New East Side Fire Station taking shape

City of Fairmont Fire Department Fire Chief Ed Simmons looks at a preliminary floor plan for the new East Side Fire Station

FAIRMONT — Although it’s just a design on paper right now, the City of Fairmont Fire Department’s new East Side Fire Station is taking shape.

The East Side Fire Station Design Committee, made up of 13 firefighters and officers, has been working with the architectural firm of Omni Associates and a design consultant, Don Collins, of South Carolina, on the design of the station.

“We’re finalizing the design, the conceptual design, so that they can actually make build drawings,” Fairmont Fire Chief Ed Simmons said.

Having the firefighters and officers on the committee provide some crucial knowledge, gained from experience.

Simmons said these are the people who work day in and day out and know what has and hasn’t worked.

During the initial process, he said, the committee looked at the current fire stations and “basically brainstormed.”

“Not only that, we went to surrounding communities and spoke to the other firefighters, other departments, seeing what they didn’t like about theirs, what did work, what didn’t work,” he said.

Simmons said vertical doors are one of the things the fire department wants to be featured in the new station.

“We like vertical doors instead of a horizontal door,” he said. “They’re faster opening, less maintenance long-term.”

Other features for the well-being of the firefighters were also deemed important.

“We’re going to have diesel exhaust ventilation systems to combat long-term exposure to diesel fumes, which causes, obviously, cancer, a lot of cancers,” he said.

He said the station itself will be designed to contain contaminants that may be brought back from fire calls or EMS runs, so they’re not brought into the firefighters’ living space at the station.

A capacity for back-up power will also be included.

“This one will have back-up generators, back-up power, which the other one does not have,” he said.

He said the committee tried to look 50 to 70 years in the future to determine what is needed, so the station can last a long time.

Simmons said money will be borrowed to finance the station, to be built at the corner of Vermont and Morgantown avenues. It replaces the current East Side Fire Station, which Simmons said is outdated and has no room to expand.

He said that, according to a projected timeline, the council would hold the first reading of a proposed ordinance for a bond issue to pay for the station in late July or early August.

Simmons said the project would go out for bid the last week of August or the first week of September, based on the projected timeline. The total cost of the project will be based on the successful bid.

“They’ll be out for about a month, then we’ll decide from those bids who is awarded the contract to build the station, and after that, they can break ground anytime,” he said.

The new station has also been moving ahead on other fronts.

Recently, the Fairmont Building Commission signed an engagement letter with the city to proceed with the project.

“We’re getting there, it just takes time,” Simmons said.

Eric Hrin can be reached at 304-367-2549, or