BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — A Battle Creek fire station is being closed so engineers can get a better idea of its stability and what work it needs.
The city says that over the years, the flat roof of the 80-year-old Fire Station 4 on 20th Street at W. Territorial Road has sustained damage from the elements. That has led to drainage problems, leaking, standing water and moisture that’s affecting the structure.
“We started having substantial pieces of the interior ceiling collapse in the apparatus bay of Station 4,” said fire Chief Brian Sturdivant. “So, we made a reasonable assumption that it’s just a matter of time before the same level of collapse would take place in the common area of the station.”
Thankfully, Sturdivant says no one has been hurt nor has there been any damage done to vehicles.
Worried about the safety of the firefighters who work there, the city is taking Station 4 out of service on Tuesday, Feb. 1. It’s going to bring in engineers and architects to assess the building and offer recommendations for what to do next. The assessment alone is expected to cost the city $50,000; it’s not yet known how much renovations may cost.
It’s unclear when Station 4 will be ready to reopen.
For now, Station 4’s firefighters and trucks will move into Station 1 on E. Michigan Avenue near Elm Street (generally an administrative building) and Station 6 on Capital Avenue SW north of I-94. Station 6, as well as Station 2 on Washington Avenue at W. Manchester Street, will cover all of the calls for Station 4. Springfield firefighters will also help if needed.
Fire department brass doesn’t expect the shuffle to slow response times.
“Anytime you close a firehouse, of course there will be impacts. But we’re hoping they’re going to be manageable,” Sturdivant said. “As of right now, it’s about collecting the data, analyzing the data as it relates to our response numbers and making decisions moving forward that will best serve the community.”
City Manager Rebecca Fleury says roofing was already approved by the city. But now that the damage forced out the department faster than expected, she says it’s now a waiting game to see if it’s more extensive and expensive.
“We want to make sure that the building is safe for firefighters to be in 24/7, and that’s what we’re investigating now,” Fleury said.
The city said it expects to assess the five other fire stations after Station 4. That will allow it to create a capital improvement plan to maintain them better moving forward.