The Vermilion Firehouse Committee recommended to Vermilion City Council on November 19 a $3.7 million project to construct a new fire station, replacing Station No. 1 on Ohio Street. The new station will be located at Douglas Street and Devon Drive. Vermilion City Council voted to approve the submitted plans.
The current station, No. 1, was built in 1954. At that time fire engines were the size of a large SUV. When the current modern engine is parked in the house, it takes four men to guide it into place with six inches to spare on the left side and three inches in the back. Also, when original engines were called out, they left the bay and headed to the call. The length of the current truck requires a three-stage pull out to get it positioned on the street to begin making its run.
The Vermilion Firehouse Committee examined options, such as buying up residential houses, to create a drive through. It would be costly and compromise the look of historic downtown, according to the Committee. Plus there is no place for drying racks, showers or beds. Even though the department is volunteer, there are times, such as snow storms, when Vermilion Fire Department personnel are required to sleep on station for fast response. Currently they are sleeping on the seats of the engine, the floor, etc.
The Vermilion Firehouse Committee stated the City of Vermilion's fire fund is a permanent levy that has been accumulating funds designated for capital. The City's finance director indicated Vermilion can consider a reasonably priced new station sourced to the fire fund.
The chief’s wish list included everything currently housed at station No. 1 with the addition of a training room, inside drying rack, decontamination station, a few beds, command center, cleaning station and expansion room.
Construction will begin in the summer of 2019 and will take about a year to complete.