Firehouse Upgrades Help Boost Michigan Fire Department’s Efficiency

Part of the project was to add a fire suppression system to the entire building.
(Crockery Township Fire Department photo, Facebook)

Crockery Township Fire Department improvements help better serve area residents

Becky Vargo, Grand Haven Tribune, Mich.


Feb. 3—NUNICA — Changes made over the past year at the Crockery Township Fire Department are helping firefighters more efficiently serve area residents, according to Chief John Kriger.

The improvements include a 90-by-50-foot addition to the station, which was originally built at the corner of Cleveland Street and 112th Avenue in 2003.

This allowed the department to house all of its equipment in one building.

Kriger said the addition was put in use when it was completed almost a year ago, with plans to show it off to the public during the Fire Prevention Week open in house in October 2020. But that did not happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The just over $600,000 project included adding four bays to the fire station, demolishing the old building and repaving the entire parking lot, according to Township Treasurer Judy VanBemelen.

The parking lot needed to be done many years ago, she said.

Part of the project was to add a fire suppression system to the entire building, something that was required because of the additional square footage, Kriger said.

Funds for the project came primarily out of the combined operations and capital expenditures millage approved by the residents in 2014.

Kriger said that the old building, constructed around 1972 to house township offices, the township library and the fire department, had too many issues that needed repairing for it to continue to be used by the fire department or the township.

The township moved its offices and library to the former Nunica School in the mid-1980s and the older building was used entirely by the fire department.

“The old building was starting to fall apart,” Kriger said. “We kept it maintained as much as possible, but it was getting hard to maintain without spending lots of money.”

“Firefighters had to come in here to get their equipment,” Kriger said pointing to one side of the building. “Then they had to run over there and manually open the garage doors to get the trucks.”

Kriger said that firefighters lost valuable minutes going between the two buildings.

“It’s so much better having it all in one building,” he said.

The department’s 5,000-gallon tanker and the 6-by-6 and pickup brush trucks, as well as the all-terrain vehicle were housed in the old building.

A 4,000-gallon tanker, a pumper/tanker, engine and two rescue trucks were “stacked on top of each other” in the existing four bays in the newer building.

Kriger pointed out the added space between bays, something that former Fire Chief Gary Dreyer had proposed, gave them more room to work around the trucks and to store additional equipment.

In all, Crockery Township fire trucks have close to 12,000 gallons of water on board.

“As a fire department, we are really blessed with having all this water ready to roll,” Kriger said. “It’s a huge benefit to the citizens.”

Crockery Township has a firefighter manning the station Monday-Friday, from 6 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Kriger said the township board approved the manpower expenditure to make sure there was someone available to handle daytime calls during the week.

There are 21 firefighters and officers on staff, primarily in a paid on call status. Kriger’s job is considered part time. The township is hiring more firefighters.

Kriger said the department made 34 runs in January and had four calls just on Tuesday. Most of the runs are for medical situations. Kriger said the department’s calls are often weather driven.

“We haven’t had a lot of snow but we’ve had a lot of calls,” he said.

You may contact Becky Vargo at


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