Thursday, July 13, 2000

Station improves emergency service, curbs road hazard

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FAIRFIELD — Fire protection aside, the opening of the city's new fire station on Dixie Highway will have a side benefit: better traffic flow.

        With the new brick and glass station in operation, firefighters no longer will have to stop traffic on bustling Ohio 4 to back their trucks into the building. Road sensors and a rear service drive that links to Boymel Drive will allow firefighters and the public easier access to the station.

        “It just was a very haz ardous situation,” said Donald Bennett, fire chief of nearly 17 years.

        The $1.3 million, 11,450-square-foot facility, to be dedicated this weekend, also will help fire officials meet the needs of this growing community.

        “It puts a state-of-the-art station in one of the most needed neighborhoods in town because, as you know, the population density in that end of town is eight units per acre,” said Councilman Sterling Uhler. “This is a stylish-looking building. The other station was just sort of functional, too close to the highway and not big enough. We outgrew it almost the day it was built.”

        The new station has bigger bays, four offices, a public meeting room, combination kitchen/day room, sleeping quarters for firefighters and a workout room. It is set back about 100 feet off Dixie Highway (Ohio 4), just south of Boymel Drive.

        The design and size of the old station were problematic. The 8,000-square-foot station, built in 1954 and remodeled 16 years later, was demolished in May.

        “The design of the old firehouse did not reflect the needs of a fire department that operated 24 hours a day,” Chief Bennett said, adding that some areas had to be converted into sleeping quarters.

        The amount of storage space for fire apparatus has doubled to about 4,800 square feet. Seven firefighters and paramedics per shift will work at the new building.

        An open house and dedication ceremony will be 1-4 p.m. Saturday, with the dedication beginning at 2:30 p.m. Tours of the station, 6540 Dixie Highway, will be offered.

        Sue Kiesewetter contributed to this report.


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