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No. 2 Fire Station needs work, repairs

By Staff
FIRE STATION NO. 2 The firefighter's bedroom at 902 Grand Ave. has peeling paint, cracked floors and World War II cots with plyboard supporting the mattresses. Photo by Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
Aug. 21, 2001
While city leaders shave expenses from next year's budget, firefighters at Meridian's No. 2 Fire Station wait for a $3 tube of caulk to stop a leaking shower.
Capt. Joe Collins, who works the A Shift at No. 2 Fire Station at St. Charles Street and Grand Avenue, said the station hasn't received a new coat of interior and exterior paint in years. A chair in the den area broke last week, the concrete floor is cracked and the shower leaks into an adjoining wooden cabinet.
Fire Chief Bunky Partridge said improvements are funded from his department's operation and maintenance budget or its capital improvements budget depending on the amount of money needed and how much labor and expertise the city can lend.
A proposed city budget for the 2002 fiscal year that starts Oct. 1 would give the fire department $4.7 million. Partridge said the money would include $10,000 for operation and maintenance and $20,000 for capital improvements such as machinery and equipment.
New budget
Meridian City Councilmen must approve a new city budget before the start of the next fiscal year. Partridge said he spoke with Mayor John Robert Smith on Monday morning about the No. 2 Fire Station.
Partridge said that fire stations are in overall good condition, but city leaders have been "holding off" trying to do anything with No. 2 because it needs to be relocated.
Firefighters do their part in building maintenance and landscaping he said.
Many problems
Collins said everything at No. 2 is working except the garage door opener, which must be opened and closed manually. An old broom handle holds the battered metal door open. But, he said, "everything is in a general state of disrepair."
Collins said the kitchen is "run down," but the appliances work. They got a new stove last year, he said, and one of the firefighters keeps the refrigerator working.
The bedroom and locker room have central air, but a window unit in the living room is so loud that Collins said he has often wondered "just how loud it is against (federal) standards."
New station
A new, $3 million No. 1 Fire Station was completed last year.
Partridge said the old No. 1 was replaced because it housed more firefighters than the other stations, it was one of the oldest buildings, and its floors caved-in from the weight of the trucks. He said the station had a creek running below it that was caving in a corner of the building.
The station needs a better location, he said, for better access to the interstate, downtown Meridian and industrial parks.
Partridge, who said he isn't a contractor or architect, estimated a new No. 2 fire station would cost less than $500,000 to build.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at @themeridianstar.com.