, where turnout gear will be stored, funnels firefighters out to the bay, possibly saving valuable seconds during an emergency.

“You never know when those seconds are going to be important,” Driver said.

The male dorm will accommodate eight people, while the female dorm will accommodate two. There are also separate restrooms and showers for males and females.

The dorms are the same size as at Station 2 and larger than Station 1, which could accommodate six people and does not have separate quarters for females.

Driver is the department’s only full-time employee, but the dorms would be used if the department ever transitioned to a full-time staff. The dorms are also used in situations that require firefighters to be on-call overnight, such as the snowstorm in 1993.

The department is comprised of 22 firefighters, including Driver.

Station 3's bay can accommodate four regular-sized fire engines.

Station 3’s bay can accommodate four regular-sized fire engines.

Station 3’s bay is large enough to fit four regular size engines.

The department has three engines, one ladder truck, two rescue units (smaller than a standard fire engine) and one truck used to combat grass fires.

Driver said it makes sense to have one engine at each station, and the ladder truck located at Station 1 in downtown Clanton.

That arrangment would mean one “Advanced Life Support Unit” at each station. In the past, with two life support units at Station 1, the unit at Station 2 might not have gotten used as much. That will no longer be the case.

“We’re going to have to use these outlying stations a lot more,” Driver said.

The chief will also have to reconfigure the department’s schedule to include work days at Station 3. While there are firefighters on call at any given time, set schedules (where firefighters are at the stations) are only made for 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Station 3 will also feature a large storage room with a roll-up door, a pull-around drive and a draft pit to test the water pumps on the fire trucks.

Driver said firefighters previously drove the engines about an hour to Wetumpka to have the pumps tested.

Work started on the station on July 9, 2012. A ribbon cutting is scheduled for 11 a.m. on July 6, but Driver said he expects work to be completed before then because landscaping accounts for most of the work yet to be done.

“I am very well pleased with it,” he said.