Walnut Ridge Needs new Fire Station

March 23, 2006 -- Posted at 5:09 p.m. CST


WALNUT RIDGE, AR -- The City of Walnut Ridge is trying to find a way to build a new fire department. 


The current fire department has a lot of problems that have no easy solution.


“The old part of the building was built in the 1930’s.  The bays were added on in the 1950’s, and it became the fire department,” said Fire Chief Roger Duckworth.


The building has its own quirks and idiosyncrasies.


“This building has leaks in the roof.  We have leaks in the floor underneath the bay,” said Duckworth.


Water from the floor gathers in a bucket cemented into the floor.  Firefighters have to drain the bucket 5 or 6 times a day.


“The floor is settling and we’re afraid that we’re going to start having mold problems before too long,” said Duckworth.


In addition to fears of mold, there are other, more pressing fears.


“Due to the fact that we have holes in the roof that are leaking, the roof could come down at any time,” said Duckworth.


“The decking under the shingles is deteriorated to the point that there aren’t any roofers that want to get up there because it's too dangerous,” said Firefighter Wes Lillard.


Other than the structural problems with the building, there just isn't enough room.


“Right now we’ve got two trucks in here, we’ve got two out at the airport, and we’ve also got approximately $250,000 in hazmat equipment that has to sit outside,” said Duckworth.


The door to the fire station is 18 feet wide.  They need at least 24 feet to get both trucks out at the same time.


“We have to take our time.  We can’t get in a hurry because our door is big enough for one truck only,” said Lillard.


Hopefully soon, the problems with space and structure will be a thing of the past.


“We are looking at plans for a fire station that is about 8 thousand square feet. It will give us four bays, sleeping quarters, and living quarters for the firemen,” said Duckworth.


A planning meeting for the new fire station is planned for Thursday, April 4th at Fireman's Hall inside the fire station.