Tribune-Courier News Editor
AURORA — The Aurora-Ross Volunteer Fire Department built its new headquarters with the community in mind.
Fire Chief Ricky Sirls said the new building was designed to accommodate volunteers and evacuees in the event of another disaster like the 2009 ice storm. It boasts a large, full-service kitchen, separate dormitories and restrooms for firefighters and volunteers or evacuees, a generator. Additional evacuees may be housed in the headquarters’ meeting and training room, if needed.
“In the event of something like the ice storm, we’ll have ample space to house several people and accommodate the public,” Sirls said. “Our meeting area will be available for community events, too.”
Firefighters will also enjoy five dormitory rooms with showers. While all female firefighters on Sirls’ 26-person roster are married to male firefighters on the department, the chief said he could designate one or more of the dormitory rooms for females, if needed. Each room has two bunks, and firefighters will have access to reserved showers in event they need to remove hazardous material contamination. Volunteers and non-firefighters will also have access to public restrooms and showers.
The vehicle bay contains room for up to eight trucks. Sirls said Aurora-Ross operates two pumper trucks, one rescue truck, a brush truck, and a firefighting boat with towing vehicle and trailer.
Other amenities include a laundry area to maintain turn-out gear and a room for storing, repairing and filling self-contained breathing apparatuses.
The new station cost roughly $1 million and was paid in part with savings made by the department. It was planned, designed and built in 3 years by Clark Construction of Murray. Sirls said the old firehouse is 32-years-old and still contains the department’s communications gear. He anticipates moving communications to the new building in 2 to 3 weeks.
The new building is 220 feet across the front, 90 feet deep and has the 50-by-50 foot, L-shaped dormitory area.
The building was designed with a mindfulness of future expansion.
“On the far end of the building, we have an additional bay,” Sirls said. “If the county decides to put in an ambulance in Aurora, we’ll have the space. We could even include a bedroom and a kitchenette to be used by EMT’s.”