Merritt firehall expansion well underway

·2 min read

The long-awaited expansion of the Merritt Fire Rescue Department (MFRD) firehall is now well underway, with the construction clearly visible along Cleasby St.

According to Fire Chief Dave Tomkinson the expansion will be two floors, each totalling 2500 square feet.

“The addition includes six bedrooms upstairs to house the work experience program firefighters, ending the lease of the construction trailer they currently live in,” said Tomkinson.

“Downstairs includes a sanitary turnout gear storage room, decontamination facilities and individual washrooms with showers to allow firefighters to decontaminate themselves from the products of combustion (carcinogens) and blood-borne pathogens they are routinely exposed to, and ultimately expose their families if allowed to take them home.”

The decontamination facilities for firefighters and their gear were cited as one of the main reasons behind the firehall expansion when it was first proposed.

“There are also ancillary rooms; electrical, server and mechanical,” Tomkinson continued. “Additional work includes the installation of a fire alarm and fire sprinkler system in both the new and old sections of the fire station. The small connection piece between the new and old sections will form the new public entrance.”

According to Tomkinson, the current station is nearly 50 years old and lacking in several necessities.

“The current station was built in 1972 and without proper facilities to accommodate female firefighters which comprise approximately 20% of our roster,” explained Tomkinson.

“For instance, there currently is a single shower stall with no dedicated washroom facilities and no separate change or sleeping rooms.”

If all goes according to plan, construction will be completed in early 2021.

“It did take a little while to come out of the ground, there is a lot of conduit and plumbing in the concrete slab,” said Tomkinson.

“This week we anticipate the roof trusses being placed in hopes of getting closed up before inclement weather. Plumbing and electrical contractors are currently working on the rough-in of the first floor. The project is currently on schedule and we hope to gain occupancy at the end of March 2021.”

Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald