The Hamilton Township (OH) Fire Department had an outdated and undersized fire station near its fire administration headquarters that needed to be replaced. The township worked with its criteria architect SMP Design to establish the use of the land and the potential layout of a new station, then put out an RFQ (request for qualifications) to a number of architectural firms. After several presentations, the township awarded a design-build contract for Fire Station 76 to SMP Design and Turner Construction.
Kevin Spector, chief creative officer for SMP Design, says SMP had worked with Turner Construction’s Special Projects Division in completing two previous ground-up fire station facilities. “After we were selected as the architect and engineering design team, we worked with the criteria architect and the township to optimize planning, connectivity, and adjacencies of program elements, and met an aggressive timeline that had been set to deliver a comprehensive design package,” Spector says.
The resulting station, valued at $4,600,000, is 14,750 square feet, encompassing four drive-through, double-deep apparatus bays, with the potential for expansion into a fifth bay. Along one wall of the apparatus bays are a turnout gear room, decon room with an emergency shower and eyewash station, self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) room, work room, and generator room. Spector points out that the turnout gear room is constructed as an emergency storm shelter, with two inward-opening doors, its own ventilation system, a chemical toilet, and projectile-proof openings on the ventilation system’s exterior vents. “It’s built like a concrete bunker inside the building that can hold 25 people, which is a full shift plus office staff,” he says. “In the event of a tornado or other natural disaster, it’s designed to shelter the inhabitants of the fire station so they can come out when needed to do their jobs and help others. The shelter is designed to survive, even if the building around it does not.”
There’s a mechanical equipment room on top of the turnout gear/emergency storm shelter that’s part of a mezzanine which incorporates a number of training props, Spector says. “There are windows for rappelling, firefighter bailout training, and ladder work,” he says, “a steel column with swivel anchors for belay lines, anchor points above the inside of the two windows, a door opening in the block wall, and gratings for confined space work that lead down into a clean supply room.”
In between the hot zone apparatus bays from the living spaces is a warm zone, Spector says, that houses a decon laundry and two decon showers. “The air is balanced in the warm zone so it doesn’t pull unpressurized air in from the hot zone,” he notes. “It serves as a buffer with a vestibule between the hot apparatus bays and the positive pressure of the cold living area zone.
Living space allows for accommodation for eight firefighters in single dorm rooms, each with a seven-foot-high divider wall that allows airflow over the top, and curtains at the entry for privacy instead of doors. Each dorm has a bed, desk, and four lockers for the three shifts, as well as a replacement locker. Near the sleeping area are three unisex toilet/shower rooms, and a fitness room. Other rooms adjacent to the living area are a chief’s office, lieutenant’s office, two other offices, a file and storage room, another toilet room, and a training room.
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Ariz.-based journalist, the author of three novels and five non-fiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including the position of chief.