By Lethbridge Herald on March 10, 2020.
Construction on the new Firehall No. 5 of the westside is seeing some progress, as the City works to improve the quality of first responders in Lethbridge.
The new facility is expected to open in early 2021 and will include three drive-through apparatus bays, living quarters, administrative and support services space, as well as areas for training. Greg Adair, Deputy Fire Chief with Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services, says since the population on the westside has grown since the only firehall on that side of town was built, the need for more emergency services will be met with this new hall.
“Currently the City of Lethbridge has four fire stations located throughout the city, three of those are of course located on the east side of the city, while one is located on the westside, and that station, Fire Station No. 2, was built in 1980 and at that time we had about 4,000 residents living on the west side of Lethbridge,” says Adair. “We have done some review with our Service Master Plan that has identified the need for an additional firehall, so now we are building Fire Station No. 5 which we are really excited to be building because now on the westside we are nearing 40,000 people, so it is time for an additional firehall.”
Construction had a late start last fall, with winter and other weather conditions slowing down the process, but with a break from the cold, crews have managed to erect the steel frame, and now they’re waiting for the panel walls to be made. Facility Services Project manager for the City of Lethbridge, Jace Adams, says the facility is designed to be flexible for the size of equipment they are able to take on.
“We had a late fall start and we have been fighting through the weather, so we have gotten to the end of the steel frame construction which is a major milestone for us. Now we are basically waiting for the precast panel system to show up on site. It is being fabricated in an off-site facility and in a couple of weeks it should be coming to the site and you should see a lot of progress real quick,” says Adams. “The building is 1,235 square metres which is a 20-per-cent increase over the current westside fire station. This has bays that are designed to handle the largest firetruck in the fleet, so it gives them a lot of flexibility on this site so pretty much any firetruck in their fleet can go in this building.”
Keeping firefighter safety in mind, Adams and the project’s team were in discussion with the fire department to make sure the health and safety needs are met to keep them safer and healthier longer. Adair says the design of the building helps separate the firefighters from toxic equipment while spending time at the firehall.
“The firehall is a purposefully built firehall with firefighter safety in mind,” says Adair. “When I talk about firefighter safety what we know is that it is a very dangerous occupation and cancer is a very real concern for our firefighters, so when we built this firehall, we built it with that in mind to try and help protect our firefighters. What we did by doing that is we have a clean side and a dirty side of the firehall, so the living quarters is the clean side of the firehall where our people will reside and have their meetings and training. Where the firefighting equipment and apparatuses will stay is on the dirty side of the firehall, not that it will be dirty over there, it will also be clean, but we try to separate that just for our firefighters’ safety.”
Firehall No.5 is located on the extension of Macleod Drive West and is strategically placed south of the current fire station in order to meet the needs of the growing neighbourhoods of Sun Ridge and the Canyons. The firehall will host four to five firefighters 24/7 to additional firefighting and emergency response resources.