Faulty Work Leaves Lafayette (LA) Fire Station Unused

A new $1.2 million Lafayette fire station has been unused for six months while awaiting repairs due to faulty work.

The city decided in 2000 to tear down the station at that location and build a new, larger one. Unable to obtain surrounding property to expand, the fire station was rebuilt in the same footprint, Chief Robert Benoit said.

A few problems surfaced during construction and water leaks became apparent when it was time to occupy the station in 2010, he said. The architect and contractor made the repairs.

But after moving in, leaks continued and those responsible did not make repairs to the satisfaction of the city, Benoit said. The city was awarded $200,000 for the repairs, he said.

“To get one-sixth of our cost back and be proud of that? I’m not,” City-Parish Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux said. “I think we could have done better.”

In the meantime, lightening hit the building, burning a transfer switch, Benoit said. That has to be built and installed before the station is back in operation.

Between the leak repairs and the transfer switch, the station will be out of commission about a year, he said.

“I don’t know that we’ve held this architect responsible for all they should have been considering the risk to the families and businesses,” Boudreaux said.

He suggested the city pursue damages for loss of use of the new station. Benoit said the firefighters are using other stations and there are times when the station would be closed anyway for training.

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