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New $7.3-million fire hall under construction

Published on

Cathy Dobson

Sarnia’s new Colborne Road fire hall is taking shape on time and on budget, says Fire Chief Bryan Van Gaver.

“The building should be closed in by Christmas with completion by late spring or early summer,” he said.

In February, city council approved the replacement of Station #3 at the corner of Colborne and Michigan Avenue, which serves Sarnia’s north end, the downtown core, Sandy Lane and several nursing homes.

The decision was a long time coming as the current Station #3 is more than  70 years old and can’t accommodate the large fire engines needed to fight highrise fires today. It also has no space to decontaminate clothing and equipment and lacks separate washrooms for men and women.

Despite the station’s shortcomings, the four firefighters who man it 24/7 respond to nearly 800 calls a year.

Fire officials began making the case to replace it 10 years ago. When the green light was finally given this year, the fire chief said he was relieved.

The new station will have 8,500 square feet of space – 70% larger than the current one – and two bays instead of one. It is going up west of the existing station, with space for trucks to leave on Colborne and return on Michigan Avenue.

The $7.3-million contract was awarded to Quad Pro Construction Inc. headquartered in Concord. The contractor is using a mix of local tradespeople and out-of-towners, Chief Van Gaver said.

Artist’s conceptual drawing of Sarnia’s new $7.3-million firehall.

The cement block work is nearly complete. In November, wooden construction will begin and the look of the new station will “soften,” he said.

Early on in the project, old footings were found during excavation work and needed to be removed. “We’ve no idea what it was,” Van Gaver said.

Despite the small setback, the construction schedule is being met.

And, in an effort to avoid supply chain interruptions brought on by Covid-19, orders for specialized equipment went in early, the chief added.

Items such as the extractor machines to clean bunker gear are expected to be delivered shortly and will be stored until it’s time to install them, he said.

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